Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Phnom Penh Post: Duch Sentence rejected in Pol Pot village

Border situation remains normal: Thai diplomat

via Khmer NZ

July 29, 2010

The situation along the Thai- Cambodian border has remained normal, Chalotorn Phaovibul, charge d'affaires of Thailand's Embassy in Cambodia, said on Thursday, the website by the Bangkok Post reported.

His remark was made amid Thailand's opposition to Cambodia's management plan for the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple.

Chalotorn said he has believed Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen would not react until the World Heritage Committee (WHC) decides whether to go ahead and approve Cambodia's management plan for the ancient temple.

Reinforcement of troops along the border is normal, he said, adding that he has not been reported of any unusual situation there.

Thailand's Foreign Ministry has instructed him to monitor Phnom Penh's movement and reported it back to Thailand, he said.

No matter what the WHC's decision would come out, Chalotorn said he has believed Thailand and the neighboring country would not resort to violence, but to adopt diplomatic means to solve the conflict.

Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul has re-affirmed of the normal situation at the border as the ministry is continuously reported of the development there by the northeastern Si Sa Ket province's administration, the Matichon online said.

Deputy Prime Minister in charge of security affairs Suthep Thaugsuban said in the morning he was not worried about the situation at the Thai-Cambodian border, the Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.

Troops can manage the situation along the Thai-Cambodian border, the Thai deputy prime minister said.

Thailand and Cambodia have historically laid claim to the site, which is located on a mountain top on the Thai-Cambodia border. The disputed area of 4.6 square kilometers has not been demarcated.

In 1962 the International Court of Justice ruled that the 11th- century Preah Vihear temple belonged to Cambodia.

Source: Xinhua

WHC to decide on Preah Vihear temple plan tonight


via Khmer NZ

Published: 29/07/2010

The World Heritage Committee is expected to decide on Cambodia's proposed management plan for Preah Vihear temple on Thursday night Thailand time, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti said in a television interview from Brazil on Thursday.

The committee, meeting in Brasilia, earlier postponed a decision on the issue for 24 hours to allow Thailand and Cambodia to iron out their dispute on the sidelines of the meeting.

The issue has been put on the agenda for 10am Brazil time, about 10pm Thursday Thailand time.

The postponement followed a protest in Bangkok and the Thai government's threat to resign its membership of the committee if it approves Cambodia's management plan.

Mr Suwit said Cambodia insists on pressing ahead with its management plan, which Thailand strongly opposes.

Speaking after a 45-minute discussion with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, who heads the Cambodian delegation, Mr Suwit said he would work to his best ability to protect Thailand’s national interest, but that what actually happens is up to the decision of all 21 WHC members. He however hoped that the WHC will comprehend the adverse impact that might occur if it endorses Cambodia’s plan.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in the afternoon that the conflict over Preah Vihear should be brought back into the framework of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Thailand and Cambodia in 2000.

The MoU was about demarcating the boundary of Preah Vihear temple. The work was carried out by the Thai-Cambodia Joint Commission on the Demarcation of the Land Boundary (JBC).

Mr Abhisit said the sidelines meeting between Thai and Cambodian diplomats during the World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil had not been fruitful.

"Thailand has made it clear that we will accept Cambodia's management plan for the temple only if the temple is jointly listed between the two countries," he said.

The WHC approved Cambodia's listing of Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site two years ago.

Responding to Cambodia foreign minister Hor Namhong's comments that Cambodian troops would fire at Thais who intrude into the disputed land, Mr Abhisit said that Thai security forces were prepared in case of violence.

He also said that Thailand's stance is not that much different from Cambodia's.

In Phnom Penh, Thai charge d'affaires Chalotorn Phaovibul, said that the situation along the Thai-Cambodia border was normal following Thailand's opposition to Cambodia's management plan for the temple.

Mr Chalotorn said he believed Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen would not react until the World Heritage Committee decides whether to approve Cambodia's management plan for the ancient Hindu temple.

Any reinforcement of troops along the border is normal, he said, adding that he has not received reports of any unusual situation there.

The Foreign Ministry has instructed him to monitor Phnom Penh's reaction and reported back to Bangkok, he said.

No matter what the WHC's decision would be, Mr Chalotorn said he believed Thailand and Cambodia would each refrain from violence and use diplomatic means to solve their conflict.

Big Las Vegas Developers Sought For New Cambodia Casino

via Khmer NZ

July 29, 2010
Posted By April Gardner
Staff Editor, CasinoGamblingWeb.com  

To build a successful casino that can compete with the top casinos in Asia, name recognition is needed. For a South Korean developer, that means going after some of the biggest gaming operators based in Las Vegas.

Intercity Group has plans of building a $400 million casino in Cambodia, and the company is looking for potential investors. Two of those investors are MGM Resorts International and Harrah's Entertainment, two gaming giants.

MGM has plenty of experience in Asia with casino properties in the biggest gaming destination in the world, Macau. Harrah's has no presence in Asia, and a casino in Cambodia would give the company a way to compete with Macau casinos.

Intercity is pinning their hopes of success on the cheaper area of Cambodia. The company's Vice-President, James Cho, believes that some gamblers will want to stay away from the big lights of the casinos in Macau and Singapore. The casino plan for Cambodia, if carried out, would make the property the biggest casino outside of Macau and Singapore.

The casino project will be massive, with three hotels, a water park, and three golf courses planned. While Cambodia may be cheaper than the other Asian areas, there will be nothing cheap about visiting the Bellus Angkor Resort & City. World class golf course developer David McLay Kidd will develop the courses.

The credit market has still not fully recovered from the global economic recession. Finding funding for the project may prove to be difficult for the Intercity Group. Currently, the company has not revealed how much of the $400 million they have already secured.

South Korean Developer Courts Harrah's for Casino at Cambodia's Angkor Wat

via Khmer NZ

By Daniel Ten Kate - Jul 29, 2010

South Korean developer Intercity Group plans to start construction in October on a $400 million casino resort complex near Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temples that aims to draw high rollers from Macau and Singapore.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., the world’s biggest casino owner, and MGM Resorts International, the largest casino owner on the Las Vegas strip, are among potential investors to visit the site, James Cho, Intercity’s vice president, said in an interview yesterday. The first phase of the project, Cambodia’s largest casino to date, is set to finish in 2012, he said.

“All these big guys are interested in operation management deals,” said Cho, who holds a graduate degree from Columbia University. “We’re confident because the feasibility is there and gaming concessions in this region are so rare.”

Intercity is betting the casino complex, with an investment value equivalent to about 4 percent of Cambodia’s gross domestic product, will draw Asian gamblers looking for an alternative to more established gambling centers. Singapore opened Resorts World Sentosa in February and Marina Bay Sands in April, and Vietnam has approved a $4.2 billion casino set to open in 2013.

Raising funds may prove difficult in the current financial climate given the project’s scale, which is bigger than most casinos outside Singapore and Macau, said Sean Monaghan, an industry expert who formerly worked as a gaming analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co. Success may hinge on showing investors ties to junket operators in Thailand and China, he said.

“Even though Siem Reap sounds goods, most of the people that go there aren’t really casino players,” Singapore-based Monaghan said. “You have to have a very, very solid team to pull that financing off.”

Temples, Incentives

Yvette Monet, an MGM spokeswoman, and Jacqueline Peterson, a spokeswoman for Las Vegas-based Harrah’s, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails sent after regular office hours or answer calls to their mobile phones.

Intercity declined to reveal how much funding has been raised so far. The tourist draw of Angkor Wat, the 12th century Hindu temple, an international airport and “tons” of incentives from the government, including corporate tax holidays and low gaming levies, will make the project viable, Cho said.

“Not everybody’s going to gamble in Macau or Singapore,” Cho said. “Cambodia is family friendly and it’s cheaper.”

Hyung Joo Kim, Intercity’s chief executive officer, is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Hun Sen today in Phnom Penh, Cho said. He will be accompanied by several partners in the project, including Tobin Prior, a former executive with Kerzner International Ltd. who led the company’s bid for the Singapore concession in 2006 that was eventually awarded to Genting Bhd.

Golf Courses, Water Park

Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan referred questions to the country’s investment board. Sok Chenda, secretary-general of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, declined to comment on the project when reached by phone.

Intercity Group is a Seoul-based global real estate and investment firm founded in 1994, according to its website. It has developed $387 million worth of commercial and residential properties in South Korea, according to the site.

Intercity received a license to develop the Angkor casino in 2008, according to the website.

The Bellus Angkor Resort & City will feature the casino, three hotels, three golf courses and a water park. The 18-hole course will be designed by David McLay Kidd, who created the Bandon Dunes course in Oregon and Castle Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, Cho said.

Cambodia attracted 2.2 million tourists last year, with about 580,000 flying directly into Siem Reap, according to government statistics. The resort will be located about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) north of Angkor, about a 30-minute drive from the airport, Cho said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Ten Kate in Bangkok at dtenkate@bloomberg.net

PM: Conflict's solution is demarcation

via Khmer NZ

Published: 29/07/2010

The conflict over Preah Vihear should be brought back into the framework of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Thailand and Cambodia in 2000, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Thursday.

The MoU was about demarcating the boundary of Preah Vihear temple. The work was carried out by the Thai-Cambodia Joint Commission on the Demarcation of the Land Boundary (JBC).

Mr Abhisit said the sidelines meeting between Thai and Cambodian diplomats during the World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil had not been fruitful.

"Thailand has made it clear that we will accept Cambodia's management plan for the temple only if the temple is jointly listed between the two countries," he said.

The WHC approved Cambodia's listing of Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site two years ago.

Responding to Cambodia foreign minister Hor Namhong's comments that Cambodian troops would fire at Thais who intrude into the disputed land, Mr Abhisit said that Thai security forces were prepared in case of violence.

He also said that Thailand's stance is not that much different from Cambodia's.

INTERVIEW - Huge Cambodian casino complex planned to lure Chinese

via Khmer NZ

Thu Jul 29, 2010

By Prak Chan Thul

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A South Korean real-estate developer is to build a $400 million integrated resort and casino in Cambodia to target the growing number of Chinese visitors to Southeast Asia and its burgeoning gambling sector.

The resort will be in Siem Reap province, 314 km (195 miles) northwest of the capital Phnom Penh, which attracts over a million tourists a year to its famed Angkor temples, James Cho, vice-president of Intercity Group, told Reuters in an interview.

Construction of the Water Park complex, with hotels, a gaming centre, shopping and convention centres and an 18-hole golf course, will start in October and it should open in early 2012.

Cho said it aimed in particular to draw visitors from other Asian countries, including Thais, Malaysians and Singaporeans.

But the Chinses are a big target clientele.

"They're visiting Singapore, they're visiting Southeast Asia, and we just think that right now it's a very good time, it's the right time. Asian gaming is hitting Cambodia right now," Cho said.

"With the Chinese, the increase in the middle class from China, Southeast Asia is a very good market. There is no visa restriction like they have in Macau," he said.

China has periodically placed restrictions on visits to Macau and its casinos by citizens from the mainland.

Tourism is Cambodia's second-biggest currency earner after its agricultural sector.

The government gained revenue of $19 million from its 29 casinos in 2008, according to Finance Ministry data. That fell to $17 million last year, squeezed by a drop in tourist arrivals and border tensions with neighbouring Thailand.

Thais are a vital part of Cambodia's casino industry. Most forms of gambling are forbidden in Thailand but thousands of Thais regularly visit massive casino complexes just over the border with Cambodia.

Cho said around 2.2 million tourists a year visited Cambodia and 1.3 million of them went to the temples in Siem Reap. The new resort was hoping to attract 60 to 70 percent of them.

NagaCorp, listed in Hong Kong, is currently the only casino operator in Cambodia, with a licence to run casinos within 200 km (124 miles) of Phnom Penh until 2065.

Cho said the Intercity Group casino would be the first sited away from country's borders, part of the Cambodian government's wider efforts to attract more tourists into the country.

"They're making it a very rare exception and allowing a resort with gaming to be built," he said.

(Editing by Alan Raybould)

Cambodian community misses friend at Long Beach Catholic parish

via Khmer NZ

VOID: April departure of pastoral director leaves center desolate.
By Greg Mellen, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/28/2010

Mt. Carmel Cambodian Catholic Church, 1851 Cerritos Ave., Long Beach. (Stephen Carr / Press-Telegram)

LONG BEACH - For 18 years, members of the Cambodian community knew they could always wander over to the small church near Martin Luther King Jr. Park if they wanted a sympathetic ear or sage counsel.

But not anymore.

Mary Blatz, the pastoral director at Mt. Carmel Cambodian Center since 1992, left in April when she says Catholic church leadership decided it "had a different use" for Mt. Carmel, which has been a cornerstone in the Khmer community since Blatz took the reins.

Blatz doesn't like to talk about the specifics of her departure, and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles would only say Blatz's departure was a personnel matter and could not be discussed.

The Archdiocese also said little about future plans for the parish, which as a mission does not have a regular priest. It holds Mass once a month and prayer services on Fridays conducted by clergy from St. Anthony Church. In an e-mail, an Archdiocese spokesman said there were no plans to close Mt. Carmel.

Most days, the property seems deserted except for several no trespassing signs.

This is in contrast to recent years, when Blatz and Cambodian and other community members could almost always be found on the premises in a buzz of activity.

Blatz helped Cambodians with literacy, citizenship and deportation issues, medical information, connecting them with social services or whatever came across her desk.

The house next to the church, where Blatz resided, was part domicile, part office, part drop-in center.
Since 2007, the fledgling nonprofit Friends of Mt. Carmel, of which Blatz is president, dealt with a number of social issues, while the church ministered to spiritual needs.

When Cambodian seniors wanted to start a garden, Blatz wrote a grant with the City of Long Beach and turned over a portion of the back property.

When Blatz left, the seniors had to move their garden into pots which are now tended behind the gymnasium at McBride Park.

However, in recent years Blatz felt a strain between what she saw as her pastoral calling and church rules.

Fundamental to that was providing shelter.

Blatz often let displaced and destitute residents sleep on the property, which she said was against church rules.

They were people like Kea Cheng, who wandered in, in need of medical and legal help and a place to stay. He lived on the premises and helped prepare meals and performed other duties until Blatz left.

The help Blatz provided could be unofficial and off the books, but she says it was nonetheless vital.

"We've helped a lot of people to transition (into the mainstream). We couldn't do that in the church anymore," Blatz said.

Although Blatz left the employ of the church, she says her faith remains.

"I don't want social and pastoral needs to separate, but I can't do anything about that now," Blatz said.

Blatz says her work with Cambodians will continue.

"We're trying to relocate," Blatz said from an office at the UCC Plaza.

Blatz said her goal is to find an apartment or property where needy community members can stay.

At a recent event with Cambodian seniors, Blatz said several members mentioned they had gone to Mt. Carmel in search of her and wondered where she was now.

"I said `I'm up in the air,"' Blatz said with a laugh. "I'm up in the air, but I'm hoping to land."

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via Khmer NZ

Phnom Penh Government on Full Alert for Thailand´s Invasion

Thursday, 29 July 2010 10:24 DAP-NEWS

CAMBODIA,PHNOM PENH, 29 July, 2010-“According to Prime Minister Hun Sen´s orders, The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Standing along the Cambodia-Thailand borders are now ready to respond to any invasion of Thai soldiers,” Mr. Khieu Kanharith, spokesman of the Royal Government of Cambodia and Minister of the Ministry of Information, said on Thursday of July 29, 2010.

Mr. Khieu Kanharith had said in terms of the Royal Government of Cambodia´s political position after Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva attempted to deploy the Thai soldiers along the Cambodia-Thailand borders, and especially near the Preah Vihear Temple areas.

However, the public is now looking forward to seeing any invading activities of the Thai soldiers along the borders after a UNESCO´s meeting will be held in Brazil in order to talk about Cambodia´s management plan for Preah Vihear temple.

Soldiers at Border Standby: Officials

Thursday, 29 July 2010 08:29 DAP-NEWS

CAMBODIA,Phnom Penh,JULY-29-2010 : Cambodian Government Spokesperson on Thursday said that Cambodia’s armies are standby to respond any violation from Thailand at borders.

Cambodian spokesman Khieu Kanharith, also Minister of Information told DAP News Cambodia that, “Our troops are ready to respond if Thai PM Abhisit sends troops to the borders.”
The spokesman’s reaction came after Thai Abhisit said he would deploy his soldiers at the borders, especially at Preah Vihear Temple, which was concluded as world heritage status.

Howevers, Kanharith confirmed that the situation at borders is normal.

Think of the children


Photo by: Heng Chivoan

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:00 May Titthara

Roughly 225 families from Kampong Thom province’s Kampong Svay district gathered in front of Wat Botum yesterday to request Prime Minister Hun Sen’s intervention in a dispute over 800 hectares of land that are also claimed by the Duong Heng Company. The dispute between the families and the company dates back to 2005, and arrest warrants were issued for four villagers in 2007. The families dispersed at 10am yesterday.

No survivors


Photo by: AFP

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:04 AFP

Emergency personnel comb the wreckage at the site of a passenger plane disaster in the Margalla Hills on the outskirts of Islamabad yesterday. A Pakistani jet carrying up to 152 people crashed amid heavy rain and poor visibility, erupting in a ball of flames. The airline said there were no survivors.

Lake development blamed for fatality


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:03 Khouth Sophakchakrya

RELATIVES of a man who was electrocuted while standing in floodwater are blaming the death on flooding caused by the massive Boeung Kak lake real estate development.

Biv Thuong, 61, died while he was repairing a neighbour’s home in Srah Chak commune’s Village 3.

The village, which sits on the southern end of Boeung Kak lake, has been inundated with floodwater this year – an occurrence that many in the village have blamed on the controversial land development, which has seen the lake gradually filled with sand since 2008.

Chau Kheang said he and Biv Thuong had been hired to change mouldy wooden support beams under a neighbour’s house on Tuesday. The task required the two men to wade through knee-high floodwater on the ground level of the house.

When Biv Thuong tried to remove a lamp, the circuits started sparking, sending an electric shock through both men’s bodies, Chau Kheang said.

“I rushed out from the ground floor of the wooden house after me and my partner were shocked,” he said. “I am very sorry. I could not save him.”

The village’s 339 families had designated Biv Thuong to lobby on behalf of the village on flood-related issues.

The man’s wife, Uk Savin, yesterday blamed her husband’s death on the real estate project that she believes caused the flooding. “If they did not fill land in the lake ... my village would not flood and my husband would not have been electrocuted,” Uk Savin said.

Municipal officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

However, Chhay Thirith, the chief of Srah Chak commune, blamed the death on Biv Thuong.

“He has an overbearing attitude and was careless,” Chhay Thirith said. “He handled an uncovered electricity line when his legs were standing in water.”

The house’s owner, Taing Phuong, said she turned the power off before the men started working.

SRP censures strike bust-up


Photo by: Pha Lina
Police charge protesting employees at a factory in Sen Sok district owned by PCCS Garments Limited. About 50 officers dressed in riot gear and toting electric batons and tear-gas guns scuffled with the workers, mostly women, who retaliated by throwing chairs and fruit.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:03 Meas Sokchea and Kim Yuthana

THE opposition Sam Rainsy Party yesterday condemned an armed crackdown on striking garment factory workers this week, saying that peaceful means should be used to resolve their dispute with factory management.

On Tuesday, around 50 riot police descended on a factory owned by PCCS Garments Limited in Sen Sok district and tried to force an estimated 3,000 employees back to work. In the process, several workers were pushed to the ground and stunned with electric batons, and some demonstrators retaliated by throwing water bottles and plastic chairs at police.

“The use of violence on workers like this is a serious violation of individuals’ rights and the freedom of expression of the workers, which is guaranteed by the Cambodian Constitution and the Law on Peaceful Demonstrations,” the SRP said in a statement.

The strike followed six days of protests at the factory that were triggered by the dismissal of union representative Morn Channa last week.

“Once again SRP condemns the use of violence against workers of PCCS Garment Factory and would like to call for the authorities and garment factory owners to resolve the problems and allow Morn Channa ... to be re-employed,” the statement said.

PCCS workers continued their strike yesterday, and garment worker Phan Sreypov pledged that they would continue their strike until Morn Channa was reinstated.

“We still must keep our stance and demand the same until the factory owner has a resolution for Morn Channa,” she said.

But You Meng Try, a PCCS representative, said Wednesday that if the workers do not return to work by today, their salaries will be docked and they could face dismissal themselves.

“The stance of the factory is the same, not to allow their representatives back for employment,” he said.

Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, of which Morn Channa is a member, said that more than 10 workers were injured by the police actions on Tuesday.

He also said that if the factory continued to deny workers’ demands, it would lose profits as well as the confidence of overseas clients.

“So the factory should find a way to have negotiations with workers so both sides can profit,” he said.

Phnom Penh Municipal police chief Touch Naruth dismissed the SRP’s concerns, saying the party was not considering the issue of “public order”.

Striking workers “threw stones at police”, the strike had blocked the main avenue to Phnom Penh International Airport, he said.

“We must have legal action; Russian Federation Boulevard cannot be allowed to have disorder. If Russian Federation Boulevard is blocked by disorder, it is very bad for us,” he said.

He also denied that any workers had been injured.

Man gets prison for posing as late prince


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:03 Mom Kunthear

A 66-YEAR-OLD man was sentenced to three years in jail at Kampot provincial court on Wednesday for extorting money and gifts from local residents on the pretence that he was the late Prince Norodom Naradipo.

Kampot provincial deputy prosecutor Seang Sok said that although the province had seen similar cases of fraud in the past, appropriating the identity of a member of the royal family was particularly egregious. Prince Naradipo, a son of King Father Norodom Sihanouk and half-brother of King Norodom Sihamoni, was born in 1946 and died under the Khmer Rouge regime.

“This man impersonated the King’s relative in order to cheat the villagers and convince them to give him money,” Seang Sok said. “This could affect the King’s reputation, so the court charged the man with fraud.”

Tep Vanna, head of the Kampot provincial military police, said police had apprehended the suspect, Prum Sokkak, after receiving complaints about him from local residents. Prum Sokkak, who had apparently been running similar schemes throughout the country, was thwarted when his wife arrived and identified him, he added.

Prince Sisowath Thomico, assistant to the King Father, said in an email that Prum Sokkak was “not the first” fraudster to impersonate the late Prince Naradipo.

“The identity problems in Cambodia is in fact a direct and lasting consequence of the Khmer Rouge regime,” Prince Thomico said. “Thousands of people have since changed their names or have taken other persons’ identities. To my knowledge, there is no law to deal with this problem.”

Brick attack investigation proceeding


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:03 Cameron Wells and May Titthara

A CANADIAN man said yesterday that local police were investigating an attack in which he was hit in the head by a brick while walking near the riverside, and the municipal police chief said no complaints had been filed in connection with similar cases.

Patrick Falby, a former Post reporter, said last week that he was hit in the jaw with a brick while walking along the riverside last month. He reported to police that the brick was thrown from a Toyota SUV.

He said yesterday that police had been in contact with him since news reports about the attacks appeared in the media late last week.

“They told me they were still following the case,” he said. “Then I got a call last week, and they asked if I had been attacked by a brick again.”

He said his landlord informed him that police had visited his residence while he was absent, and had asked the landlord “if I was OK”.

Phnom Penh police chief Touch Naruth said he was aware that the case was being investigated, and speculated that Falby might have provoked the attack.

“Maybe the foreigner made an argument with other people, so then they threw a brick at the foreigner,” he said.

He added that police were unable to launch investigations into the other cases because no complaints had been filed. But he said police had ramped up their riverside presence in an attempt to ward off similar future attacks.

“We have not investigated because we do not have the victim’s complaint,” Touch Naruth said. “But we have deployed police along that road to prevent any more cases.”

Mom Sitha, director of the foreigners bureau of the Phnom Penh municipal police department, said police had still not identified potential suspects in any of the attacks.

“We have not identified who is a suspect yet,” he said. “If we knew, we would arrest them.”

He said the police presence had been increased along the riverfront in order to make the area “safer for tourists”.

Angkor Thom bus ban delayed


Photo by: Rann Reuy
A bus leaves Angkor Thom. The Apsara Authority has postponed implementation of a ban on buses with more than 12 seats in the site.

via khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:03 Rann Reuy

Siem Reap province

THE Apsara Authority has decided to postpone implementation of a ban on buses containing more than 12 seats within Angkor Thom, and an official said yesterday that the body hoped to discuss the issue at length with the Tourist Transport Association.

Earlier this month, Chrun Sophal, the body’s communications director, said the ban would go into effect on August 1. He said yesterday that the deadline had been delayed, though he could not provide a new date.

“We will implement it in the future,” he said.

The Tourism Department at the Apsara Authority found that 15,000 vehicles entered the Angkor Wat temple complex each day in 2008, the last year for which statistics are available. Of those, about 900 were minibuses containing between 12 and 35 seats.

An official at the department who declined to be named said an estimated 90 percent of those vehicles entered Angkor Thom.

Chrun Sophal said the ban on buses with more than 12 seats was necessary so as to ensure the safety of the temples.

“We are concerned that those buses make the temples shake,” he said. “We want good order in the temples.”

Kanh Peou, the director of the TTA, said he had not heard of the pending ban, but that he believed the Apsara Authority should allow buses with up to 15 seats to enter Angkor Thom.

Juvenile Justice: Children’s court pilot planned


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:03 Khoun Leakhana

Juvenile Justice

The Ministry of Justice plans to spearhead a children’s court pilot programme – an early step in a bid to introduce a juvenile justice system in Cambodia.

Ith Rady, secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice, said officials and legal experts were discussing ways to help children who break the law.

It is hoped that a pilot project, which does not yet have a firm start date, will be a key part of creating a justice system that deals exclusively with people under the age of 18.

“We are going to train judges who will be in charge of child cases, so that they will understand the legal procedures for convicting children and how to use the law in this court system as well,” Ith Rady said during a workshop on the issue yesterday.

Cambodia currently lacks a separate juvenile justice law. Among the few provisions for children in the current penal code is a provision stipulating that sentences for minors should be halved.

Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana said: “I believe that the child court will be useful for children in enhancing their rights and preventing discrimination or immoral acts in society.”

Former KR cadres react to verdict


Photo by: ECCC
Former S-21 prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, remarks last year about testimony by his former subordinate Him Huy (right, foreground), who was a Khmer Rouge prison guard.

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Why do they want him to spend his whole life in prison? There is no need for this kind of vengeance.
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via khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:02 Thet Sambath

FORMER Khmer Rouge cadres in the regime’s onetime stronghold of Northwestern Cambodia said yesterday that they were uninterested in Monday’s verdict against Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav at the Kingdom’s war crimes tribunal, and untroubled by the prospect of further prosecutions.

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Brigade 8 commander Yim Phim, a former Khmer Rouge military commander whose RCAF troops are now stationed at Preah Vihear temple, said he was aware of Monday’s proceedings but had not followed them closely.

“I am not interested in this verdict, and neither are my soldiers,” Yim Phim said. “I don’t see it as necessary.”

Although the court had begun preliminary investigations in its third and fourth cases, and prosecutors had submitted a list of five unnamed potential suspects in September, Yim Phim said he and other former cadres were unconcerned.

“If Samdech Hun Sen is in power, I believe it will be no problem and there will be no more arrests,” Yim Phim said. The prime minister has publicly expressed his opposition to prosecutions beyond the court’s second case.

In the most widely discussed aspect of Monday’s ruling, judges sentenced Kaing Guek Eav – alias Duch – to 30 years in prison. This penalty was reduced from 35 years because of Duch’s illegal detention from 1999 to 2007, and with credit for time already served, he will spend just 19 more years in prison.

Many victims expressed anger at this relatively light sentence, though Kong Doung, a former Khmer Rouge radio officer who is now director of Pailin province’s information department, said he was puzzled by this sentiment.

“Why do they want him to spend his whole life in prison? There is no need for this kind of vengeance,” Kong Doung said. Most people near the border, he said, were more concerned with the ongoing standoff with Thailand than with the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

“We are worried about Preah Vihear temple – we want to know whether the Thai troops will withdraw or not,” Kong Doung said.

Keut Sothea, a former Khmer Rouge military officer and now a member of the Pailin provincial council, said he had not tuned in for the announcement of Monday’s verdict.

More basic concerns, he said, occupied the minds of his constituents.

“People are too busy working and farming to feed their families and children,” he said.

Khan Nang, a former Khmer Rouge soldier now living in Banteay Meanchey province’s Malai disrict, said he did not take the tribunal seriously because it was not investigating all of those responsible for committing atrocities under Democratic Kampuchea.

“I do not see it as justice because the trials are just for a few leaders,” Khan Nang said. “They should try all the cadres who were involved in these crimes, even those who are leaders in the government today.”

Duch’s detention
One question on the minds of some observers in the aftermath of Monday’s verdict was whether Duch, already the beneficiary of a reduced sentenced, could see his prison term further reduced by earning parole.

Upon the conclusion of their cases, the Cambodian government assumes responsibility for suspects convicted at the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

Suspects convicted in the Cambodian criminal system are eligible for parole after having served two thirds of their sentences.

The 2004 Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia states that the government “shall not request an amnesty or pardon” for anyone convicted at the tribunal, and ECCC deputy prosecutor William Smith said Tuesday that this provision thus excluded the possibility of parole.

Asked about the legal status of Duch’s detention, Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said it was “a good question” and referred questions to ECCC officials. Phnom Penh Municipal Court president Chiv Keng said such detention procedure was “under the ECCC’s duty”.

UN court spokesman Lars Olsen said Tuesday that there were “established procedures in Cambodian law for applying for parole, and it is not within the ECCC’s mandate to enforce those rules”.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MAY TITTHARA

Ethnic Jarai villagers plan protest against inaction in land row


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:02 Chhay Channyda

ETHNIC Jarai villagers in Ratanakkiri province will hold a press conference today in order to push provincial court officials to rule on a long-standing land dispute involving businesswoman Keat Kolney, a sister of Finance Minister Keat Chhon.

Sev Twel, 25, a representative of Kong Yu village in O’Yadav district, said yesterday that more than 250 demonstrators planned to gather outside the court and request that it solve the dispute, revolving around 450 hectares of land in O’Yadav.

The Kong Yu villagers have been embroiled in the dispute since August 2004, when Keat Kolney claimed to have purchased 450 hectares of land from the village.

But Kong Yu residents say they agreed to the sale only after commune authorities told them the land was needed for disabled army veterans.

Villagers later signed documents approving the sale, but they say they only agreed to give away 50 hectares of land.

Much of the land has since been cultivated with rubber trees.

Kong Yu villagers filed complaints to the provincial court in 2007, requesting the termination of the sale and a halt to the clearing of the land, but Sev Twel said the court had not taken any action to address their case.

Yong Sarath, a defence lawyer for the villagers provided by the Community Legal Education Centre, said the court had summoned his clients once after receiving the complaint in 2007, but that the case had not been heard since.

“The case has been protracted for a long time. According to the law, the court must handle the case speedily and justly,” he said yesterday.

In May 2010, Yong Sarath said, CLEC lawyers sent a letter to the provincial court requesting that it assign a new judge to the case in order to speed up the investigations.

At the time, CLEC lawyers said the court had promised to make a change, but Yong Sarath said the court had delayed making the appointment and said that it was too busy working on other cases.

Previous trial judge Thor Saron said in May that he had removed himself from the case, but that he did not know which judge would replace him.

Provincial court director Lu Susambath could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

CITA head to file report on exam bribery


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:02 Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Mom Kunthear

THE head of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association plans to file a report to the Education Ministry on the issue of “corruption during Grade 12 national exams” in physics and mathematics.

Rong Chhun, the president of CITA, said yesterday that the group had received reports from invigilators in Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng and Preah Sihanouk provinces that the mathematics exam was leaked on the night before yesterday’s test, and was being sold nationwide yesterday morning.

He added that supervisers and inspectors were still accepting bribes from candidates, some of whom were paying as much as 30,000 riels (US$7) to avoid punishment for cheating and copying.

“According to the education law, the results of these exams should be nullified and students must re-sit the exam if any test has been made public,” he said.

He said that the CITA report would be submitted sometime this weekend.

On Tuesday, Rong Chhun accused the chief inspector at the Hun Sen Saang exam centre in Kandal province of ordering all exam supervisors to take money from students sitting for exams this week.

Uo Eng, deputy director general of the Education Ministry’s General Department of Education, said yesterday he had not received any new complaints.

“Rong Chhun has always accused the Education Ministry of bad things, but it is his right,” he said. “I don’t care, because we are working hard already.”

A student at Intradevy High School in Tuol Kork district, who declined to be named, said she had spent almost $30 buying exam results from monitors, but said that teachers had ordered students to do so.

“For the last day of exams, I spent 30,000 riels per subject,” she said. “All good and bad students gave money to inspectors and monitors, so I had to as well.”

Students finished the final day of examinations yesterday, completing tests in mathematics and earth sciences.

Flooded-out families ask for help


Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Biev Uksar, 30, prays at a funeral service for his father, Biv Thuong, 61, the chief of the Group 34 community at the Boeung Kak lakeside, who was electrocuted in floodwaters.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:02 Khouth Sophakchakrya

FAMILIES in Srah Chak commune’s Village 3 say their lives have not been the same ever since a developer began filling in Boeung Kak lake to make way for a controversial real estate project.

The families aren’t among the roughly 4,000 expected to lose their homes if or when the development – the largest real estate project in the city – is completed.

But villagers say they now have to deal with intolerable flooding because of the project. Their homes, built on stilts over the sandy, southern edge of Boeung Kak lake, never used to flood even during the rainy season. Now it takes only one heavy rainstorm for some homes in the village to be flooded with murky runoff.

Villagers say they have been in an ongoing battle with City Hall to find a solution to the problem.

“We had asked the authorities, including City Hall, to make drainage to release the water from our village, but they told us they will make an effort to do it soon,” said Rath Him. “Maybe they will do it after we all die or relocate from our homes.”

On Tuesday, Rath Him’s neighbour, Biv Thuong, was electrocuted while attempting to make repairs on a home while standing in knee-high floodwater.

Earlier this month, at least 20 families left their homes and sought refuge in rental housing, fleeing floodwater that had made their lives difficult, the families said at the time. At least 15 have still not returned to their homes.

But local officials have repeatedly said the onus is on the developer – Shukaku Inc, a company headed by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin – to solve the problem. Sok Penh Vuth, deputy governor of Daun Penh district, and Kep Chuktema, the governor of Phnom Penh, both said they were too busy to comment on the issue yesterday.

Representatives from Shukaku could not be reached for comment.

Kampot men summoned in land spat


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear

TWO villagers involved in a land dispute in Kampot province have been called to answer questions today about attempted murder and defamation allegations lodged against them by the chief of Dop Sralao village, in Teuk Chhou district’s Trapong Pring commune.

Soung Sorn filed a complaint against Chean Sorn and Phan Sareth shortly after a June 16 altercation in which villagers accosted employees of Phnom Penh businesswoman Heav Lon and tried to stop them from clearing 58 hectares of disputed land.

A group of 26 former Khmer Rouge families claim to have lived on the land since 1983 after receiving a concession from the government, but in 2005 Heav Lon accused villagers who were farming the land of destroying her private property.

Chean Sorn said yesterday that he did not know the basis of the complaint against him, but that he had merely gone to the site three days after the altercation to take pictures of the employees clearing the land. “I went down to the land dispute on June 19 to shoot some pictures only,” he said.

Long Ngor, the chief of Trapong Pring commune, said he had already summoned the two villagers based on the complaint from Soung Sorn three times since June 16, but that they had failed to appear.

“I asked them to clarify allegations of murder and defamation to the village chief concerning the land dispute, but they did not do so,” he said.

He said he did not know whether there was a chance Chean Sorn and Phan Sareth would be arrested if they went to the district office today.

Chean Sorn, an investigator for the Kampot NGO Against Corruption Natural Resources Crackdown Interception and Citizens’ Rights Protection Organisation, said he had not decided whether he would appear.

“I am not sure whether I will appear at the police office on Thursday because I am afraid they will arrest me, even though I did not do like that the authorities have accused me,” he said.

Neither Heav Lon nor Soung Sorn could be reached for comment yesterday.

In a letter dated June 28, the Interior Ministry instructed Kampot governor Khoy Khun Hour to prevent employees of Heav Lon from clearing the land until the dispute had been resolved.

Khoy Khun Hour could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Abhisit threatens to reconsider UNESCO ties over Preah Vihear


by: AFP
Pro-government Yellow Shirt protesters hold Thai flags outside UNESCO’s office in Bangkok on Tuesday during a rally opposing Cambodia’s management plan for Preah Vihear temple.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:01 Post Staff

THAI Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday that his government would cease cooperating with UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee if the body approves Cambodia’s management plan for Preah Vihear temple.

According to The Nation newspaper, a Thai delegation present at the meeting in Brazil, which runs until August 3, will lobby against Cambodia’s proposed management plan for the World Heritage site, which is to be presented this week.

Abhisit was quoted as saying that he would not cooperate with the WHC if the plan were approved, following a meeting with pro-government Yellow Shirt leaders yesterday that was spurred by protests outside UNESCO’s Bangkok headquarters on Tuesday. The Thai objections are based on claims that a 4.6-kilometre plot of land adjacent to the temple has not been properly demarcated.

“We think the World Heritage Committee should not consider this plan until Thailand and Cambodia have agreed upon the demarcation line,” Abhisit said. When asked if Thailand would withdraw from the WHC if the plan were approved, he was quoted as saying: “There are many options. We may consider harsh measures”.

Also yesterday, the Thai cabinet passed three resolutions relating to the WHC meeting, pledging that Bangkok would “review its membership at [UNESCO] if the international agency endorses the management plan”.

Cambodian government officials said Thailand’s statements concerning the issue would harm its international reputation. Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers, said yesterday that the objections were part of an attempt by the Thai
government and “extremists” to “pollute the atmosphere” of relations between the two countries.

“Cambodia doesn’t care at all about the objection,” he said. “The objection was created by a group of extremists and the government in a campaign to pollute the atmosphere and show Thailand’s intention to invade Cambodia. The objection by Thailand will destroy its own honour in the international community.”

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday that the International Court of Justice awarded Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia in 1962. He added that Cambodia’s claim to the 4.6-square-kilometre area of scrub next to the temple was based on a 1908 map produced by France and Thailand, then known as Siam.

“Thailand claimed the land belonged to it in 2007, referring to a unilaterally produced map,” he said. “Thailand’s falsified establishment of the map to claim the area is an international crime.

“So the 4.6 square kilometres is a falsification by Thais to claim Cambodia’s land. Now Thailand’s policy, if they get nothing, they want to co-manage the eco-management.”

Police Blotter: 29 Jul 2010


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:00 Tang Khyhay

EXCESSIVE SPEED, COW COMBINE FOR ACCIDENT
At least 14 people were injured after a bus slammed into a cow in Kampong Thom province Tuesday, police said. Investigators blamed the crash on the bus driver, who was apparently speeding when the vehicle ploughed into the cow as it crossed the road. Twelve foreign tourists were injured, as were two Cambodians. All of the injured were sent to the provincial hospital. There was no word on the cow’s condition.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

SCANTILY CLAD WOMAN CAUSES RUCKUS IN CAPITAL
Police in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district said they arrested a 26-year-old Russian woman Tuesday after she was seen walking around on a public street wearing only her underwear. The woman reported that she had been living in Cambodia doing business for the last four years. However, she said her money and passport had been stolen last year. After an inquiry into the case, local police ruled that the woman was mentally ill and sent her on to the Russian embassy.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

SCHOOL BUS V TRACTOR: LOSSES ON BOTH SIDES
Seven students were injured after the school bus on which they were travelling collided with a tractor in Kampong Cham province Monday. Police said the bus and the tractor had been going in the same direction, but the two vehicles somehow crashed. Three people on the tractor were also injured. The victims were sent to hospital, and the two vehicles were kept at the police station as investigators pondered the case.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

MUSSEL SELLER INJURED IN RUSSEY KEO CRASH
A 21-year-old mussel vendor was seriously injured after a speeding car ploughed into him while he was pushing his cart down the street in Russey Keo district. Witnesses reported seeing the hurtling car slam into the man Monday. Police said the driver, a doctor, was drunk. The victim was sent to hospital, while the driver was carted off to the police station. On Tuesday, the driver negotiated a compensation payment.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

COPS CLAIM MAN LURED WOMAN AND RAPED HER
A 31-year-old man was arrested Saturday after he allegedly raped an 18-year-old woman in a hotel. Police alleged that the suspect lured the woman from Phnom Penh to Battambang province by asking her to help him in his newly opened phone shop. After her arrival, he took her out for dinner, then brought her back to the hotel where the rape is alleged to have occurred. Police said the suspect denied raping the woman.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Infinity to help insure hydroelectric project


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:01 Catherine James

INFINITY Insurance has signed on as an insurer for construction of the US$412 million China Huadian hydropower project in Koh Kong province, its chief executive, David Carter, said yesterday.

Infinity will insure the project for the duration of construction – slated to last until 2014 – in conjunction with state-owned People’s Insurance Company of China, he said.

Under the terms of yesterday’s deal, PICC will largely act as a reinsurer.

“This is a very large project, and so Infinity can only take a small amount of the risk,” he said.

“The major proportion is reinsured out. Even though we do pass over quite a significant amount of risk, it does not mean that we’re in any way freed up from the whole thing,” he said.

If the reinsurer could not pay out on a claim, the responsibility would fall directly to the insurer, but that scenario was unlikely, he said.

Carter said that being brought on board by PICC was a “great result”.

New joint venture: Singaporean invests in pawn shop


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:01 May Kunmakara

A SINGAPOREAN investor has put US$500,000 into a joint-venture pawnshop in Phnom Penh that is only the fourth to be registered in the Kingdom.

Steven Lam, director of the new business, Cash-U-Up, said the company would offer more financial solutions to Cambodians who had difficulties in accessing bank services.

“We intend to implement the skills brought from Singapore to succeed in our business here,” he said.

“We offer [services] to everyone who needs financial services or cash in advance that would be difficult to get from the bank or financial institutions.”

Cash-U-Up is set to provide small loans with a 3 percent interest rate against collateral of all kinds of property, such as jewellery, phones, cars, motorcycles and laptops.

The licensed store opened yesterday in Phnom Penh’s PGCT center on Street 274, but will compete with a host of unlicensed operators.

Under a January prakas, or edict, pawn shops require a permit to operate. Operators must have minimum capital of 80 million riels (about $18,823), of which 10 percent is required for a deposit at a Finance Ministry account at the National Bank of Cambodia.

Mey Vann, the MoF director of financial industry, said: “Our goal is to avoid them from accepting the stolen things to curb robbery in the country.
“Relying on the prakas

requires them to get registered but we cannot force them. We have to educate them to understand clearly about the law first,” and the government would take action in the future, he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen returned from Singapore on Tuesday, where he highlighted investment opportunities.

ASEAN valuers plan to train Cambodians


via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:01 Soeun Say

THE Association of Southeast Asian Nation Valuers’ Association will hold a conference on real estate appraisals in Cambodia next year, the first time the event has come to the Kingdom.

“Our country has little experience in valuing real estate, but Singapore and Malaysia will send experts to the conference next year to train us to an international standard in property valuation,” said Sung Bonna, president of the National Valuers’ Association of Cambodia, yesterday.

The ASEAN Valuers’ Association allows regional real estate valuers to share opinions and exchange experience in a bid to keep up with the latest developments in the field.

Cambodia obtained membership last year, Sung Bonna said.

Membership in the association promotes transparent practices in appraisals, which helps to keep keep the market stable, he said. It also allowed real estate agents to gain experience managing property transactions.

“We are happy to hold the event for AVA,” he said.

“It is very important for our country to reach an international standard in property valuation.”

The decision to hold a meeting in Phnom Penh was made at its 16th annual congress, which was held in Bangkok last week.

The regional association was established in 1981 with five founding members: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Brunei joined in 1990, Vietnam in 1997 and Cambodia in 2009, according to the organisation’s website.

Rubber group sees rosy future


Vietnamese Rubber Enterprise Federation President Leng Rithy. Phnom Penh Post

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:01 Chun Sophal

The Vietnamese Rubber Enterprise Federation includes 17 companies and has invested US$1 billion in growing rubber in Cambodia. The Post talked to Leng Rithy, its president.

Why is Vietnam interested in investing in Cambodian rubber plantations?
Vietnam is interested in growing rubber in Cambodia for several reasons.

First, Cambodia has a lot of potential free land which is suitable for rubber.

Cambodia is also next to Vietnam, which makes communication easy. The two countries have similar weather, and their people also have similar cultures.

How much capital will Vietnam invest and how many hectares of land area will the federation grow rubber on?
We have prepared a total amount of nearly US$1 billion to grow rubber, on a total economic concession land area of 100,000 hectares.

Of this amount, $600 million will be used for plantations, $200 million will be used for building infrastructure in the rubber plantation areas.

The other $200 million will be used for building rubber-processing factories.

How did the Vietnamese Rubber Enterprise Federation get such a large area to grow rubber on?
It was very difficult to find large areas of land to grow rubber on, but we were able to receive such a large area because [the project] has got support from the prime minister of Cambodia, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and local authorities of all levels.

What kind of encouragement did the project receive from the Cambodian government?
Cambodian law gives very broad encouragement to investment.

Under these laws the federation has been facilitated by the Cambodian government to import agricultural materials, fertiliser, and rubber breeds with import tax at zero percent.

When will the project be finished?
At first we planned to finish it by 2015. But because of the support and facilitation we received from the government, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and local authorities of the provinces in which we are growing rubber – including Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Kratie Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri – we have speeded up.

Our plantation is set to be finished by 2012. We planned to grow 10,000 hectares in 2009, 20,000 hectares this year, 30,000 hectares in 2011 and then 40,000 hectares in 2012.

How big will your workforce be?
We plan to employ 40,000 workers. Of those, 30,000 would work on the plantations and the other 10,000 would be employed in the technical work, administrative work and in factories.

These workers are from Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kampong Thom, Pursat, Takeo and Kampong Chhnang provinces.

Is it difficult to recruit a large number of workers?
At first, it was very difficult for us to recruit workers because most of them did not trust our investment very much.

But now, seeing our achievements, many people who used to migrate to work elsewhere have been returning home to grow rubber for us.

So far, the federation has been building houses to provide accommodation to workers at the base of each plantation.

Moreover, we are building schools and health-care centres to provide health-care services.

Workers who came here first saw that their lifestyle was improved and have been persuading their relatives to come to work for us more and more.

Besides growing rubber, does the federation have plans to do anything else?
We plan to build two big rubber-processing factories in Kampong Thom and Kratie provinces in late 2011.

We will equip the two factories with modern facilities and high-tech systems to produce international-standard-quality rubber.

Moreover, we plan to choose a place in one of the two provinces to use as location for us to transform rubber into finished products such as car tyres, medical tools, condoms and gloves.

We will complete all these projects by 2016 and in 2017 the federation will start to harvest resin.

How much rubber does the federation expect to produce per year?
We expect to get 20,000 tonnes of rubber in 2015, and the output will increase up to as much as 200,000 tonnes by 2018 when all rubber we have grown will yield.

We believe our estimation will not be wrong because the rubber breeds we have chosen to grow in Cambodia are the best ones, which will yield at least 2 tonnes per hectare.

What do you think of the investment environment here?
Vietnam dares to invest as much as $1 billion to grow rubber like this because we found that the Cambodian government has been giving priority and paying a lot of attention to the agro-industrial sector, which provides a good opportunity for all investors in general.

In the name of investment, we must be aware of and able to take hold of opportunities for investing, especially in such circumstances, because a quick decision can also bring us more benefits.