Monday, 14 December 2009

Street art



Photo by: Jean-Francois Perigois

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:03 Jean-Francois Perigois

Children from Phnom Penh’s CED orphanage march through the streets of the capital earlier this month in an effort that raised over US$1,000 for renovations and the construction of a playing field at the facility. They also visited the National Musuem and enjoyed a boat cruise as part of the event.

Thaksin returns to see spy’s release



Photo by: AFP
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (left) speaks Sunday with Sivarak Chutipong, a Thai national convicted of spying who was granted a Royal pardon and is expected to be released today.

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Monday, 14 December 2009 15:04 James O’toole and Cheang Sokha

Fugitive former Thai premier meets with Hun Sen as Bangkok prepares to file for extradition.

DEPOSED Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned to Cambodia on Sunday, just weeks after his inaugural visit to the Kingdom as government economics adviser touched off a row between Thailand and Cambodia that plunged relations between the two countries to their lowest point in years.

After arriving by private jet at Phnom Penh International Airport, Thaksin left promptly for Prey Sar prison, where he met with Sivarak Chutipong, a 31-year-old Thai engineer with Cambodia Air Traffic Services. Sivarak received a Royal pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni on Friday following his conviction last week for spying after he leaked Thaksin’s flight schedule during the fugitive billionaire’s November visit.

Sivarak is scheduled to be released from prison today, government lawyer Pal Chandara said, and will subsequently meet with Thaksin and Prime Minister Hun Sen. Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the government would also receive a delegation of three parliamentarians and the spokesman of Thailand’s opposition Puea Thai party, with which Thaksin is linked.

“This is to show the good atmosphere and the good ties between the Puea Thai party and the Cambodian government,” Pal Chandara said. “It was an effort from the Puea Thai party that helped free Sivarak.”

Sivarak’s release, Phay Siphan said, “shows the openness of the Royal government to Thailand as a nation.” Phay Siphan was unsure of how long Thaksin would stay, but said he will likely hold an economics seminar during his time in Cambodia, as he did last month.

Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanyagorn said Bangkok would again submit a request for Thaksin’s extradition, despite Cambodia’s round rejection of a similar request last month. The Cambodian government said in November that it considered Thaksin’s prosecution illegitimate and “politically motivated”. Thaksin was toppled in a 2006 coup and went into exile last year to avoid a jail term for corruption.

“The Thai government will follow the same procedure as last time. When people wanted for crimes in this country travel to a neighbouring country we will ask them to detain and request an extradition,” Panitan said. Asked if Thaksin’s return to Cambodia would further damage bilateral relations, Panitan called the trip “a matter of … Thaksin and Cambodia”.

Thailand withdrew its ambassador to Phnom Penh last month to protest Thaksin’s appointment as economics adviser to the Cambodian government and personal adviser to Hun Sen, and Cambodia responded in kind.

Cambodia later expelled Kamrob Palawatwichai, the first secretary of the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh, for his alleged involvement in the theft of Thaksin’s flight schedule, and Thailand responded by kicking out Kamrob’s counterpart in Bangkok.

Though he risks a nationalist backlash in Thailand if he appears too closely aligned with Hun Sen, Thaksin’s high-profile visits are part of a strategy to keep up the pressure on the government of current Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, said Andrew Walker of the Australian National University.

Hun Sen has publicly expressed his enmity toward Abhisit, and Sivarak’s stage-managed release “is clearly very much for the Thai domestic audience”, Walker said, as the Cambodian government aims to embarrass and discredit the neighbouring administration.

As far as Thaksin is concerned, Walker added, “any publicity is good publicity, and as long as he keeps himself in the public eye, that destabilises the Abhisit government”.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

Sam Rainsy faces charges in removal of border markers



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Monday, 14 December 2009 15:03 Uong Ratana

SAM Rainsy says he is facing criminal charges in Svay Rieng provincial court in connection with an October incident in which he uprooted markers on the border with Vietnam, as opposition party members prepare to travel to the contested area today to investigate alleged encroachment by Vietnamese farmers.

“We have decided to indict and detain Sam Rainsy and his accomplices,” Svay Rieng provincial court prosecutor Keo Sothear wrote in a November 24 investigating warrant, according to a document provided by Sam Rainsy.

The president of the eponymous political party is being charged with incitement causing racial discrimination and destruction of property under Articles 52 and 61 of the UNTAC Criminal Code, the document states. Svay Rieng officials could not be reached for comment.

On October 25, Sam Rainsy joined Svay Rieng residents in uprooting the markers to protest against what locals say is Vietnamese encroachment onto Cambodian land.
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WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR BECAUSE WE HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG.
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Cambodian officials have said the markers were placed only on a temporary basis and did not represent an official demarcation.

Sam Rainsy was stripped of his parliamentary immunity during a closed session of the National Assembly on November 16, paving the way for his prosecution in this case. But Choung Chou Ngy, Sam Rainsy’s lawyer, said he thought his client had little to fear from the court.

“Sam Rainsy did nothing wrong, because the location where the border demarcation posts were placed was in the [Cambodian] citizens’ ricefield,” he said.

In a statement issued October 30, Vietnam’s foreign ministry condemned Sam Rainsy’s actions and asked Cambodia to protect the nations’ ongoing border-demarcation process.

The statement called Sam Rainsy’s act “perverse, undermining common assets, violating laws of Cambodia and Vietnam, treaties, agreements and deals between the two countries”.

Var Kimhong, senior minister in charge of border affairs, said the visit to the Vietnamese border in Svay Rieng planned by the SRP would be illegal in the absence of permission from Vietnamese authorities.

The parliamentarians could disrupt the investigation of Sam Rainsy, he said.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann dismissed the charges as an attempt to intimidate the opposition.

“We have nothing to fear because we have done nothing wrong,” he said, adding that today’s trip to the border is necessary because “as parliamentarians, we have to check the place where the people have complained, because we have all sworn to defend Cambodian territory”.

Lemonde bias claims continue



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Monday, 14 December 2009 15:03 Robbie Corey Boulet

DEFENCE lawyers for former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary have prepared a new request for the disqualification of International Co-Investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde in response to bias allegations.

International co-lawyer Michael Karnavas said the filing was submitted Friday, two days after the Pre-Trial Chamber rejected a similar request based on allegations made by a former staffer that Lemonde expressed a preference for inculpatory evidence.

The new request centres on allegations – made by the same staffer, Wayne Bastin, former chief of the Intelligence and Analysis Unit of the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges – that Lemonde compromised the confidentiality of his office’s work and communicated inappropriately with a prosecution expert. Those allegations were originally included in a supplement to the first disqualification request, but the Pre-Trial Chamber declined to consider them before ruling last week.

The lawyers also plan to file this week a request for the Pre-Trial Chamber to hold a hearing on communications between the OCIJ and the prosecution expert, Craig Etcheson. Bastin said in a December 2 witness statement that international members of the OCIJ were given a document from Etcheson on avenues of inquiry, a document about which the defence claims not to have been informed.

Karnavas said by email Sunday that the document could be seen as evidence that “Etcheson is schooling the OCIJ on how and where to investigate”.

Etcheson declined to comment Sunday, as did UN court spokesman Lars Olsen, who said it was “absolutely absurd and outrageous that I’m asked to make a comment about a filing which has not yet been filed”.

Khmers seek asylum after deportation by Thailand



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Monday, 14 December 2009 15:03 Kim Yuthana

AT least 24 ethnic minority Khmer Krom arrested by Thai authorities and sent to Cambodia through Poipet after a failed asylum bid on December 5 are awaiting a decision from the Cambodian government as to whether they’ll be granted permission to settle in the Kingdom.

Chea Sokun, secretary of the Independent Democratic Association of Non-formal Economy in Banteay Meanchey’s Poipet town, said on Sunday that the group of asylum seekers, some of whom are children, is being given temporary shelter by the organisation.

“They requested that the government issue them their Khmer citizenship ID cards so that they have the right to reside in Cambodia like other Cambodian people and that the government provide them a place to live,” he said, adding that he will send a letter today to authorities in Banteay Meanchey to seek their intervention.

Unh Samith, an official of rights organisation Licadho, said: “They are now facing food shortages, so my organisation has provided them with some rice and some other food.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said that the ministry had not received any information on the matter, or an official letter from the group or authorities in Banteay Meanchey seeking intervention.

In June, a group of 23 Khmer Krom was also deported from Thailand and found themselves temporarily stranded in Poipet without proper food or medical support.

Ethnic Khmers living in southern Vietnam say they face discrimination from authorities there.

Enforcement seen as key for anti-graft law



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Monday, 14 December 2009 15:03 Chhay Channyda and Sebastian Strangio

NONGOVERNMENTAL organisations have offered cautious praise following the approval of the long-awaited draft Anticorruption Law last week, but say the true test of the government’s commitment to stamping out graft will come with the law’s implementation.

Following its approval by the Council of Ministers on Friday, Council spokesman Phay Siphan described the draft as “a turning point” for the government in its attempts to strengthen the rule of law in Cambodia. This law “will let us know about abuses of power, maintain transparency and respect social equity”, he said.

The latest draft of the law, which has existed in various forms since 1994, has not yet been made public. But a statement released by the Council after Friday’s meeting shows it to be considerably shorter than previous versions. The statement said that the draft’s 57 articles were aimed at preventing corruption, punishing corrupt activities and fostering public participation in efforts to eradicate graft.

Phay Siphan added that the draft contains articles forcing civil servants and NGO workers to disclose the extent of their personal assets within 60 days of its passing into law.

NGOs said the passing of the law was a positive step forward, but that due to powerful patronage systems, the law will not prove a magic bullet.

“The law can be perfect, but in practice may not be possible to implement,” said Sok Sam Oeun, chairman of the Coalition for Integrity and Social Accountability, a coalition of 40 local watchdog groups. He said the approval of the draft law raised obvious questions about the body charged with enforcing the law, as well as its relationship with the government and law enforcement authorities.

“We are worried about whether or not [these bodies] can decide without political interference,” he said. “There must be political will from the prime minister.”

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said it was almost certain the law would be misused in the short term, but that it would give activists a benchmark for judging official behaviour.

Over the long term, Ou Virak said, the erosion of the country’s endemic corruption could come from both top-down and bottom-up pressure, but that the latter – given legal backing by the new bill – would likely be more effective.

“In the long run, it will depend on the public,” he said. “That will be more slow and gradual, [but] it’s a more sure way of fighting corruption.”

Phay Siphan said the draft bill will be passed to the National Assembly within a week, but that he did not know when it is set for a vote.

Border Killing: Logger still missing in Thailand



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Monday, 14 December 2009 15:02 Khouth Sophakchakrya

Border Killing

Authorities in Oddar Meanchey province said they had yet to locate a 20-year-old man who went missing last week after Thai soldiers opened fire on the group of illegal loggers with whom he had travelled across the border into Sisaket province. Keo Tann, district chief of Trapaing Prasat district, said district authorities had been cooperating with Thai authorities in the search for Phal Sokha, which began Friday. “Currently, we are concerned for his health because he does not have food to eat. But we expect we will find him soon,” he said. Phal Sokha’s 55-year-old father-in-law was shot and killed in the attack, and a second man sustained serious injuries, police said.

Journalists arrested in alleged extortion scam



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Journalists arrested in alleged extortion scam

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:02 Vong Sokheng

FOUR Cambodian journalists have been arrested after one allegedly tried to impersonate one of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s bodyguards in an attempt to extort money in Oddar Meanchey province, a police official confirmed.

Heang Lyhak, a journalist with the Roum Kamlang newspaper, was arrested last week after allegedly trying to extort money from a local business, said Soeun Att, a military police official in Oddar Meanchey’s Trapaing Prasath district.

The journalist, Soeun Att said, carried an identity card identifying himself as one of Hun Sen’s bodyguards, and allegedly attempted to use it to extort between US$100 and $200 from a storeowner.

“When the owners of the store could not afford the demand, they complained to local authorities,” Soeun Att said.

Heang Lyhak was charged with possessing a fraudulent document and extortion, and three other journalists and a taxi driver were arrested and charged with conspiracy, Soeun Att said. The group has been sent to Siem Reap provincial court while an investigation continues.

However, Heang Lyhak’s employer said the journalists were innocent and asked that the group be released.

“I have asked the court to consider the issue of freedom of the press,” said Kuch Kuntha, publisher of the Roum Kamlang and Sangkum Cheat newspapers. The journalists, Kuch Kuntha said, had been assigned to cover a story about illegal logging.

In addition to Heang Lyhak, the others arrested include Chhith Sambo from Cheat Yeoung newspaper, Touch Sokly from Sangkum Cheat, Thorn Seng from the Pi Thnuo newspaper and Koy Vath, the taxi driver.

Rights groups demand stiffer punishments for acid attacks



Photo by: Photo Supplied
Acid attack victim Tat Marina became the subject of a documentary – Finding Face – which was released in the US in March.

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We’re desensitised to this violence, and it needs to change.
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(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:02 zela Chin and Chrann Chamroeun

HUMAN rights groups have called on the government to ensure the perpetrators of acid attacks are brought to justice, following an assault last week that left two sisters severely burned.

The teenage victims were splashed with acid on Thursday on their way to a market in Phnom Penh. They are being treated for severe burns at a hospital in Vietnam, police said.

“We have not concluded what was the motive of the attack. We are investigating the case,” said Ouch Sokhon, Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district police chief.

Ou Virak, executive director of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said a culture of apathy was largely to blame. “Lack of outrage from government officials and no condemnation from the public is a concern and unacceptable,” he said. “We’re desensitised to this violence, and it needs to change. The government needs to put more effort into prosecution when lives are damaged. Unless the government prosecutes all those behind the attacks, then we won’t see an end. It starts with government prosecution to end impunity.”

Rights activists at Licadho said the organisation is aware of up to five acid attacks that have taken place in Cambodia over the past 12 months.

Am Sam Ath, a technical supervisor with the group, said that although the frequency of such attacks appears to have diminished in recent years, they remain a concern because “we rarely see the acid attackers sent to court for prosecutions when the attackers involve powerful people or rich people, which is the culture of impunity”.

In the most recent attack, 18-year-old Kim Sodine and her 17-year-old sister Kim Sonita, both hairdressers, were riding a motorcycle at about 5am along Mao Tse-tung Boulevard when two men, wearing masks and helmets, pulled up alongside them and poured acid over their heads, faces and bodies, police said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said police have launched an investigation, but that attempts to contact the victims to establish a possible motive had so far been unsuccessful.

Last month, former Military Police Brigadier General Chea Ratha, 43, and five accomplices were convicted in an acid attack on Ya Soknim, the aunt of Chea Ratha’s former lover, in May 2008. They were sentenced to between 15 and 18 years each in prison and ordered to jointly pay US$100,000 to the victim. All six, however, remain at large.

One of the most notorious cases is that of Tat Marina, a karaoke star who in 1999 was beaten unconscious and doused in a litre of acid, allegedly by the wife of her lover, a senior government official. She was 16 at the time. No one has ever been charged.

Land directive criticised



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Monday, 14 December 2009 15:02 Sebastian Strangio

HOUSING rights advocacy groups have criticised a new draft circular about the relocation of the city’s urban poor, saying it openly disregards the land rights of many Phnom Penh residents.

The Draft Circular on the Settlement of Illegal Temporary Buildings in Cities and Urban Areas, made public by the Ministry of Land Management on December 4, will oblige local authorities “to collaborate with relevant ministries/agencies, and be completely responsible for preventing any new illegal temporary buildings in the capital city” and throughout the rest of the country.

It also lays out mechanisms for relocating existing settlements and providing residents with compensation.

In a submission to the Ministry of Land Management, which is hosting a consultation meeting on the circular on Friday, housing rights groups said the use of the phrase “illegal temporary buildings” glosses over the legitimate land claims of many urban poor.

“This suggests that the draft circular automatically assumes that all of Phnom Penh’s urban poor communities are illegal,” the submission stated.

Dan Nicholson, Asia & Pacific programme director for the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, said the circular had positive aspects – including a commitment to greater public participation in issues related to urban poor settlements.

But he expressed fears that the circular would perpetuate past practices that have seen thousands of residents evicted from the city despite their claims to ownership under the Kingdom’s 2001 Land Law.

“The reality is that many urban poor communities in Phnom Penh are anything but illegal and have legitimate claims to the land,” he said.

Nicholson added that the circular’s promises to provide compensation for evicted communities remained vague.

“It’s not clear whether there would be adequate compensation, and there is no indication that the government will provide adequate alternative housing for communities,” he said. A report released by rights group Sahmakum Teang Tnaut in April found that nearly 120,000 Phnom Penh residents – more than one in 10 – have been displaced or evicted from their homes since 1990.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

University lecturers to get raise from govt



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Monday, 14 December 2009 15:02 Tep Nimol and May Titthara

THE government will boost the salaries of lecturers at the Royal University of Agriculture, authorities said Sunday, more than a week after protesting students accused school officials of pocketing tuition fees.

Most lecturers at the university will see their salaries more than double, said Chhay Kongkea, the institution’s vice rector.

“Chan Sarun, the agriculture minister, came to settle this problem last week,” Chhay Kongkea said.

Now, doctoral lecturers will be paid US$7 per hour, master’s level lecturers $6 per hour and bachelor’s level lecturers $5. The new rates are more than double the previous hourly rates of $2.23 per hour, he said.

However, questions remain over allegations that school officials were pocketing student tuition fees. Earlier this month, students protested on behalf of their teachers, complaining that some among them had been turned away from classes because their teachers had not been paid.

Sao Sambo, deputy inspector general at the Ministry of Agriculture, said an investigation into the allegedly missing funds is ongoing.

Five-year term too light in child sex case: group



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Monday, 14 December 2009 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

A FIVE-YEAR prison term handed to a Greek national convicted of soliciting sex from a teenager is too light, the head of a local child advocacy group said Sunday.

Samleang Seila, country director for Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), said the group is considering appealing Friday’s decision by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, which saw Christos Kampalios, 62, sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of soliciting sex from a 16-year-old girl, as well as producing child pornography.

A sentence of at least seven years would have been more appropriate, said Samleang Seila, whose group represented the victim in court.

“I wasn’t happy with the court’s sentence,” he said.

Kampalios was also ordered to pay his victim US$250 in compensation, a sum Samleang Seila said was “too small”.

“It will not help free the girl from her job as a prostitute. She should have been paid more than this so that she could pay for her studies.”

Kampalios’s defence lawyer, however, called the sentence “acceptable and suitable”.

“He thought the girl was older than 18,” said lawyer Dun Vibol.

Kampalios, a former soccer trainer, was arrested in April following a police raid on his Daun Penh district guesthouse. During his trial in early December, Kampalios said he never had sex with the girl.

Aspiring to full participation



Photo by: Phar Lina
Members of the Youth Council of Cambodia attend a political workshop at the National Assembly last week. Young people are the key to a flourishing democracy in Cambodia, Douglas Broderick says.

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:01 Douglas Broderick

Investment in Cambodia’s younger generations is crucial for the development of the country and maintenance of its spirit.

DEMOCRATIC participation is a human right. All women and men, all girls and boys, of all backgrounds and ages, should be allowed to participate in the governance of their country.

This is set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to take part in their country’s government and that the will of the people should be expressed in periodic free and fair elections.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is enshrined in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia and, therefore, everyone in Cambodia is entitled to the rights set out in the Declaration, including young adults.

Even before young people reach voting age, these rights apply to all youths and children equally. They should be encouraged to express their views and be heard in decisions affecting their lives. This is a principle set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Cambodia has ratified. It is society’s duty to prepare children and youths to be informed citizens who can take part in all aspects of social and political life.

Youth participation is more relevant than ever before in Cambodia, where one-third of the population is aged between10 and 24. As the next generation of adults, it is crucial that these young people are equipped to express themselves, vote, take an interest in politics and actively participate in the governance of their country.

Cambodian youths are already politically active and engage in media campaigns, seek interaction with political leaders, and organise and participate in public forums.

The new deconcentration and decentralisation framework, bringing governance decision-making to the local level, is opening up new and systematic opportunities for the participation of youths and marginalised groups in the governance of their country.

Significant challenges remain, however. Recent statistics show that young adults are the group least likely to vote, and, in general, the rules of Khmer society organise relationships hierarchically. Age, gender, ethnicity, wealth, political position and religious piety all play a part in determining one’s place. This hierarchy can often be further compounded by the perception of young people as “less experienced”, which can potentially impede their meaningful participation and limit opportunities for them to articulate their views.

It is very important that these cultural barriers to participation are examined, debated and challenged by Cambodians in this new era, and that the contributions of young people are appreciated and valued.

Cambodians of all ages need to continue working together for and with young people so that this generation will carry forward the ideas of rights and equality that must never be taken for granted.

It will be through the stewardship of all Cambodians that these can become a part of everyday life and the birthright of every citizen.

The UN in Cambodia has made the future of Cambodia’s youth our priority. The UN is working with the Royal Government of Cambodia to develop a national youth policy to ensure that Cambodia’s young people have a bright and sustainable future and enjoy the rights to which they are entitled through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Human rights affect everyone and every sphere of life. They are the foundation of a peaceful society, allowing all citizens to participate fully. When everyone can speak their mind, when everyone can help to choose their leaders, when everyone can take part in events and contribute to planning, society as a whole will benefit.

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Douglas Broderick is the resident coordinator of the United Nations in Cambodia.

German brewer starts $60m joint venture




A brewery worker pours a sample bottle of Carlsberg beer. Chip Mong Group hopes to compete with the Danish brewer in Cambodia and offshore markets through a tie-up with a German firm. Bloomberg

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We see this as the beginning of a long lasting relationship.
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(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:01 Chun Sophal

Local conglomerate ties up with Ziemann group in ambitious plan to create beer able to compete in international market

Cambodia’s Chip Mong Group inked an agreement Sunday with Germany’s Ziemann Group to establish a US$60 million joint-venture brewery to produce a “world-class beer” in Cambodia.

“We hope the venture will lead to Cambodia producing a quality product to compete in both local and international markets,” Leang Khun, president of Chip Mong Group, said at the signing event.

According to the terms of the joint-venture agreement, $60 million in capital will be invested by Chip Mong Group, leaving Ziemann Group responsible for operations at the new brewery, which will be called Khmer Brewery.

Work on the plant, to be located in Choueng Ek commune in Phnom Penh’s Dang Kor district, is scheduled to commence in January. When construction wraps up 15 months later, the brewery will create 700 jobs and produce from 100 to 200 million litres of beer annually, Leang Khun said.

Joachim Gunkel, managing director of Ziemann, said the Ludwigsburg, Germany-based firm brought its technical expertise to the venture. He said the firm had 150 years’ experience in the industry, and partnered with some of the world’s biggest producers, including Corona, Heineken and Beck’s.

“We see this as the beginning of a long-lasting relationship where we will provide ongoing support, service and commitment towards Khmer Brewery for the time ahead,” he said at the launch.

When production begins satisfying domestic demand, Suy Sem, head of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, said he anticipated the involvement of internationally recognised Ziemann would give the brewery the kudos to sell its product in international markets.

“We hope that the beer produced by the two companies will not only help reduce imports of the beverage from abroad but also enable Cambodia to have a quality beverage to compete in foreign markets,” he said.

Cambodians downed an average of 11.8 litres per capita in 2007 according to the International Centre for Alcohol Policies, still well short of the annual consumption in neighbouring countries; Laotians drink 19.6 litres annually on average and Thais 31.9 litres. However, consumption in the Kingdom grew about 13 percent year on year in 2007, the latest year figures are available, creating attractive growth potential for beer producers in the country.

Stiff competition
Clamoring for market share are international giants Heineken International and Carlsberg. Both firms recently announced that strong results in the third quarter of the year in Indochina helped balance poor sales in traditional European and American markets.

Carlsberg had seen revenues rise 24 percent in its Asian markets in the year to the end of September, driven largely by strong returns in Indochina, said chief executive officer Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen at a press conference in November.

Khmer Brewery is the latest entrant into what is fast becoming an increasingly crowded domestic market.

Another Cambodian company, Kingdom Breweries Limited, plans to begin production on what it terms a “boutique beer” in mid-2010, according to Peter Brongers, chief executive officer at the brewery.

Majority owned by investment firm Leopard Capital, the brewery intends to meet what it says is demand for an upscale beer in Cambodia.

Mobile leaders welcome rates edict



Photo by: Phar Lina
A Star-Cell worker explains calling plans to a customer in Phnom Penh last week.

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It is high time for us to think about quality, coverage area and ... our customers.
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(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:01 Nathan Green

New entrants remain tight-lipped on new mimimum tariffs for mobile-phone calls set by the government last week, but biggest players say it will help restart development of networks

Cambodia’s most established mobile-phone providers have welcomed a move by the government to set new minimum tariffs and end a price war that they say has kept the sector from developing.

Newer entrants to the increasingly competitive telecoms market, however, remain tight-lipped about the pricing rules announced Wednesday that set a minimum charge of US$0.045 per minute for calls within an operator’s network and $0.0595 for calls across networks, saying they have yet to evaluate how the regulations will impact their operations.

Simon Perkins, chief executive officer of Hello, one of the top four operators by users and an early entrant to the sector, has long been a supporter of minimum pricing and said that stability in the sector will enable operators to return to investing in network expansion and quality improvements.

Perkins could not be reached for comment, but Hello’s chief financial officer, Phillip Wong, called the prakas, or edict, “an excellent piece of work” at its unveiling last week.

“The prakas is excellent for operators, excellent for the government, which has shown clear leadership, and hopefully, it will be good for the people who will see better quality,” he said.

Metfone Managing Director Nguyen Duy Tho said the Vietnam-backed service provider, which is competing with market leader Mobitel for top spot among the Kingdom’s operators, was unfazed by the new rules.

He said that ending the price war was crucial for the development of the sector, as it will enable operators to focus on network quality and service offerings rather than only pricing.

“Price is an important consideration, but it is not everything,” he said. “Now, it is high time for us to think about quality, coverage area and take care of our customers.”

Neither Smart Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Kirill Mankovsky nor Beeline General Director Gael Campan would comment on the regulations, both saying they had yet to analyse the likely impact.

But both Smart Mobile’s WOW tariff and Beeline’s Boom plan – the latter the target of accusations of price-dumping by Mobitel – appear to be in violation of the new pricing structure.

Smart’s WOW tariff allows users to make free calls for up to 30 minutes each day for those who top up with $5 or more of credit.

Beeline’s Super Zero tariff charges users only for the first minute of any calls they make of up to 15-minute’s duration within the Beeline network.

Calls across networks on the plan are charged at $0.06 per minute, above the new minimum, but the company’s Boom plan allows calls within and across networks to be charged at $0.05 per minute, which Mobitel maintains gives the company an unfair advantage in a bid to erode the market share of more-established service providers. However, Beeline ended the promotion for new users and said most existing users have already switched to the newer Super Zero tariff.

Operators and the government previously had a long-standing agreement that calls across networks would cost $0.0595 per minute, including a $0.0465 per minute charge to the owner of the network and taxes and transfer fees. However, an argument arose over whether that agreement was binding.

Beeline is currently defending itself against legal action by Mobitel, which in addition to the price-dumping claims, is accusing the provider of using Mobitel’s prefixes to disguise calls made across networks.

Mark Hanna, chief financial officer at Royal Group, which owns Mobitel after buying out its joint-venture partner last month, was travelling and could not be reached for comment.

However, the company is understood to be largely in favour of the minimum tariff, with sources in the sector claiming that the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications’ intervention followed intensive lobbying by Mobitel to help it preserve market share and protect its sizable investment in the telecoms sector.

Sources within Mobitel, Hello and Metfone say new competitors have been unfairly benefiting from the infrastructure investments made by older operators, and have been able to offer cheaper services due to lower maintenance fees and equipment costs.

Media: Stay Another Day goes commercial



(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:01 May Kunmakara

The first commercially produced edition of free tourist guidebook Stay Another Day was launched Friday, with business magazine Economics Today taking over publishing duties from international donors. The first two editions of the popular booklet, which aims to promote sustainable tourism and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) working in the tourism sector, were financed and published by the International Finance Corporation and the German development group GTZ. Publication Director Natacha Kim, who is also editor-in-chief of Economics Today, said 60,000 copies of the 2009-10 edition had been published and distributed free to all major tourist hubs, including Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and coastal areas. They would also be distributed at upcoming trade fairs in Cambodia and abroad, she said. “Tourists longing for an authentic and eye-opening vacation can now be satisfied with the wonders Cambodia has to offer,” she said. Only private-sector advertisers deemed responsible were allowed to buy space in the edition, she added. GTZ acted as technical adviser.

Police Blotter: 14 Dec 2009




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Monday, 14 December 2009 15:01 Bun Tharum

THE ROOF, THE ROOF, THE ROOF IS ON FIRE
A man in Battambang province’s Banan district burned down his own house Wednesday after his wife refused to give him money to buy cigarettes. After drinking a litre of wine, the man threatened his wife, insisting he would burn the house down if she did not give him money. His wife refused and shouted, “Go ahead. Burn down the house if you want to.” The man then set his home on fire before police arrived and arrested him. The couple and their seven children are now homeless.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

PIRATED PORN VIDEO KEPT FOR RESEARCH
More than 10,000 video CDs, including pornographic videos, were found at a home pirating studio that was raided by police in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district Friday. The 34-year-old suspect had been authorised by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to run a music studio since November 2008. But authorities were not aware the man had used his business to allegedly manufacture pirated VCDs. The videos have been sent to the ministry for further investigation.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

MAN LITERALLY STOLE CABLE, POLICE SAY
A 23-year-old man was arrested for stealing electricity cables in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district last Thursday. Armed with a bamboo stick and a knife, the man would allegedly drive his motorcycle through the village, cutting cables and swiping them. The suspect told police he resorted to stealing the cables and selling them because he had no job. People in the area have reported that their cables have frequently been stolen – even while they are watching evening television.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

BREAKING NEWS: GUARDS BEAT JOURNO
A sleepless journalist in Poipet province’s Poipet town was allegedly beaten by security guards from a local casino Friday. The victim, Oeu Bunthan, said that the incident occurred outside his home when he tried to tell one of the guards not to rev his motorbike engine at night. The guard then called over six other guards and two military police officials. Armed with electric batons, the suspects tried to break into the victim’s home but were blocked by the journalist, whose hand was bloodied in the scuffle. Oeu Bunthan called the incident a “violation of human rights”.
CHRANN CHAMROEUN

JSM still suspended; miners in mixed week



(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:01 Jeremy Mullins

Stocks Roundup

JSM Indochina’s stock price remains frozen at US$0.66 after the firm was suspended from trading on London’s AIM exchange following a shareholder-driven shakeup of the board of directors.

In an extraordinary general meeting held last week, a majority of shareholders voted to replace one half of the serving six-person board with nominees proposed by San Francisco-based hedge fund Passport Capital LLC, a minority investor in the firm.

Under the rules of the AIM board, the London Stock Exchange’s alternate investment market, the three new appointees must be approved by the firm’s nominated advisor. However, Numis, the firm filling that role, resigned last week, leaving trading suspended until a replacement adviser is named.

Australian miner Southern Gold Ltd closed down 10 percent Friday at A$0.135, after the firm rolled out Thursday the first of two previously announced common share issues. The 21 million shares were offered at A$0.125 each, and are intended to fund the firm’s projects in Australia and Cambodia. Gold bullion prices dropped in international trading on the day.

Another Australian gold miner, OZ Minerals, bucked declining bullion prices, finishing up 0.4 percent to A$1.20, 13 cents off its 52-week high of $1.33. The firm has announced plans to identify 2 million ounces of the precious metal on its Cambodian properties by the end of 2010.

China Asean Resources Co Ltd continued to see a drop in its share prices from a high of $0.26 early this year, dropping 2.2 percent to end at $0.135 in Hong Kong trading on Friday.

The firm previously reported that Cambodian efforts to clamp down on illegal logging had obstructed production at its 10,000 hectare concession in Kratie province, but said at the end of November an understanding had been reached with the Ministry of Commerce allowing work to ramp back up at the site.

Moscow-based Vimpelcom, which owns Cambodian mobile-phone operator Beeline, also continued its slide in trading on the New York Stock Exchange last week.

The fall came as the Cambodian government released an edict setting minimum tariffs for Cambodia’s mobile-phone operators. Since then, the company’s shares have dropped 7 percent, closing Friday at $18.05. There is no suggestion the firm’s share price was affected by the events in Cambodia.

Vimpelcom faces ongoing legal action from Mobitel, the Kingdom’s largest mobile operator, over alleged price-dumping and illegal use of prefixes, a catalyst to the government’s recent action in the sector.

NBC rejects report on loans



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Monday, 14 December 2009 15:00 May Kunmakara

Central bank official scoffs at IMF staff, as others sceptical of NPL rates

The National Bank of Cambodia on Friday rejected International Monetary Fund concerns about underreporting of non-performing loans (NPLs).

“The IMF’s report is based on the views of its staff, who only come for a short time,” NBC Deputy Governor Neav Chanthana said Friday.

She was referring to the two-week Article IV consultations that concluded in September and formed the basis of an IMF report last week that said the level of NPLs in Cambodia was likely to be much higher than reported.

“But we work closely on the sector every day, and we pay attention to the statements from our banks, not the IMF’s report,” Neav Chanthana said.

According to central bank figures, reported NPLs rose to 5.25 percent at June 2009 from 3.75 percent in December 2008, which the IMF said understated the reality.

“In particular, a number of banks continue to report few or no NPLs, suggesting incomplete adherence with the new loan classification and provisioning regulation,” the report said.

“Moreover, the evergreening of loans and capitalisation of interest still take place to avoid loan loss recognition and provisioning and possible capital writedowns. These practices appear particularly acute for overdraft loans used to finance land purchases during the recent property boom.”

The bank did not single out individual banks, in line with its standard procedures, though industry insiders say the practice is an open secret.

ACLEDA Bank President In Channy said he agreed broadly with the IMF report but declined to comment on the reporting practices at other banks.

ACLEDA’s NPL ratio dropped from 1.6 percent at the end of June to 1.3 percent at the end of September, he said.

The bank reported a 0.2 percent NPL ratio at the end of 2008.

“We don’t have any problem with ACLEDA’s status,” In Channy said.

Cambodian Economic Association (CEA) President Chan Sophal said underreporting from banks probably meant that the NPL situation was even worse than feared.

An as-yet unpublished CEA survey of 1,000 families in Phnom Penh and 15 towns and cities in nine provinces across the country showed that people were struggling to make repayments and suggested that an increasing number would default.

“Everything in the banking sector could be worse than they said,” Chan Sophal said.

The IMF said a Financial Sector Assessment Programme scheduled for 2010 will examine the soundness of the banking sector in greater depth.

Neav Chanthana said the central bank moved to strengthen the banking sector ahead of the global financial crisis through issuing more stringent regulations on loan provisioning, boosting capital requirements and imposing new limits on loans to the property sector and related parties.

Cambodia taught a lesson



Pham Thanh Luong of Vietnam (right) scores the first goal against Cambodia at Chao Anouvong Stadium on Friday. AFP

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:00 Andy Brouwer

Cambodia coach Scott O’Donell says his youngsters were outclassed as they lost 6-1 to Vietnam Friday in their final SEA Games group match in Vientiane

Vientiane

THERE was no hiding place for the Cambodia U23 team as they suffered their heaviest defeat in their last SEA Games Group A match, with national coach Scott O’Donell summing up the game in typically blunt fashion.

“We were totally outplayed by them,” stated the Australian-born tactician, now in his second spell in charge of the Cambodia team. “There was a complete difference in class between us and Vietnam. They controlled the game; they did what they wanted to, when they wanted to. Our individual defending was poor, our clearances were poor, we didn’t track their runners, we allowed them too much time and space, and they punished us.

“It’s something we’ve got to learn from,” he added. “If you don’t defend properly, and you are not well-organised, maintain your shape and balance, and you don’t reduce the time and space they have to play, they’ll do what they want, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Cambodia were playing for their pride against their more experienced neighbours Vietnam, with progression in the competition already impossible. Vietnam, who needed a point from the match to confirm their place in the semifinals, made it clear from the outset that they would give no quarter.

They pressed from the start, playing their fast-paced style and exchanging passes quickly and effectively around the edge of the Cambodian penalty area to keep the Kingdom penned back in their defensive third of the pitch.

Vietnam captain Pham Thanh Luong cut inside Sun Sovannarith and fired in the first goal on 11 minutes, giving Sou Yaty in the Cambodian goal no chance, though the stopper got down well to keep out another effort from the same player a few minutes later.

Cambodia rallied on 22 minutes, when a well-struck half-volley from Keo Sokngorn looked destined for the far corner, before the giant Vietnam keeper Bui Tan Truong got his fingertips to it and pushed it wide. Sun Sovannarith put a free kick down the keeper’s throat two minutes later, and moments after that, Prak Monyoudom raced clear of the Vietnam defence but dragged his shot wide of the target.

Vietnam’s stranglehold on the game remained, though they didn’t cash in until three minutes before the break, when a corner was headed in unchallenged by Phan Thanh Hung. Halftime beckoned, and Cambodia had done well to restrict their opponents to just two goals.

Sou Yaty was again in the thick of the action early in the second half, distinguishing himself with a double save on 54 minutes from Luong and Pham Minh Duc. Cambodia lost Lorn Sotheara after a clash of heads, and while he was off the pitch getting treatment, Vietnam netted a third. It was the skipper Luong who scored his second goal on 63 minutes.

Just two minutes later, slack marking allowed Hoang Dinh Tung a free header and goal number four, with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.

Cambodia registered a small consolation when Khim Borey latched onto a Chhun Sothearath pass, turned neatly and fired it past Truong on 68 minutes. The flicker of a fightback was still there a minute later when Keo Sokngorn’s cross to the far post was a whisker away from substitute Um Kompheak, but it was quickly extinquished as Vietnam added two more goals before they were finished.

On 83 minutes, Tung added his second after Yaty had parried a shot from Nguyen Ngoc Anh. Then, in the last minute they scored a sixth when Tran Manh Dung slotted in with ease, with the Cambodian defence caught all at sea.

In their defeats against Thailand and Malaysia earlier in the competition, the Cambodian youngsters had offered more resistance, but Vietnam were in no mood to allow their neighbours any hint of an upset. They now go on to meet Singapore in today’s first semifinal at the Chao Anouvong stadium.

In a shock result Friday, Malaysia beat gold-medal favourites Thailand 2-1 to earn their place in today’s second semifinal against host nations Laos, who will be backed by 20,000 screaming home fans at the national stadium. Thailand will return home shell-shocked and without medals, having won gold at all eight previous SEA Games.

However, there is still a chance for a Thai gold in the women’s event, with the team playing Vietnam in the final Wednesday at Chao Anouvong stadium. The sides finished first and second in their five-team round robin competition.

Ups and downs for tennis team in Laos



(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:00 Dan Riley

FOLLOWING the pain of a first-round exit for both the men’s and women’s teams Thursday, the Cambodian tennis squad returned to the courts of the National Sports complex in Vientiane Sunday with a point to prove in the singles and doubles events.

2007 SEA Games bronze medallist Tan Nysan and compatriot Bun Kenny made up for their team defeat with straight sets singles victories over Vietnamese counterparts Hoang Thanh Trung and Bui Tri Nguyen. The Cambodian pair, who reside and train in France, will play quarterfinals this morning with the hope of progressing to a podium place.

Sadly, the successes of the men’s singles was were the positive results ended for the Kingdom, with all other matches ending in straight sets defeats.

Sisters Cheng Chornay and Cheng Srey Pich lost their singles matches to Neesha Thirumalaichelvam of Malaysia and Denise Dy of the Philippines respectively. The girls then lost their doubles match to familiar foes Tran Lam Anh and Huynh Mai Huynh of Vietnam.

The 14-year-old rising star Ek Chamroeun and partner Orn Sambath lost their doubles match to the Malaysian pair of Adam Jaya and Si Yew Ming, while Tan Nysan and Bun Kenny couldn’t deal with the might of Thailand’s Kittiphong Wachiramanowong and Danai Udomchoke.

Saturday’s team event finals saw women’s favourites Thailand breeze past Indonesia, winning 2-0, while the men’s matches really captured the imagination of the crowd.

Famous brothers Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana – once ranked 39th in world doubles – were odds on favourites to win the tie and gold for Thailand, but Filipinos Treat Huey and Cecil Mamiit had other ideas, scoring a shock victory thanks to a third set tie breaker.

Cambodia in 7th heaven



Phouthavong Outhasak (in blue) of Laos fights with Chhoy Bouthorn of Cambodia in the men’s flyweight taekwondo final Sunday. AFP

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:00 Ung Chamroeun

Kingdom’s taekwondo team will bring home seven SEA Games medals

VIENTIANE

THE Kingdom completed a successful taekwondo campaign at the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane over the weekend, with another three medals to end their competition with a total of seven. Chhoeung Puthearim and Cheang Bunna bagged bronzes in the women’s featherweight (53-57kg) and lightweight (57-62kg) categories respectively, and Chhoy Bunthorn took silver in the men’s flyweight division.

Chhoeung Puthearim, 20 years old, was beaten in her semifinal Saturday by Vietnam’s Nguyen Hoai Thu, who went on to claim the gold. “Winning a medal is my dream,” said Chhoeung Puthearim. “I’m so proud, but winning a gold would be the ulitimate in happiness for me, my team and my nation.”

Cheang Bunna, 21, was also happy with her medal Saturday, but despite being more than a month older than victorious semifinal opponent Tikdaphone Chamnhath of Laos, said she was still young compared to others in the competition.

Beaten semifinalists in taekwondo both receive bronze medals, whereas the winners compete in a final for the gold and silver.

Chhoy Bunthorn, 20, won his semifinal Sunday afternoon against East Timor opponent Alves Almeida, before losing an hour later to home-crowd hero Phouthavong Outhasak of Laos in the final. The Cambodian was proud of his medal, but felt sorry that he couldn’t win the gold, pledging to try harder to win medals for the Kingdom at future international competitions.

Cambodia win 'easy' golds



Athletes and supporters cheer on the Cambodian petanque players during the men’s and women’s singles finals in Vientiane on Friday. AFP

(Posted by CAAI news Media)

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:00 Ung Chamroeun

The Kingdom continues its success story in petanque with two golds and two silvers from men’s and women’s singles

Vientiane

CAMBODIA had a good weekend in the petanque courts, taking two golds, a silver and a bronze. Sok Chanmean stormed to first place in the men’s singles, edging Malaysia’s Mohd Firdaus Adli 13-11 in Friday’s final. The 27-year-old Cambodian, who won gold in men’s shooting at the 2007 SEA Games, had topped his qualifying group with three wins and a loss to Laotian Phonepasert Soukkh. However, Sok Chanmean got his revenge on the local lad with a 13-6 victory in the semifinals Friday morning to progress to the final.

“I’m so happy with my second gold medal from the SEA Games,” said Sok Chanmean. “Even when my opponent led 11-5 [in the final], I still didn’t panic. I focused hard on the game, so I could do it.”

“Malaysia are now strong in petanque,” he added. “But Cambodia are still ahead.”

In the women’s singles event, held at the same time, Ouk Sreymom repeated on her silver-medal feat from the previous SEA Games, with a heartbreaking 13-12 loss to Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Hien in their final. “I tried my best, but I lost the [gold medal] chance,” Ouk Sreymom said apologetically. The 34-year-old had finished top of her preliminary group with a perfect four wins from four, before cruising past Laotian Souksakhone Sengch 13-4 in the semifinals.

The singles finals were attended by a vocal Cambodian contingent, mainly comprised of fellow athletes, who had turned up to support the event considered one of the Kingdom’s strongest, shouting: “Cambodia si phoy, Cambodia si phoy,” meaning Cambodia wins easily.

Saturday saw the culmination of the petanque shooting competition, with the Kingdom grabbing a gold and bronze in the men’s and women’s events respectively.

Heng Than, who celebrated his 24th birthday last Wednesday, triumphed over Malaysia’s Nuzul Azwan 48-19 in the men’s final. The Cambodian showed great skill in front of hundreds of spectators, scoring points from nearly every shot he made, making it very difficult for his opponent to follow.

Heng Than had struggled in his preliminary group, placing fourth and having to play an extra round to make the semifinals, where he beat Tran Anh Ngoc of Vietnam 27-17.

“I recognised during the preliminary round I was in a difficult situation,” admitted Heng Than, noting difficulty in adapting to the playing conditions. “But I was not afraid of my rivals. It was my personal problem.

“For the final round, I thought: I’m here for gold, so I can control the game well. I easily beat the Malaysian. I’m so happy that I got the gold medal in my first experience of international competition.”

Em Pisey got off to a similarly slow start in her women’s shooting preliminaries. After placing last in the group of five countries, the 30-year-old made the most of her second chance in the next round to score 33 points, ahead of Malaysian on 30 points, and Laos on 32 points. However, she was stopped in the semifinals 20-11 by Thailand’s Pacharin Sanjumna, to take home the bronze.

“I don’t what to say,” Em Pisey said afterwards. “I couldn’t control myself well. If I didn’t have this problem, I could’ve won gold. I have to learn more about how to control my emotions.”

Em Heang, head coach of the national team, said he was expecting to improve on the Kingdom’s previous medals tally of two golds, two silver and two bronze in Thailand in 2007.

“We hope to win more medals in the next seven events because many athletes are medalists from the last SEA Games,” he asserted. “I know my students, especially the new ones, have problem with their sentiments when they are on the field. We keep trying to assure them that when they are on the field, they are the best ones, so no need to be afraid.”

The coach also noted that the government’s subdecree, which grants successful SEA Games athletes cash prizes for their achievements, was one of the biggest motivators for the team members.

The petanque team now look to add to their tally with success in today’s doubles finals. The men’s doubles finished Sunday’s preliminaries bottom of their group, while the women’s doubles and mixed doubles both finished in second place. Triples competitions play from Tuesday through Friday.

The Phnom Penh Post News in Brief



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Brief: Medals given for losses

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:00 Dan Riley

VIENTIANE – Cambodia slung a couple more bronzes on their medals heap Sunday thanks to the efforts of their shuttlecock team. However, the medals can only be regarded as a consolation prize with Heng Rawut and Chea Sreymeas losing all of their round-robin matches in straight sets, and collecting bronzes by default. The game, like a cross between badminton and volleyball and played using only the feet, is currently only competed by Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Doubles and teams events start today, and conclude Wednesday.

Brief: Boxers earn 2 bronzes

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:00 Dan Riley

VIENTIANE – Legendary Cambodian boxer Ei Phouthang, 31, lost his semifinal Sunday against Malaysia’s Muhd Fairus Azwan by a 9-3 points decision to finish the competition with a bronze medal. Hin Saiheng also lost his semifinal to Laotian Chanthachone Keoudone, with a 6-0 points decision, to double the bronzes from boxing ring. Finals for the various weight divisions are on Wednesday and Thursday.

Conference to focus on industrial relations

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:00 May Kunmakara

THE Arbitration Council Foundation will deliver a set of recommendations to improve industrial relations in industries affected by the global economic crisis today at its fourth National Industrial Relations Conference in Phnom Penh. The foundation was established in 2004 to support the labour dispute resolution work of the Arbitration Council, an independent quasi-judicial body with authority established in 2003 under the Labour Law of Cambodia.

Vietnam inks dam pact

Monday, 14 December 2009 15:00 Ith Sothoeuth

THE Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy signed a memorandum of understanding last week with a Vietnamese state-owned corporation to complete a feasibility study into a potential 980-megawatt hydroelectricity dam in Stung Treng province, Ministry Deputy Director General Victor Zona said Sunday. The study, to be conducted by Vietnam Urban and Industrial Zone Development Investment Corporation would last two years. Eventually a green light would be required from the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of the Environment and the Mekong River Commission, he said. “If one of these three institutions opposes the project, it will not go ahead.”