Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Wildlife smugglers freed after ‘warning’


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:03 Vong Sokheng

KAMPONG Cham provincial police briefly arrested five alleged wildlife smugglers yesterday, after finding them in possession of more than 200 kilograms of protected mammalian and reptile species, officials said.

Provincial police chief Nuon Saminn said the five men were detained after their car was stopped in Suong district and they were found in possession of protected tortoises, porcupines, civets and snakes.

He said police released the men because it was clear they were merely middle men in a larger smuggling operation.

“They were the victims, and our local officials educated them about wildlife offences before their release,” he said.

He said police had forced the men to sign contracts promising not to commit similar offences and then released the animals into the forest.

The ongoing crackdown against animal smugglers hadfailed to stop the rise in the illegal trade because smugglers were hauling their cargo in luxury cars that police were afraid to pull over, local economic police chief Hong Nak said yesterday.

“It is difficult for us to search for wildlife trafficking in luxury cars,” he said.

The 2002 Forestry Law prohibits the trade in protected species and carries punishments of up to 10 years in prison and as much as 100 million riels (US$23,518) in fines.

Tim Sipha, director of the Legislation and Law Enforcement Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said the law had been applied 44 times so far in 2010.

Villagers fight to save pagoda


Photo by: Pha Lina
A boy strikes a gong at a Kandal province pagoda that local residents fear could be destroyed at the end of the month.

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:03 May Titthara

MORE than 300 villagers distributed fliers to passing motorists outside Kandal provincial court yesterday, condemning a local development company’s recent threats to tear down a nearby pagoda.

On August 15, representatives from the Heng Development Company, which is owned by businesswoman Sieng Chanheng, set an August 30 deadline for villagers and monks to tear down Tuol Tamork pagoda in Kandal Stung district’s Ampov Prey commune, said Kong San, a pagoda committee member.

“We will not agree to tear down the pagoda because the company has no right to that land,” he said, and challenged it to produce a land title to support its claims.

He said the monks asked the company to extend the deadline until the conclusion of Buddhist Lent in October.

Chea Hy, a village representative who helped to hand out the leaflets, said that the pagoda was constructed in 2000, and was officially recognised by local authorities as a legal religious structure in 2007.

“The company’s owner is trying to use her power to remove the pagoda,” Chea Hy said.

“How can someone do that if they are a good Khmer citizen who respects Buddhism?”

Buddhist sites are protected under Article 20 of the Kingdom’s 2001 Land Law, which states that the “land and structures existing within the premises of Buddhist monasteries are a patrimony allocated in perpetuity to the Buddhist religion”. Article 21 states that such properties “cannot be sold, exchanged or donated and [are] not subject to prescription”.

Since 2002, a total of 2,676 families from seven communes in Kandal Stung district have been involved in a dispute with Heng Development Company over 1,044 hectares of land, including the area where the pagoda is located.

Villagers say they have been farming the land since 1986, but officials say the company purchased it in 1996 for commercial rice cultivation.

Sieng Chanheng, the director of Heng Development Company, said yesterday that she had issued a letter earlier this month ordering villagers and monks to remove all “illegal” structures from her company’s land.

“The pagoda has to be torn down because they have constructed it illegally and no officials have recognised it,” she said. “I have all the documents to prove that the pagoda is illegal.”

Ouch Leng, a land programme officer for the local rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that the villagers had resorted to passing out leaflets because the local authorities had been unwilling to find a fair resolution to the dispute.

He said the company “had no specific documents or policy to develop the land”.

When contacted yesterday by phone, Kandal Stung district governor Choie Sobin, said that he was not familiar with the disagreement over the pagoda.

Meanwhile, villagers vowed yesterday to continue distributing the fliers until the August 30 deadline.

Drought prompting cross-border exodus


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:02 Tep Nimol

THE continuing drought has prompted hundreds of villagers from Banteay Meanchey province to cross the border illegally and pursue day work in Thailand, rights group Adhoc reported yesterday.

Sum Chan Kea, Adhoc’s provincial coordinator, said 400 families in Banteay Chhmar commune, in Thma Pouk district, were facing food shortages and would soon join the daily flood of villagers who illegally cross the border to work.

“There will be more people illegally crossing the border like this when the rainy season ends. To fill their stomachs, they are forced to take risks and cross the border illegally into Thailand,” he said.

Sum Chan Kea said the threat of a military confrontation between Thailand and Cambodia over the recent border dispute had also scared some villagers away from farming rice fields close to the frontier.

Horm Sam An, deputy governor of Thma Puok district, rebuffed Adhoc’s claims, saying that illegal migration was actually decreasing.

“The number of people who cross the border illegally into Thailand has decreased a lot, specifically from 10 [people per day] to around three only,” she said.

She said a previous influx of cassava and rice farmers from neighbouring provinces, which led to unemployment throughout the province, had already led authorities to conduct education campaigns about the dangers of illegally crossing the border to enter the Thai labour market.

At a conference in Phnom Penh earlier this year, rights groups voiced concerns that Cambodian migrants illegally entering Thailand risked being trafficked into slave labour or other forms of servitude.

Keo Vy, chief of cabinet for the National Committee for Disaster Management, said yesterday that if rainfall did not increase soon, farmers in Kandal, Prey Veng, Kampong Cham and Kampot provinces could face more problems.

“If the rain continues not to fall in those provinces until September, it could really be said that the drought is a serious situation which could have a bad effect on agricultural crops,” he said.

Pair receive 18 years for trafficking in drugs


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday sentenced two Cambodian men to 18 years in prison after finding them guilty of trafficking in illegal drugs, court officials said.

Vi Co, 54, from Stung Treng province, was arrested on November 20 last year at Wat Ounalom in Daun Penh district, where he had fled in an attempting to dispose of 286 grams of methamphetamine, which police seized as evidence.

Presiding Judge Kor Vandy said the prosecution had provided enough evidence “to support the charges and refute the accused’s denial that he only acted as a middleman”.

The judge handed down an identical sentence to Vi Co’s accomplice, 33-year-old Lim Chan Samuth (aka Thy), who was convicted in absentia after evading capture by the police. Judge Kor Vandy ordered the two men to pay a fine of 30 million riels (US$7,142) each because of the purity of the drugs, which he said posed a significant danger to society.

Vi Co’s defence lawyer, Kim Socheat, said after yesterday’s hearing that he was “not satisfied” with the sentence, and that it did not match the crime committed and ignored his client’s cooperation with the court. “He was guilty only as a middleman who needed to make profit to feed his poor family,” he said. Kim Socheat said he would file an appeal against the verdict.

Thaksin turn no salve for relations


Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Prasas Prasasvinitchai, Thailand’s ambassador to Cambodia, is greeted by a throng of reporters after arriving at Phnom Penh International Airport last night.

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:02 James O'Toole

THAKSIN Shinawatra’s tenure as economics adviser to the Cambodian government began with the fugitive former Thai premier swooping into Phnom Penh on his private jet last November to a warm reception from Kingdom officials that was broadcast live on local television. Its end came in decidedly less dramatic fashion, announced on Monday in a fax from the Cambodian government.

As the curtain fell on this round of political theatre, observers said the ensuing rapprochement between Cambodia and Thailand may prove a sideshow to their fundamental disagreement over their shared border.

The two countries are set to return their respective ambassadors after Thailand withdrew its envoy in protest against Thaksin’s appointment last year and Cambodia responded in kind. Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said yesterday that this development “augurs well for the relations between both countries”, though Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong insisted that the decision to cut ties with Thaksin was not a political one.

“He voluntarily resigned his post due to his business abroad,” Koy Kuong said. “This does not mean that the Cambodian government is trying to satisfy others.”

But Michael Montesano, a visiting fellow at Singapore’s Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, said Thaksin’s resignation “is something that the Bangkok and Phnom Penh governments will have been talking about and working on for some time”, and was unlikely to have been tendered voluntarily. The resumption of full diplomatic ties, he added, could allow the countries to discuss their long-simmering dispute over the border more directly.

“There is now scope for them to talk to each other rather than to shout at each other,” Montesano said.

Tension over the border erupted in 2008 after the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a UNESCO World Heritage site for Cambodia, as both sides laid claim to a 4.6-square-kilometre patch of land adjacent to the temple. The issue flared up again earlier this month after a meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in which Cambodia submitted management plans for the temple.

Abhisit said Monday that Thaksin’s resignation would “clear the way for the two countries to more easily resolve all problems”, but Thailand’s domestic political landscape may make it difficult for Bangkok to give much ground on the border issue.

“There’s still a long way to go,” said Chris Roberts, a lecturer in international relations and Asian studies at the University of Canberra. He warned that Abhisit risked a nationalistic backlash from hardline members of Thailand’s Yellow Shirt movement if he reached “a practical and reasonable agreement with Cambodia” over the border.

The Cambodian government has expressed frustration over the slow pace of border negotiations, which have been stalled since last year because of repeated delays by the Thai parliament in ratifying the latest agreements of the countries’ Joint Border Commission. Earlier this month, Cambodian officials wrote to the United Nations and ASEAN to urge intervention in the matter, despite Thailand’s insistence that the border disagreement be resolved in a bilateral forum.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said the move to cut ties with Thaksin, like the appeals to the UN and ASEAN, was part of an aggressive push by the Cambodian government to bring an end to the dispute.

“It gives Cambodia the upper hand when the Thaksin issue has been played out,” Ou Virak said. He called the provocative appointment of Thaksin a “mistake” and said the newly-severed ties would “separate the Preah Vihear conflict or tension from other kinds of issues”.

Montesano said Cambodia’s recent moves “had not pointed in the direction of a compromise” over the border, and the government has shown no sign that it will cease the steady flow of criticism it has directed at Bangkok over the past year - a statement released yesterday by the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers accused Abhisit of becoming “an accomplice and a sponsor of criminal-prone activity” by the Yellow Shirts.

“Once again, the [PQRU] urges Thai political figures to put an end to the malicious campaign of innuendo, suggestion and speculation to fault Cambodia by raising the issue of the Temple of Preah Vihear,” the statement read.

Yellow Shirt protest foiled by Thai troops


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:02 Vong Sokheng and Cheang Sokha

MORE than 100 members of the Thai People’s Alliance for Democracy – better known as the Yellow Shirts – have held abortive protests at disputed locations along the Thai-Cambodian border in Banteay Meanchey province in recent days, military officials said.

Chhuok Ang, commander of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Border Protection Battalion 911, said yesterday that Yellow Shirt protestors gathered inside Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province close to the Cambodian border on Monday.

About 100 protesters then attempted to sneak past Thai border patrols and cross into Poipet commune in O’Chrov district, he said, and another 50 made a similar move yesterday.

“They attempted to cross into Cambodia and to mark the border by themselves in the areas where it has not yet been resolved by the Joint Border Committee,” he said. “They wanted to create turmoil at the border.”

Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said that despite the Yellow Shirts’ best attempts to enter Cambodia, they were turned back by Thai border troops.

“The situation along the Thai-Cambodian border has remained calm because the Thai soldiers were able to bar them from crossing and cooperate well with Cambodian soldiers,” he said.

Thani Thongphakdi, deputy spokesman for the Thai Foreign Ministry, said yesterday that he was unaware of the protests.

Also yesterday, government officials dismissed Thai media reports that Prime Minister Hun Sen had ordered the release of three Thais arrested for crossing illegally into Cambodia last week.

On August 18, authorities in Oddar Meanchey province arrested Sanong Wongcharoen, 36, Lim Puangpet, 39, and Lan Sapsri, 53. The three have been charged with illegal entry and the illegal use of weapons and are being held at Siem Reap provincial prison.

The Nation newspaper yesterday quoted Raphee Pongbuppakit, the governor of Thailand’s Surin province, as saying that Hun Sen had already ordered the men’s release, but Siem Reap governor Sou Phirin rejected the reports. “The information was a lie and the prime minister will tell me if he orders [the men’s] release,” he said.

Heng Hak, director general of the Department of Prisons at the Ministry of Interior, also denied receiving any orders to release the three men.

“I have not received any order at all,” he said. “They are currently in detention, and we have put them in a cell with other prisoners.”

Monks upset at release of two suspects


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:02 Thet Sambath

CONSERVATIONIST monks in Oddar Meanchey province are threatening to file a complaint against forestry officials if they aren’t offered a satisfactory explanation as to why authorities released a group of alleged illegal loggers on the same day they were arrested.

Bun Saluth, the head of the Rukhavorn Monks Community Forest in Anlong Veng district, said the clergymen participated in the arrest of five people last Friday.

“They were cutting trees in a conservation forest. We confiscated two chainsaws and two small tractors,” he said yesterday.

But the monks are upset that the suspected illegal loggers were released later in the day.

“We sent all of them to forestry officials, but they were released with a fine,” Bun Saluth said. “We disagree, and we will protest the release with the relevant officials because we are all working hard to stop deforestation.”

Bo Vannak, the chief of the Anlong Veng Forestry Administration, acknowledged that authorities released two people accused of illegal logging along with their equipment. But he said they posed no flight risk.

“I will call them to see me when I need to question them,” he said, before suggesting the monks were being overzealous.

“They are monks, but they always demand people to be imprisoned and punished,” he said. “Monks should have mercy and forgiveness and educate people to do good things.”

District Governor Yim Phanna said there had been a long history of disputes between locals and the Rukhavorn community.

The monks, he said, have sought to expand their community to conserve wildlife and forest areas. But their ambition has also angered villagers who live in the area.

“It is very complicated, and it is hard to solve the problem because people have lived and farmed on the land for a long time, yet the [monk] community is trying to expand its control of the forest land,” Yim Phanna said.

Police drop brick attack case


Photo by: Julie Leafe
A pile of bricks stands near a construction site on Sisowath Quay, the site of a recent spate of attacks against expatriates.

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:02 Cameron Wells and Sun Mesa

CITY police officials say they have ceased investigation into the case of a Canadian man who was hit in the head by a brick thrown from an SUV last month, without making any arrests.

At least eight expats have been struck by brick-like projectiles within the span of a few months – each has reported being hit by a brick or stone thrown from a passing SUV or pickup truck.

Former Post reporter Patrick Falby is the only expat known to have reported the incident to police, after being hit in the jaw by a brick on July 13.

But Sok Chhorn, the police chief in Daun Penh district’s Chey Chumneah commune, said yesterday that police were no longer investigating Falby’s case.

“We have not found the suspect.... We are not in the process of investigation,” he said. “There is no case anymore.”

The United States Embassy is in the process of updating its website to warn prospective travellers about the attacks, a measure that may deter tourists from visiting Phnom Penh.

“There was no special meeting on the issue at the embassy, but the soon updated website link on country-specific information will include information on the brick throwing,” an embassy spokesman said yesterday.

Travel advisory websites are also warning travellers about the spate of brick attacks. Website Wikitravel.org has listed “unprovoked brick attacks” as one of the city’s main dangers.

On Thursday, Voice of America reported that two eyewitnesses saw the arrest of a man as he was attempting to throw a brick at a foreigner from a Toyota Vigo pickup truck outside Wat Ounalom at around 11pm on Wednesday. The witnesses said they believed the man was the son of a high-ranking government official.

But Daun Penh police chief Hun Sothy said yesterday that he “did not know” about any arrest. National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith also denied knowledge of the arrest.

Khmer Krom petition King


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:01 Meas Sokchea

A LEADING Khmer Krom advocacy group has appealed to King Norodom Sihamoni to raise issues related to the treatment of Vietnam’s ethnic Khmer community when the Vietnamese president visits Cambodia later this week.

In a statement yesterday, Thach Setha, executive director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community, said that Khmer Krom have repeatedly been arrested because Vietnamese authorities did not allow freedom of expression and religion for the Khmer minority, which resides in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region.

The statement requests that King Sihamoni discuss the “violation of human rights” when he meets with Vietnamese president Nguyen Minh Triet, who is scheduled to arrive in Phnom Penh tomorrow.

“Please, government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, release all Khmer people arrested because of land protests and expression,” the statement says. “Please allow Khmer people in Kampuchea Krom to study Khmer literature, respect its customs freely and avoid threats.”

In a separate statement released Monday, Thach Setha slammed Vietnamese authorities for arresting former monk chief Tach Sophoan, who is accused of “serving the actions of the Khmer Krom” in opposition to the Vietnamese government.

The statement says authorities have barred the monk’s family from visitingy since his arrest, and that no one knows where he is being held.

“The KKKC would like to call for Vietnamese authorities to free Tach Sophoan,” the statement says. “We would like to appeal to the Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia and both national and international organisations to legally intervene.”

But Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said people living abroad must respect the laws of the country they reside in.

“This means that people who live in Vietnam must respect Vietnamese law,” he said.

He did not comment on either statement, saying Cambodia “would not interfere” in Vietnam’s internal affairs.

Broker charged with fraud in case of girl at labour training firm


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:01 Khuon Leakhana and Chrann Chamroeun

A MAN accused of brokering a deal to enroll an underage girl in a migrant labour training programme using falsified identification documents has been charged with fraud and placed in pretrial detention, officials said yesterday.

Meas Chanpiseth, deputy prosecutor at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said 28-year-old Kao Setha was charged on Monday evening.

“We have charged the accused, Kao Setha, with fraud under Article 45 of the UNTAC criminal code,” he said. “He has been ordered to serve pretrial detention by an investigating judge pending further investigation of the charges.”

Kao Setha was arrested on Friday after officials at the VC Manpower recruitment firm filed a complaint accusing him of falsifying documents in order to submit a 16-year-old girl to a training programme that would prepare her to work as a domestic aid in Malaysia.

According to a 1994 subdecree on migrant labour, trainees must be at least 18 years old before being sent overseas for employment.

The girl’s mother, who was suspected of involvement in the scam, was also arrested on Friday and held for questioning, but Meas Chanpiseth said yesterday that she was released Monday evening.

“We didn’t charge the victim’s mother after we learned that she was not involved with the crime,” he said. “But we have instructed her not to take her underage daughter to any more recruitment training centres because it is against the law.”

Sen Ly, the director of VC Manpower, said the mother and the broker had presented the company with falsified documents identifying the girl as older than 18, but that staff at the training centre had later discovered her real age.

“We decided to lodge a complaint to municipal Anti-Human Trafficking Bureau about this case because it could strongly impact our company’s reputation,” he said.

He said that the mother and the broker had received 400,000 riels (about US$95) and 100 kilograms of rice in exchange for enrolling the girl in the training programme, a loan that the girl was expected to repay after the company found her a job.

Under Article 45 of the UNTAC criminal code, a fraud conviction can result in a prison sentence of between one and five years. A trial date has not been set.

Police Blotter: 25 Aug 2010


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:00 Kim Samath

FAKE SOLDIER ACCUSED OF BEATING, ROBBING WIFE
A 34-year-old man in Kandal province was arrested on Monday after he was accused of beating his wife and then disguising himself as an army officer to look more intimidating, police said. The man’s wife said she had confronted her husband about a secretive affair she believed he was having with another woman. In turn, the man accused her of having a baby with a mysterious lover. He then allegedly beat her and stole US$50. The suspect, a construction worker, allegedly confessed to the accusation. He also informed police that he wore an army uniform to frighten others, even though he was no longer in the army.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

TWO MUGGING SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN PHNOM PENH
Two of six suspected robbers accused of mugging travellers during the lonely hours around midnight were arrested on Saturday following their latest alleged thievery. Police said that the suspects had struck at least 18 times in sometimes violent robberies that included murder and rape against beautiful young women. The two suspects allegedly admitted that their group had shot one man to death in the capital and raped “many women” after successful robberies. On Saturday, the suspects allegedly robbed two victims before they were arrested. Police said they had identified the remaining four suspects and pledged to punish them to the fullest extent of the law.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

WORKER KILLS HIMSELF AT BATTAMBANG GUESTHOUSE
A 40-year-old man in Battambang province hung himself using a mosquito net in a guesthouse on Sunday, police said. Investigators believe that the man had scribbled his wife’s phone number on a piece of paper before he took his own life. The man’s wife reported that he had left their home in Stung Treng province to look for work in Battambang. The guesthouse owner said someone had complained there had been a loud noise. When he knocked on the door, there was no answer. So he opened the door and was shocked to discover the man’s lifeless body.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

DEBTOR REPORTLY OFFERS PAYBACK WITH CLEAVER
A 31-year-old Kandal man was arrested last week after he was accused of attacking a man to whom he owed money. The apparent victim claimed that the suspect owned him 20,000 riels, or about $5. But when he asked him to pay his debt, the man started arguing with him. The victim said that when he went home later in the day, the suspect showed up in an obviously drunk state, carrying a cleaver. The suspect allegedly swung the weapon and chopped at his ear. Police said that the suspect raped a girl in his village roughly one year ago.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Human trafficking: NGO tries to speed return of women


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:01 Kim Yuthana

Human trafficking

A GROUP of civil society representatives was scheduled to depart for Thailand yesterday in an attempt to expedite the repatriation of six Cambodian women who were allegedly trafficked to Thailand and forced to work as prostitutes.

The six victims, including one minor, were rescued in an August 5 raid on a karaoke parlour in Thailand’s Trat province and placed in a Thai shelter to await the trial of two people suspected of operating the establishment.

Ly Sotheary, executive director of the Koh Kong-based NGO Healthcare Centre for Children, said on Monday that the two suspects were arrested and remanded in custody after the raid, but have not yet been charged. She said that she and two co-workers would spend three days in Thailand.

“We will have discussions with partner organisations to urge police to finish the investigation on the suspects soon so that the court can hold the trial swiftly and the victims can return to Cambodia,” she said.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said consular officials were also investigating the case.

Competition law deferred


ASEAN ministers, including Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, join hands at a meeting in Vietnam. AFP

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:01 Nguon Sovan

Da Nang, Vietnam
CAMBODIA will wait to introduce new competition laws that could result in legal action being launched against domestic companies, Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said yesterday.

The Kingdom will wait until next year to consider whether to implement legislation, despite having “almost finalised” a draft version, he said.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations issued regional guidelines on competition policy yesterday, illustrating international best practice.

Vietnam’s Industry and Trade Minister Vu Huy Hong said yesterday: “It is necessary to create a fair and transparent competitive environment in order to support enterprises as well as attract foreign investment.”

Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN’s secretary general, said in a press release that the guidelines would lay the foundation for a competitive ASEAN community.

But Cambodia’s senior officials said that the Kingdom would not rush into anything. “We are trying to educate our local companies. But when we are still weak, we will lose under this law,” said Cham Prasidh at the 42nd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.

“Foreign companies would put pressures and sue our local companies as they have not complied well on this issue,” he said. Cambodia Chamber of Commerce director general Nguon Meng Tech agreed that Cambodia could lose out.

ASEAN member states have until 2015 to comply.

Intertek expands to target extractive, farming sectors


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:01 Jeremy Mullins

LONDON-based Intertek Testing Services has expanded its Cambodian business to better target the Kingdom’s growing oil, mining and agriculture sectors.

The company provides independent verification of the quality of goods – including mineral samples – and reviews facility safety standards, for reasons that could include satisfying members of a joint venture of a project’s quality level.

Company officials said yesterday that its new Phnom Penh office in the Hong Kong Centre on Sothearos Boulevard would help to take advantage of business opportunities in the three sectors.

“At this point we are only opening an office to support requests,” said Intertek Marketing Communications Manager Adrian Ho yesterday.

But further expansion is being considered.

The lack of a laboratory to assay mineral samples has been highlighted by mining insiders as one hurdle for the Kingdom’s nascent industry.

Adrian Ho said opening a laboratory in Cambodia was one of the firm’s “future plans”.

Australian miner Southern Gold – which last week announced a high grade gold discovery in Kratie province – has in the past exported its mineral samples abroad for testing, according to Cambodia General Manager Grant Thomas.

The firm presently uses Intertek to analyse many of its samples abroad, contributing to higher costs for shipping.

“It would be a benefit to have a laboratory [in Cambodia],” he said.

He said a number of companies, including ALS in Laos and Swiss firm SGS SA’s Vietnam offices, were in competition with Intertek for analysing mineral samples in the region.

Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem in May raised the need to establish a laboratory in Cambodia as “an essential point” for the development of Cambodia’s mining sector.

He said at the United Nations Development Programme’s mining conference that the lack of a laboratory in Cambodia resulted in all mineral samples being sent abroad for analysis.

“[This] costs time and money in addition to complicating procedures in administrative arrangements for having samples analysed abroad,” he said in May.

Intertek was established in Cambodia in 2003, but its new office represents a push towards extractive industries and agriculture, its Cambodia Oil, Chemical, Agri and Mineral Manager Loeung Rotha said yesterday.

“Our business is already profitable here,” he said.

Naga bets on mass market


NagaWorld casino in Phnom Penh. The company is refocusing on the mass market. Sovan Philong

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:01 Catherine James

PHNOM Penh’s only casino, NagaWorld, has refocused strategy away from targeting high rollers towards concentrating on mass market gamblers, officials from parent company NagaCorp said yesterday.

NagaCorp – which has exclusive rights to operate a casino within a 200 kilometre radius of Phnom Penh – is starting to target mass markets in the hope of drawing steady yields.

“Our remodeling strategy is focused on the fact that we want to build predictable results … sustainable results, rather than just explosive growth,” Kevin Nyland, Naga-Corp’s vice president of investor relations, said yesterday.

His statement followed first- half results released last week that showed NagaCorp’s net profit for the first six months totalled US$21.1 million, up 83 percent from $11.5 million for the first half of 2009.

But although analysts noted the strong profits for NagaCorp, the data provoked mixed reviews.

Hong Kong-based Sun Hung Kai Financial said Naga-Corp lacked major development plans and labelled its future growth profile “unexciting”.

“We believe the [company] lacks upside catalysts given its cautious focus on local patrons,” it said in a report released on Monday.

However, Las Vegas-based Union Gaming said NagaCorp had beaten expectations during the first half of the year, and that increases in local patronage augured well for the casino’s prospects.

Noting that only foreign passport holders were allowed to engage in gambling in Cambodia, it said Ministry of Commerce statistics pointed to an increase in expatriates living in the capital, a factor that “ultimately accrues to NagaWorld”.

Revenues from the mass gaming market segment, comprising the public floor and gaming machines, were responsible for 70.2 percent of the $67.1 million in total revenue – a sharp contrast to its 46.4 percent revenue contribution last year.

Kevin Nyland said the casino continued to operate its “VIP player” business, but was taking a more conservative approach to junkets.

“We have less of an emphasis on traditional junket business and more focus on the direct mid-range VIP players,” he said.

Junket revenue fell to 29.8 percent of total revenue from 53.6 percent for the first half of last year, bringing in $20.2 million this year from $34.1 million in 2009.

Export barriers must go down, experts say


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:00 May Kunmakara

CAMBODIA’S exporters still face barriers that reduce shipments of its goods abroad – particularly its poor infrastructure and high costs of transportation, experts say.

Domestic imports have increased faster than exports, widening the Kingdom’s trade deficit to nearly US$800 million over the first seven months of the year, according to Ministry of Commerce statistics obtained earlier this week.

Bretton Sciaroni, partner at Cambodian law firm Sciaroni and Associates, said he was not surprised that statistics showed exports were increasing, but highlighted several barriers to further growth in exports.

“One significant reason that we do not export more is the high costs associated with transportation in Cambodia,” he said Monday. “It is not inexpensive to ship goods out of Cambodia.”

The International Monetary Fund’s managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, last month highlighted Cambodia’s exporting industries as an area that required improvement by the government.

Speaking to reporters at a conference in South Korea, he said the Cambodia was “still in a difficult situation”, as its economy relied on development aid.

“What Cambodia has to do is strengthen its infrastructure – this is of the highest importance,” he said.

Cambodia imported $2.613 billion in the first seven months this year, while exports totalled $1.826 billion during the period, resulting in a $787 million trade deficit from January to July. The domestic trade deficit stood at $595 million during the same period last year, Ministry of Commerce statistics showed.

However, both exports and imports have grown year on year, according to the statistics. The trade deficit has grown as imports outpaced exports by 20 percent and 16 percent respectively during the first seven months compared to the same period last year.

Ministry of Commerce Statistics Department Director Kong Putheara said that addressing deficient infrastructure and high transportation costs would make it easier to export products from Cambodia, but that relying on government action alone would not solve the problem.

“I recognise these issues, but the Ministry of Commerce alone cannot solve them. We need cooperation from concerned institutions and local exporters too,” he said.

High electricity prices and a lack of rail connections constituted export barriers, but the Kingdom was addressing these issues through discussions with its ASEAN neighbours, he said.

Cambodia is not alone among ASEAN nations in its widening deficit.

One of the biggest deficit increases in the region has been in Vietnam, whose deficit almost doubled for the seven months to July 31 compared to the same period in 2009.

Its currency has subsequently hit hit record lows as it sought to boost exports by devaluing the dong.

KOGID rice mill construction starts


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:00 Chun Sophal

THE South Korean company KOGID has started construction on a US$2.6 million rice-processing mill in Battambang province, company officials said yesterday.

The mill, in Ratanak Mondul district, will process rice to supply to local markets and for export.

Oung Savuth, manager of KOGID Cambodia Co Ltd, said that once complete, the mill would be able to process 400 tonnes of rice per day.

“We hope that the investment will play an important role in producing quality rice which is applicable to market demand both at present and in the future,” Oung Savuth said.

According to the company, the construction of the rice mill on approximately 3 hectares of land will be finished by January 2011.

Cheu Chheang, director of Battambang province’s Department of Industry, Mines and Energy, said the province already had more than 100 rice mills, but that they were not able to process rice to standardised quality yet.

“We welcome all investment projects which lead to the construction of standardised rice mills because the paddy storage in Battambang province has not had a modern rice mill yet,” he said.

Oung Savuth said that the rice mill was imported directly from South Korea and was very modern compared to those already operating in the province.

KOGID invested about $3 million in late 2009 to build a corn-drying plant capable of drying 400 tonnes of corn a day, in the same district.

The government released a new rice policy last Wednesday that guaranteed 50 percent of commercial bank lending to rice producers in a bid to increase Cambodia’s exports of the grain to 1 million tonnes by 2015.

Athletes set for Asian Games


A sports complex in Guanzhou, which will host the 16th Asian Games. Photo Supplied

NOCC contingent

ATHLETICS: Sar Churpveasna and Hem Bunthing. Coach: Phay Sok.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Samath Vannasak, Mon Rom, Taing Mengheak, Nget Sothearith. Coaches: Ky Mengham and Chum Ratha.

BOXING: Phal Sophat, Svay Ratha. Coach: Ven Sophal.

CHESS: Lay Chhay, Heng Chamnan. Coach: Gao Feng.

SWIMMING: Hemthon Vitiny, Hemthon Ponloeu. Coach: Hem Lumphat.

TAEKWONDO: Chhoeung Puthearim, Sorn Davin, Chhoy Bouthorn, You Kanika ( Moon Kyusun: Personal coach). Coach: Choi Yongsok

TENNIS: Bun Kenny, Orn Sambath. Coach: Braen Aneiros.

WRESTLING: Kang Danpiseth, Chov Sotheara, Chum Chivinn, Try Sothavy. Coaches: Thin Vichet and Paek Su Nam.

The other members of the Cambodian delegation are: NOCC Executive Members: Thong Khon (President), Nouth Saan (Third delegate), Vath Chamroeun (Secretary General), Khek M Caimealy (Ambassador), Top Panha (Accompanying guest of the President), Sok Ang (Chef de mission), Lun Samedy (Deputy CDM), Hout Chantheany (Doctor), Lor Meng (NOC HQ), Gabriel Ken Gadaffi (Press Attache), Rat Sokhorn (Table Tennis delegate), Tep Rithivit (Tennis delegate), Chris Fosinetti (Tennis delegate).

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

THE National Olympic Committee of Cambodia will be represented by a 46 member-strong contingent of athletes, officials and delegates at the 16th Asian Games to be held from November 12 to 27 in Guanzhou, the second city in China to host the event after Beijing in 1990.

The biggest games ever, involving 476 events in 42 disciplines, has attracted 45 members of the Olympic Council of Asia, with participating athletes touching a record number of 8,000 accompanied by 4,500 officials.

Twenty20 Cricket is among the debutant sports along with Dancesport, Dragon Boat, Weiqi and Roller Sport.

Releasing the Kingdom’s list of participants including eight women, the NOCC General Secretary Vath Chamroeun said it was by far the biggest squad ever sent. “We have more athletes and more disciplines, and the recent success of a Judo bronze medal by Sam Sothea at the Youth Olympic Games has given us new impetus and changed perceptions about how Cambodian athletes are looked at.”

Cambodia will be taking part in eight disciplines – Athletics, Boxing, Swimming, Taekwondo, Beach Volleyball, Chinese Chess, Tennis and Wrestling.

Korean coach takes the reins of Kingdom's national team


Photo by: SRENG MENG SRUN
Lee Tae-Hoon, in place as Cambodia’s national football team’s manager.

The list of probables:

GOALKEEPERS: Samreth Seiha, Sou Yati (National Defence Ministry), Peng Bunchhay (Phnom Penh Crown), Ouk Mikh (Preah Khan Reach).

DEFENDERS: Rang Borin , Pheak Rady, Khek Khemarin (MND), Nhim Sovanara, Ring Bunheang (Build Bright United), Touch Sok Heng, Sos Nasieat (Kirivong Sok Sen Chey), Tieng Tiny, Chan Dara, Sun Sophana (Phnom Penh Crown), Lay Rasmey, San Narith, Sok Rithy (Preah Khan Reach )

MIDFIELDERS: Ieng Piseth, Soung Vireak, Phoung Sok Sana (MND), Prum Puth Sethy, Chhun Sothearath (BBU), In Vichheka (KSSC), Kim Chanbunrith (Naga Corp), Sok Chanrasmey, Khuon Laboravy, Tum Saray (PKR)

FORWARDS: Khim Borey, Sin Dalin (MND), Nuth Sinoun (BBU), Samuth Dalin, Kouch Sokumpheak (Khemara Keila), Teab Vathanak, Kop Isa (Naga Corp), Keo Sokgnon, Sok Pheng (PPC), Long Nasy (Ministry of Interior)

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

THE Football Federation of Cambodia unveiled newly appointed national head coach Lee Tae-hoon (Sejin Yeo) of South Korea on Tuesday, entrusting him with 37 probable players to kick-start the Kingdom’s regional campaign in October’s Suzuki Cup in Laos.

At an interaction session with the national team hopefuls, the 38-year-old Lee Tae-hoon, who was twice in charge of the Korean women’s A teams, besides being a sturdy midfielder for a local club in his playing days, his first impression was that Cambodian football needed “some crucial adjustments in technique for its ability to show”.

The Korean tactician, who arrived here late Friday night and sat through the season-ending finale between Phnom Penh Crown and Preah Khan Reach the next day, called upon the new outfit to prioritise health and fitness. “The healthier you are, the more refreshing mind you have for good football,” Lee Tae-Hoon said through an interpreter.

“The Language is no barrier because the language of football is universal. I may not know a word of Khmer, but that should not come in the way at all. I can see that some of the players are capable, but their approach and technique needs to be sharpened up.”

“Initially, we picked 35 players but after watching the final, the head coach suggested that we add Tum Saray of Preah Khan Reach to the list. So we have 36, and these players will start training from tomorrow until August 29, when the number will be pruned down to 25,” said Ouk Sethycheat, general secretary of the FFC.

The coach will be taking the Cambodian national team of 25 and five officials on a 45-day training trip to Vietnam, where local side Haong Anh Gia Lai will host friendly match-ups. The team will then return to Phnom Penh before flying to Laos for the Suzuki Cup.

ស្ថានភាព​នៅ​ច្រក​ព្រំដែន​ចាំយាម Situation At Koh Kong Border Crossing

ទឹក​លិច​ផ្ទះ​ពលរដ្ឋ​នៅ​បឹង​កក់ (RFAKhmerVideo) People Reside in Boeng Kak Lake Are Concern About Flooding

Return of Thaksin billions will 'not affect Puea Thai'


via Khmer NZ

Published: 25/08/2010

Ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has recovered the 30 billion baht not seized by the Supreme Court in the assets seizure case, his legal adviser Noppadon Pattama says.

But Mr Noppadon said yesterday the return of the money would not bring about a significant change in the opposition Puea Thai Party.

The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ordered the seizure of 46 billion baht in assets from Thaksin's family in a ruling handed down in February. The amount confiscated was judged to have been accrued irregularly through the sale of the family's Shin Corp.

Thaksin and five of his family unsuccessfully appealed against the ruling of the court on Feb 26 to confiscate the money.

The state earlier had seized 76billion baht from the family and it now has returned the 30 billion baht not confiscated.

Mr Noppadon said Puea Thai had proved that it could manage to remain in the political arena without the 30 billion baht to support it.

He said Thaksin would spend part of the recovered assets on investments.

The party has mainly relied on financial support from former Thai Rak Thai Party exectutive Pongsak Raktapongpaisal and Thaksin's younger sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, a party source said.

The source said Thaksin's resignation from his post as an economic adviser to Cambodia was part of the party's reconciliation plan arrived at after talks between figures representing the Thaksin camp and the government.

The talks concluded the two sides would live together and Thaksin's resignation was aimed at showing his determination to reconcile, the source said.

Puea Thai MP for Si Sa Ket, Thanes Kruearat, said Thaksin's relations with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen remained as close as ever despite Thaksin's resignation.

The party source said conflicts between Thailand and Cambodia had gone beyond the point where the two sides could reach a solution together because Cambodia desperately wanted international organisations to step in and end the conflict. Thailand "had no choice but to deal with that", the source said.

Health professionals lend a hand

via Khmer NZ

25th August 2010

Mackay nurse Greg Coulson early next year is going to Cambodia, where he will head up a team of professional health workers doing workshops and working with local health worker. Contributed

A MACKAY Base Hospital nurse who plans to escort a group of health professionals to Cambodia is calling on North Queensland practitioners to follow his lead.

Mackay’s neonatal nurse practitioner Greg Coulson is urging them to volunteer for a good cause.

Mr Coulson was approached by CQUniversity to escort a group of like-minded health professionals to Cambodia to participate in a two-week community health placement.

While in Cambodia, the health professionals will be conducting workshops for healthcare workers in villages in and around Siem Reap.

“Over there we will work in local health clinics and show them different techniques and treatments that the locals can use,” Mr Coulson said. “They are keen for some professional support and tuition to help them deal with the variety of cases that come through the clinics.”

Organisers are looking ideally for nurses and midwives, but will consider physiotherapists, medical officers and other interested health professionals.

The Cambodia Community Health Placement through Antipodeans Abroad and CQUniversity Australia runs from

February 4 to 21, 2011. Mr Coulson said working in Cambodia would remind him how lucky health professionals were to work in Queensland.

“It will definitely make me appreciate what we have here in Queensland Health. I appreciate that now without having to go over there,” he said.

The work in Cambodia is voluntary and health practitioners who take up the challenge can stay in local homes near the clinics.

CQUniversity lecturer Anne Eaton said successful trips had previously been run for students to resource challenged countries and now the invitation was out to health professionals to gain the same experience.

“The university saw this as a unique opportunity to provide a life-changing experience for staff in the Mackay Health Service District and strengthen bonds between the health service and tertiary education,” she said.

For information about the program, contact Leona Hancock on 4940 7532 or email l.hancock@cqu.edu.au

Angkor, the forgotten city

via Khmer NZ

Source: Global Times
August 24 2010

By Tony Chen



The city of Angkor in Cambodia flourished from the ninth-13th century. For many, it appears both mysterious and sacred. It is indeed a mesmerizing and fascinating area to explore.

Ancient history

The word Angkor was derived from the Sanskrit "nagara," which literally means "city." The Angkorian period began in 802, when the Khmer Hindu monarch Jayavarman II declared himself a universal monarch and god-king. In 1431, Ayutthayan invaders ransacked the Khmer capital, causing its population to flee south to Phnom Penh.

The ruins of Angkor, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are located amid forests and farmland to the north of the Great Lake (Tonle Sap) and south of the Kulen Hills, near modern-day Siem Reap. The temples range in scale from nondescript piles of brick rubble scattered through rice fields to the magnificent Angkor Wat, said to be the world's largest single religious monument. In the past 35 years, about 197 of the 1,000 odd temples have been restored and are now open to the public; together they comprise the significance of Khmer architecture.

The main attraction of the Angkorian region, Angkor Wat, was built between 1113 and 1150 by King Suryavarman II. Suryavarman ascended to the throne after prevailing in a battle with a rival prince. After consolidating his political position through military campaigns, diplomacy and a firm domestic administration, Suryavarman launched into the construction of Angkor Wat as his personal temple and mausoleum.

Breaking with the tradition of the Khmer kings and influenced perhaps by the concurrent rise of Vaisnavism in India, he dedicated the temple to Vishnu rather than to Siva. With walls nearly 800 meters long on each side, Angkor Wat grandly portrays Hindu cosmology, with the central towers representing Mount Meru, home of the gods; the outer walls, the mountains enclosing the world; and the moat, the oceans beyond. Suryavarman had the walls of the temple decorated with bas-reliefs, carving virtually every inch of stone, depicting not only scenes from mythology, but also from the life of his own imperial court.

The year 1296 marked the arrival of Chinese diplomat, Zhou Daguan, who is also the author of The Customs of Cambodia, perhaps the last surviving account (approximately 40 pages) that includes detailed observations of Khmer society.

Some of the topics he addresses are those of religion, justice, agriculture, clothing and commerce. Together with inscriptions found on Angkorian steles, temples and other monuments and with the bas-reliefs at Bayon and Angkor Wat, Zhou's journal is an important source of information that interlinks these recordings of everyday life in ancient Angkor.

The end of the Angkorian period is generally set as 1431, although the civilization had already been in decline in the 13th and 14th centuries. During the 15th century, nearly all of Angkor was abandoned, except for Angkor Wat, which remained a Buddhist shrine. Several theories have been suggested to account for the decline and abandonment of Angkor but the closest experts can get to evidence is guesswork.

Children playing at Ankor Wat. Photos: Tony Chen

Getting there and around

Traveling to Angkor is quite convenient. The closest city is Siem Reap and a tuk-tuk to Angkor, 2 kilometers away, takes about 10-15 minutes.

With its own airport, getting to Siem Reap is simple. You can fly direct from overseas or from the capital, Phnom Penh. Another option and the one that I chose, was to jump on a bus from Phnom Penh for about $7. Most buses arrive in Siem Reap in the early afternoon, allowing you to wander around the Angkor complex before dark and catch the breathtaking sunset at Bakheng Hill.

The US dollar is the preferred form of payment in Cambodia. There is a national currency, the riel, but in Phnom Penh and Angkor almost all goods and services are calculated and paid for in US currency. Currencies other than US dollars can be exchanged at local banks that are usually open Monday-Friday, 7.30am-2.30pm.

There are three different tickets for Angkor: $20/1 day, $40/3 days and $60/7 days. It is usually recommended that first time visitors go for the 3-day ticket. There is no charge after 4:30pm. A tuk-tuk that carries up to four people can cost any where from $20-$50 for three days, depending on your bargaining skills and what tourist attractions are included in your route.

Life in Cambodia is plain and simple. Material living standards are basic and food is relatively cheap. A meal on the street ranges from $1-$2 and a few dollars more in restaurants. The lifestyle of most locals is easygoing and it seems that they are content, satisfied and relaxed. Most of the local children love sweets and if you have some spare, you will instantly find yourself some new friends.

Accommodation in Siem Reap ranges from budget guesthouses at $10 a night to luxury five-star hotels and private villas. While booking in advance is not necessary, it may save you the hassle of bargaining through hoards of vendors when you first arrive in the city.

Hun Sen orders Thais be freed


via Khmer NZ

Published: 25/08/2010

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the release of three Thais being detained in Siem Reap after they were arrested for entering Cambodia illegally.

The villagers are expected to return to Thailand within days. They are just awaiting some paperwork to clear before they are released without charges, Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to the foreign minister, said yesterday.

The decision came after Surin governor Raphee Phongbuphakit contacted his counterpart in Siem Reap to seek the release of the villagers: Sanong Wongcharoen, Lim Puangpet and Lan Sapsri.

The Cambodian official received the green light from Hun Sen to free the three, who were arrested last week in O'Samach in Oddar Meanchey province, opposite Surin, for entering Cambodia illegally.

Mr Raphee said the villagers were being kept in satisfactory conditions and Thai officials were providing them with food, clothing and medicine.

The families of the three, including Mr Sanong's mother, Lam Wongcharoen, and Ms Srichan, wife of Mr Lan, thanked Mr Raphee, who visited them at Ban Tamom in Surin's Sangkha district, for helping to secure the men's release.

Mr Chavanond said the Cambodian decision was a positive gesture after the two countries normalised relations following the resignation on Monday of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from his post as an economic adviser to the Cambodian prime minister.

Prasas Prasasvinitchai, the Thai ambassador to Cambodia, left for Phnom Penh yesterday. He had been recalled by the Foreign Ministry to protest the Cambodian prime minister's decision to appoint Thaksin to the adviser's post.

Cambodia retaliated by recalling its ambassador, You Aye, but she will return to Bangkok today, Mr Chavanond said.

Thawil Pliensri, secretary-general of the National Security Council, said border tensions should be alleviated after the return of the ambassadors.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the warming of relations between the two countries would help facilitate negotiations on the Preah Vihear temple issue and border demarcation.

"We are neighbours. The best way is to turn to each other and find a way to build up the atmosphere that fosters negotiations and lessens problems or conflicts," Mr Suthep said.

Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said he expected "normalcy" to return to relations between the neighbours.

"Once diplomatic ties are restored, that should ease our relations, but we cannot say at the moment whether the present confrontation will be over," Koy Kuong said.

VOA: Hip Hop Hurray

Vietnam President Expected for Official Visit

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh
Tuesday, 24 August 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: AP
Vietnam's President Nguyen Minh Triet.

“The purpose of this visit is to promote the relationship between the two countries and promote trade and investment of the two countries.”

Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet is scheduled to make a three-day trip to Cambodia beginning Thursday to promote increasing trade between the two countries, officials said Tuesday.

“The progress of investment, trade and tourism is greatly increasing,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said. “This state visit also promotes the other sectors. When we speak of the bilateral friendship and cooperation between the two countries, we have to focus on all fields.”

Nguyen is expected to meet with King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace and hold talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen, National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Senate President Chea Sim.

“The purpose of this visit is to promote the relationship between the two countries and promote trade and investment of the two countries,” Ngo Thi Hoa, deputy chief of mission for the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh, told VOA Khmer. “We want the government open for the Vietnamese investors to do business in Cambodia.”

Trade between the two countries has increased steadily over the past 10 years, from $146 million in 2001 to more than $1 billion in 2009. Trade for the first half of 2010 alone was $862 million, with Vietnamese exports accounting for about $728 million. Those export figures were a 34 percent rise from the same period last year, according to government figures.

Vietnamese investment here was $150 million for the first seven months of the year, in sectors ranging from telecommunications, banking and finance, air transport, agriculture, light industry, rubber, mining, energy and healthcare, according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia.

Nguyen will also attend the opening of a representative office for the Voice of Vietnam radio.

Thaksin Resignation Leads to Renewed Diplomatic Ties

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh
Tuesday, 24 August 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: AP
Former Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was appointed as personal advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen, in November 2009.

Cambodian Ambassador You Ay will arrive in Bangkok in “a sign of...normalization of the diplomatic relationship.”

Thailand's ambassador to Cambodia was expected to arrive in Phnom Penh Tuesday night, marking renewed diplomatic relations between two countries that have been at odds with each other for months.

The return of Ambassador Prasart Prasartwinitchay will be followed by his counterpart's arrival in Bangkok Wednesday, in steps made possible by the resignation of exiled Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra as an adviser to Cambodia.

Thaksin's resignation, announced late Monday, removed a major sticking point for Bangkok, and Thai government spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said Tuesday the arrival of their ambassador meant “good mutual cooperation and relationship between both sides.”

Cambodian Ambassador You Ay will arrive in Bangkok in “a sign of...normalization of the diplomatic relationship,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Tuesday.

Both sides withdrew their ambassadors in late 2009, following the appointment of Thaksin as an economic adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The diplomatic crisis came amid a prolonged military standoff over a disputed border area near Preah Vihear temple.