Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Schoolies holiday in Cambodia

http://www.chinalawblog.com/

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Posted by Dan on
November 15, 2010

Calico for Cambodia: Frankston schoolies will give Cambodian children calico so they can make art works to sell to tourists.

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BY ALECIA PINNER

16 Nov, 2010
FRANKSTON

FRANKSTON year 12 graduates are in for a schoolies trip with a difference when they travel to Cambodia on Sunday.
The trip was organised by the Rotary Club of Frankston Long Island, which wanted to offer year 12 leavers a more lasting schoolies experience.

Past president Judy Rebecca came up with the idea in November last year after reading an article in The Age about a similar program in East Timor.

"I think kids are looking for something a bit more uplifting to do for schoolies and the parents are so grateful," she said.

"We are taking students from local schools who are choosing to do something a bit different to the usual schoolies trip to the Gold Coast or Lorne".

Two boys and nine girls from Frankston High School, Mount Erin College and Woodleigh School in Baxter applied and were accepted to go on the trip.

"All of them said they just wanted to make a difference," Ms Rebecca said.

Mornington student Leah Strickland is one of the schoolies taking part in the trip.

"I decided to go because it sounded like fun and I didn't want to go to Surfers and party when I could see new things, different people and get a real reality check," she said.

The club is affiliated with the Green Gecko Project, which educates and feeds Cambodian street children and orphans.

The project was created by Australian-born Tania Palmer who felt a calling to Cambodian children after reading an article about orphanages in 2004. During the trip, the students will work on the Green Gecko program for two weeks, helping primary and secondary aged children.

■ The Rotary Club of Frankston Long Island is hoping to establish the alternative schoolies program as an annual event. Year 11 students interested in next year's trip can call Judy Rebecca on 59751419 or 0415109859, after December 7.

5th CLMV Summit Touches on Dealing Poverty and ASEAN Integration

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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 09:26 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, Nov 16, 2010-The 5th CLMV summit including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam on Tuesday hosted in Phnom Penh and it touched on the dealing poverty reduction and ASEAN integration between the told ASEAN and young ASEAN to be narrow in the block.

Samdech PM Hun Sen said in his opening remark that we have to strengthen further cooperation to be narrow between the rice ASEABN countries and poor ASEAN, to minimize the gap between the members in a way to move forward to build the ASEAN community in 2015.

" We have to deal poverty reduction through further cooperation and turn region to attract the more investment” He said, adding that we have to process our action plan and strategy to speed up the integration.

At the same time, ASEAN secretary general Dr.Surin said: our goal is to provide the mutual benefit and reach the goals of building prosperity and security and stability in each country in Asean and the region as whole.

The dialogue partners are confidence with us and they recognized our work and we also have more partners to strengthen the cooperation. We have 1.5 trillion of trade in region and 7.7 trillion trade with the world.

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press


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Cambodian, Lao PMs Agree to Accelerate Planting of Border Posts


In their bilateral talk here this morning on the sidelines of the 6th CLV Summit, both premiers hailed the outcome of the work on border post planting which is now completed by 88 percent, Ieng Sophalet, assistant to the Cambodian premier, told reporters after the talk.

Hence, the premiers asked the border commissions of the two countries to continue their good cooperation and to complete their works as soon as possible, the assistant said.

“The two top-level leaders highly applauded the two Ministries of Public Works for managing to sign an agreement on air transport service,” said Mr. Ieng Sophalet, who went on to say that the Lao premier appreciated Cambodia’s socio-economic development despite the global financial crisis.

For his part, Samdech Techo Hun Sen highly valued the relationship between Cambodia and Laos, stressing that there are more potentials for both countries to work together to deepen their cooperation.

The Cambodian prime minister also encouraged trade exchange at provincial level of the two countries through organizing trade fairs and creating markets at the border areas in order to enhance trade cooperation on the one hand and prevent cross-border crimes, epidemic diseases, wild life trading, … on the other.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen thanked the Lao side for having provided medical treatment to Cambodian people living at the border areas with Laos. --AKP

(By OK Kimseng)

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Cambodian Premier Presides Over the Opening of the 6th CLV Summit

Phnom Penh, November 16, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen presided over today the opening of the 6th Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) summit on Development Triangle Area with the aim of further strengthening the cooperation among the three CLV countries.

Prime Minister of Laos H.E. Bouasone Bouphavanh and Prime Minister of Vietnam H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung participated in the summit.

In his opening remarks, the Cambodian premier said this 6th summit did not only promote the progress of the cooperation amongst Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, but also made a contribution to enhancing the development and the prosperity in the whole region.

“The summit will review the progress made since the last summit and adopt a newly revised Master Plan 2010-2020 in order to speed up our cooperation activities in our CLV Development Triangle Area,” he said.

He also expressed his satisfaction with the signing of the Amended Memorandum of Understanding towards the Formation of Special Preferential Policies for the CLV Development Triangle Area.

The Cambodian premier also asked the leaders of Laos and Vietnam to make a great effort as possibly as they could to accelerate the implementation of bilateral and multilateral agreements of Development Triangle Area, mainly the cross-border transportation, the road map of ASEAN economy, bilateral trade, and agricultural cooperation.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen further proposed to select necessary priority projects from the cooperation fields such as infrastructure, trade and investment, social and cultural development, agro-industry, tourism and environment. He also proposed the Lao and Vietnamese leaders to create a CLV fund in order to raise fund to support the development of the Development Triangle Area.

In the meantime, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Lao Prime Minster H.E. Bouasone Bouphavanh and Vietnamese Prime Minister H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung signed the Phnom Penh Declaration on the Deepening Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Area, while the Amended Memorandum of Understanding towards the Formulation of Special Preferential Policies for the CLV Development Triangle Area was signed by H.E. Cham Prasidh, senior minister and minister of Commerce; H.E. Sinlavong Khoutphaythoune, minister of Planning and Investment of Laos; and H.E. Vo Hong Phuc, minister of Planning and Investment of Vietnam.

The CLV Development Triangle Area is located in the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam border area, geographically covers the territory of 13 provinces, bordering with or are related to the common border area of the three countries, namely Mondulkiri, Rattanakiri, Stung Treng and Kratie (Cambodia); Attapeu, Saravan, Se Kong and Champasak (Laos); and Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Binh Phuoc (Vietnam). Its area covers 144.3 thousand square kilometers with a total population in 2008 of 6.5 million people, representing 19.3 percent and 6.1 percent of total area and population of the whole three countries, respectively. --AKP

(By THOU Peou)

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6th CLV Summit Officially Opened

Phnom Penh, November 16, 2010 AKP -- The 6th Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Summit was officially opened here this morning at the Peace Palace under the chairmanship of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung were also at the event.

The CLV Summit is the meeting between the leaders of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam with an aim to strengthen the cooperation among the three neighboring countries and the Development Triangle Area.

CLV Development Triangle Area, established in November 2004 in Vientiane, Laos, is located in the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam border area, geographically covers the territory of 13 provinces, bordering with or are related to the common border area of the three countries, namely Mondulkiri, Rattanakiri, Stung Treng and Kratie (Cambodia); Attapeu, Saravan, Se Kong and Champasak (Laos); and Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Binh Phuoc (Vietnam). Its area covers 144.3 thousand square kilometers with a total population in 2008 of 6.5 million people, representing 19.3 percent and 6.1 percent of total area and population of the whole three countries, respectively. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)

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ACMECS Business Forum on Economic Cooperation

Phnom Penh, November 16, 2010 AKP -- Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) forum was held at Cambodiana Hotel in Phnom Penh today morning with the participation of roughly 350 businesspersons from ACMECS countries.

The forum was co-chaired by Oknha Kith Meng, chairman of Cambodia ACMECS joint Business Council and President of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Chinda Vongsouly, representative of the Lao PDR ACMECS JBC and President of the Champasak Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Win Aung, Chairman of Myanmar ACMECS JBC, vice president of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Tanit Sorat, vice chairman of Thai ACMECS JBC and vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, and H.E. Pham Gia Tuc, representative of the Vietnam ACMECS JBC and vice chairman of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The discussion focused on the priority areas of trading cooperation and set out a target for the arrangement of trade and investments, tourism, the cooperation on agriculture and transport, the promotion of industry and human resources development. --AKP

(By THOU Peou)

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More Than 500,000 Tourists Visit Preah Sihanouk Province in Ten Months

Phnom Penh, November 16, 2010 AKP -- In the first ten months of this year, more than 500,000 local and foreign tourists visited Preah Sihanouk coastal province, some 230 kilometers southwest of the capital city of Phnom Penh.

Mr. Seng Kha, deputy director of provincial tourism department told AKP recently that in the first ten months of 2010, around 400,469 local tourists and 109,284 foreign tourists were recorded or an increase by 20.73 percent if compared to the same period of 2009.

The number of local tourists saw an increase of 24.29 percent and that of foreign tourists 9.24 percent. The foreign tourists mostly came from England, the U.S., France, China, South Korea. --AKP

(By Théng)
Phnom Penh, November 16, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen and his Lao counterpart H.E. Bouasone Bouphavanh have agreed to push their respective border commissions to speed up as soon as possible the planting of the remaining border posts.

Villagers face blockade in Sihanoukville


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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:02 May Titthara

MILITARY police in Preah Sihanouk province have surrounded a local community following a Supreme Court ruling in a land dispute and were forcing residents to register as they moved in and out, villagers said yesterday.

On Friday, the Supreme Court declared that a piece of land in Stung Hav district’s Commune 1 that is home to 149 families belongs to the developer Ly Hong Sin Company. Over the weekend, local authorities bulldozed 78 homes in the community.

Yesterday, Stung Hav resident Hem Sophoan said military police had formed a cordon outside the community.

“Only villagers living inside are allowed to enter,” she said. “We have to register with our name and house number to go outside, and we have to do the same thing when we come back home.”

Stung Hav resident Lou Vannaret said other villagers had been banned from accessing their dwellings entirely.

“Villagers should be allowed to enter to take care of their property, but they are being stopped by military police,” Lou Vannaret said.

Kim Eng, vice president of Preah Sihanouk provincial court, said villagers were to dismantle the 43 remaining homes in the community within one month, adding that the road to the village had been blocked only after the court verdict.

Local residents claim to have lived in the area since 1999. Ly Sin Hong representatives could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Sun Sakan, deputy governor of Preah Sihanouk province, said local authorities were simply executing the orders of the Supreme Court and had no say in the matter.

“I don’t know what compensation will be paid to the victims. We’ll let them discuss this with the owner of the land,” he said.

Hem Sophoan said villagers had been told they would not receive compensation, and were planning to file complaints against the developer.

“I have been living here since 1999 with permission from local authorities,” she said. “I did not grab anyone else’s land.”

Journos seek greater access


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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:02 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

ABOUT 100 journalists from 21 news outlets across Cambodia gathered at a meeting in Phnom Penh yesterday and urged the government to adopt a policy on freedom of information.

The consultative meeting on access to information in Cambodia deemed that implementing an open government policy to freedom of information was essential to improving the quality of journalism in the Kingdom.

Lam Socheat, deputy director of the Advocacy and Policy Institute, said that during the consultative meeting in March 2006, the government promised to develop a clear policy framework for a freedom of information law that year.

“We know the Cambodian government has already developed a policy on freedom of information, but the policy has not yet been adopted,” he said.

Thach Pen, secretary of state at the Ministry of Information, confirmed that the policy had already been developed.

“The draft law on freedom of information is under the process and control of the government,” said Thach Pen. “The reason we are late in working on this is because we need more time to study it before finalising.”

For Sok Sovann, chairman of the Press Council of Cambodia, this policy would not only help accelerate social development and poverty reduction, but also prevent journalists from getting into legal troubles as a result of their reporting.

“I would like the Cambodian government to adopt this policy so that it will reduce the number of journalists who have been accused or arrested for misinformation.”

“[The policy] would prevent [the government] from accusing, arresting or jailing journalists in connection with misinformation in their reports and publications.”

He added that a freedom to information law would help journalists, and the public at large, get access to public policy, information on development projects and public expenditures.

This meeting follows a September plea from a coalition of 19 local and international coalitions asking the government to sign off on a freedom of information policy draft.

At the time, Som Kim Suor, minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations, said the draft policy was still under review and that the government would approve it by 2013.

Five face child-sex charges


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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

PHNOM Penh municipal Court yesterday heard the case against five people charged in relation to purchasing child prostitution from four underage girls in January of this year.

Cambodian, Choeung Sok Choeun, 40, was arrested January 25 from the Chhouk Tep II hotel and charged with being an accomplice to purchasing child prostitution. He faces between seven and 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Vietnamese nationals Ngiv Thec Lok, 22, Leng Chiva, 38, and Ngieng Chi Tech, 40, and Cambodian Ly Yang Chea, 29, were arrested and charged with procuring child prostitution. If found guilty, each faces between two and five years in prison.

Leng Chiva’s lawyer Touch Chhay said all five defendants denied the charges against them during the closed-door hearing yesterday. He said all five rented a house together but did not procure child sex.

But Sek Saroeun, a lawyer provided to the victims by the International Justice Mission, said the five accused were “a network” and that there was evidence they provided underage girls to foreigners at the house and assorted hotels.

Presiding Judge Ker Sakhorn said a verdict would be announced on December 9.

Residents protest water bill rise


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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:01 Cameron Wells and Chrann Chamroeun

ABOUT 300 residents of Banteay Meanchey’s Sisophon district protested outside the provincial hall yesterday, demanding that a local water company lower its prices after the firm introduced a 300 riel price hike on November 1.

Seav Soeut, a 21-year-old resident of the district, said that it was the second time this year that the privately owned Banteay Meanchey Town Water Supply company had raised the price of water.

In January, the company raised the price from 1,000 riel per cubic metre of water to 1,600 riel, he said. At the start of the month, the price increased to 1,900 riel per cubic metre.

“It is so expensive. We cannot accept the new price,” he said. “We have called for the authorities to give us a discount. We only want to pay 1,000 riel per cubic metre,” adding that they had given a letter of complaint to a provincial official.

Ouk Keo Ratanak, a spokesman at Banteay Meanchey provincial hall, said that he had accepted the complaint letter from the villagers, but indicated that the matter would have to be solved by the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.

He said the company was licensed by the government to supply fresh water to residents of Sisophon district, and that the January increase was the result of an increase in the price of petrol.

City officials get graft law education


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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:01 Kim Yuthana

OFFICIALS from the Anticorruption Unit held a workshop yesterday to promote good governance and educate about 400 municipal officials about recently-passed anti-graft legislation.

Speaking to the officials, Om Yentieng, head of the ACU, said the workshop was aimed at fighting corruption through education, prevention and the enforcement of the law.

“I believe that the officials’ understanding of this newly established anti-graft law will result in a strong step forward in the country’s development,” Om Yentieng said.

The officials at the meeting, which included Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema in addition to lower-level municipal officials – were given copies of the anti-graft law and had its contents explained in detail.

The Anticorruption Law was passed by the National Assembly in April as part of the government’s much-publicised drive to crackdown on graft. According to the law, up to 100,000 officials will be obliged to disclose their assets to investigators.

Last week, ACU spokesman Keo Remy announced the body had received 20 corruption complaints in September and October, but could not give further details while the investigations were underway.

At yesterday’s workshop, Kep Chuktema lauded the creation of the new bodies, stating that graft had become “one of the biggest challenges [Cambodia] is facing”.

The law, however, has drawn criticism from opposition lawmakers and civil society groups who said it was rushed through the National Assembly without time for debate or input.

Despite a slight improvement in international graft rankings, Cambodia still faces an uphill battle against corruption.

Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2010 ranked Cambodia 154th out of 178 countries for public-sector corruption, a marginal increase on last year’s ranking, which listed Cambodia at 158th.

RCAF show off 'peaceful' HQ


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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:01 Thet Sambath

A NEW command centre for forces stationed near Preah Vihear temple would be completed by the end of the month, military officials said yesterday.

Kvan Siem, commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces military engineers, said the 20-by-30-metre building had been under construction since March. The US$60,000 project, funded by Prime Minister Hun Sen, stands 1.5 kilometres from the temple and will shore up the Cambodian presence near the contentious border with Thailand, Kvan Siem says.

“This building was built because of the Thai military’s invasion,” he said. “We want to show it to the next generation so that they will remember the Thai invasion, but this is a peaceful command headquarters.”

At least seven troops have been killed along the border since 2008. Hun Sen has repeatedly demanded that Thai troops withdraw from the Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda near the temple as a precondition for demobilsation at the border.

“This is the first RCAF command centre built near the battle site between Cambodian and Thai soldiers,” said Yim Phim, commander of RCAF Brigade 8. “It is for commanders to hold meetings with other commanders and to order troops to prevent Thai soldiers from invading Cambodia.”

In September, Cambodia Television Network announced that it was raising money to build concrete bunkers for troops at the border under a controversial programme in which private businesses provide charitable support to the military.

In the midst of these fortifications, preservation officials are working to refurbish the temple and the surrounding area in an effort to attract tourists. Last week, the Preah Vihear National Authority announced the completion of a 1.6 kilometre staircase to the temple designed to make the cliffside site more accessible to visitors.

Police Blotter: 16 Nov 2010


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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:00 Phak Seangly

Drunken man detained for hacking daughter
A 36-year-old man was arrested after attacking his daughter with a cleaver in Banteay Meanchey’s Mongkul Borei district on Friday. Police said the man was often drunk and picked fights with his wife, including one instance when he extinguished a cigarette on her face. On November 7, he returned home again in a drunken haze and ordered the daughter to go buy him more booze. She refused and the suspect hacked at her leg with a cleaver. He was sent to provincial court for questioning. RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Drug dealer detained on way to make a sale
Police in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on Friday arrested a man who was on his way to sell some drugs. Police intercepted the suspect as he was taking a motorbike taxi and confiscated six packets of yama, or methamphetamine pills. The suspect confessed to buying the drugs for US$30 a package and was set to sell them for $35 each. He was sent to court for further questioning. RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Bejewelled defrauder sent to local court
A 35-year-old man was arrested in Siem Reap town on Saturday on suspicion of defrauding a mobile phone vendor. According to police, the suspect dressed himself in fancy looking but fake jewellery and asked the female vendor where her husband was. He then claimed that the husband had promised him 10 mobile phones, which he would pay back later. He pretended to call the husband and told the vendor that the “husband” had approved. The woman later called the husband after handing over the phones, and he told her he had never heard of the man. He was arrested immediately as he attempted to escape on a motorbike, and police said he confessed to the charges. RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Minivan swerves, flips: injures seven tourists
Seven Vietnamese people were injured in a traffic accident in Kampong Thom province on Friday. A witness reported that the group had hired a minivan to travel to the Preah Vihear temple, when it sped up to overtake another vehicle. Another car was coming in the opposite direction, causing the minivan to swerve and flip over into a rice field roughly five metres away. KOH SANTEPHEAP

Disabled-eyed man drowned from dizziness
An unidentified man’s body was found floating in the Siem Reap river by a local fisherman on Saturday night. Police said they had checked the body and concluded that the man “had been dizzy” and fallen into the river upstream roughly two days earlier. They said one of the man’s eyes was “disabled”, and have called for relatives to retrieve the corpse. KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Drug officials trained


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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:00 Rann Reuy

ALMOST 200 Health Ministry officials have completed a three-day course qualifying them to instruct others in the implementation of a new community-based drug treatment programme that is expected to be implemented nationwide next year. Ung Oeun, governor of Banteay Meanchey province where the programme was piloted, said yesterday 170 officials completed the course on Thursday. Government and United Nations officials signed a letter of intent to introduce the programme last month.

Three banks raise RDB's finances


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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:01 Soeun Say and May Kunmakara

THE Rural Development Bank has received US$23 million in funding from three domestic banks, according to the state-run bank’s President and Chief Executive Officer Son Koun Thor.

The capital would in turn be loaned to rice millers to increase purchases of raw paddy during the harvest season, he said yesterday.

“The RDB will offer more loans to millers because we want to accomplish the government’s goal of 1 million tonnes of rice exports by 2015,” he said.

“We welcome any rice miller to ask for short-term loans – that is, loans for 12 months at 10 percent interest rate.”

The state-run Rural Development Bank is borrowing the capital at a 7 percent interest rate over 12 months.

Pung Kheav So, president of Canadia Bank Plc, said the largest loan to the RDB was $18 million from the Bank of Investment and Development of Cambodia, while Canadia extended $3 million and the Foreign Trade Bank some $2 million.

“We are cooperating to make loans to domestic millers to help them boost production,” he said.

“The three banks have the same goal – to help the agriculture section in Cambodia.”

He added the banks could double the level of financing over the next few years.

Lim Bun Heng, director of rice company Loran Import-Export Co, said he planned to ask for a loan from the RDB – but at a lower rate than that suggested.

“I will ask them to decrease the interest rate from 10 percent to 8 percent,” he said. “If they do not decrease interest rates, I will not borrow.”

ANZ Royal Bank had already offered him interest rates at 8 percent per year, he said.

The RDB could require more capital to extend to local rice millers to buy paddy and to improve rice milling machinery and expertise, according to Son Koun Thor.

“We won’t have problems finding an export market

because we have signed [memorandums of understanding] on rice exports with many countries,” he said.

The challenge came in improving domestic ability to produce quality rice, he said.

Cambodia ought to build a strong brand name for its exports by improving domestic processing quality.

Last month, the Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding with China on rice exports, among other deals it has signed in recent months.

Representatives from the rice industry are also planning a trip to Indonesia, which is considering importing 300,000 tonnes of the grain from Cambodia, according to officials.

The delegation – composed of at least 10 industry representatives – is set make the trip after this weekend's Water Festival.

Indonesia’s ambassador to the Kingdom Soehardjono Sastromihardjo told The Post that the nation – which has been ravaged by recent multiple natural disasters – needed around 20 million tonnes of rice every year to supply its population.

Kingdom’s biodiesel plans on hold as jatropha disappears


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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:01 Chun Sophal

NTC Jacam Energy has halted plans to produce biodiesel because of a lack of raw materials, particularly jatropha, according to the firm’s chairman.

The firm had planned to more than triple its production to 2,000 litres of biodiesel per day earlier this year, but a lack of jatropha on the local marketplace had forced the company to stop, Chheuy Sophors said.

“We suspended our biofuel production due to a lack of raw materials. Some

farmers who used to grow this crop have stopped,” he said.

The firm had invested US$400,000 to build the biodiesel plant in Kampong Speu province.

It had previously purchased jatropha seeds from farmers in Kampong Speu, Battambang, and Banteay Meanchey provices at a processing cost of between 600 and 800 riel per kilogram.

Jatropha is a quick-growing tropical plant. Its seeds can be crushed to process biodiesel, which could fetch some 3,200 riel per litre, the firm said.

NTC Jacam Energy had recently spent $50,000 to grow jatropha on 500 hectares in Kampong Speu and Koh Kong province, which could provide the future materials required for production, according to Chheuy Sophors.

“We hope the company will receive about 3,000 tonnes of seeds per year with this project so we can produce biofuel in the future,” he said.

Producing 1 kilogram of biodiesel required three times the amount of unprocessed jatropha seed, he said. It would require 6 tonnes of seed per day to meet its original production goal of 2,000 litres.

Chhe Pich, deputy chief of Kampong Speu Provincial Office of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery said yesterday farmers in Aural and Samraong districts had formerly grown plenty of jatropha, but poor yields had forced many to change to other crops. A United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation report issued earlier this year claimed the crop has the potential to produce a large amount of energy, compared to the area required to grow it.

Mobitel gets NBC reprieve


An advert for Cellcard Cash is displayed on Sihanouk Boulevard, Phnom Penh, yesterday. Photo by: Sovan Philong

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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:01 Jeremy Mullins

MOBITEL’S Cellcard Cash programme has been given until February to fully comply with National Bank of Cambodia regulations, according to Central Bank Director General Tal Nay Im.

The money transfer service – which is run by Cambodia’s largest mobile phone provider– has until early next year to apply for a licence and formally partner with a bank, she said.

“We have given them some time,” she said yesterday.

Cellcard Cash was launched in September without oversight from the National Bank of Cambodia.

The bank issued a prakas or edict on August 17 requiring third-party processors to comply with its rules.

Several company officials could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Operations Manager Kay Lot has previously told The Post that Mobitel did not consider the programme banking.

The programme had been launched with a grant from the GSM Association’s US$5 million Mobile Money for the Unbanked program, which is largely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Last month, the MMUprogram confirmed that it had suspend all grants payments to Mobitel, but added that Mobitel was working with the NBC to develop the appropriate regulatory framework and secure a formal licence in a statement.

“To this end, the two parties have agreed to suspend the payment of further grant monies until the GSMA MMU Fund Panel is satisfied that [Mobitel] has secured all necessary regulatory approvals,” it said in a statement.

“GSMA encourages dialogue between mobile money providers and regulators, however regulation is a matter for the government in each country in which such services are developed,” the statement said.

Cambodia teams beached


Cambodia’s Rom Mon defends against Malaysia’s Khoo Chong Long during their preliminary Beach Volleyball match yesterday. AFP

via CAAI

Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

Immaculate blocking was the key to the success for the Chinese pair of Gao Peng and Li Jian over Cambodia’s duo of Samath Vansak and Taing Mengheak in the men’s beach volleyball team event at the Guangzhou Asian Games yesterday.

The Chinese team, backed by a vociferous home crowd of around 1,000 spectators, came up with five blocks on the way to wrapping up a 21-15, 21-10 victory in just 32 minutes. Though the Cambodian combination attempted more attack, 44 to the hosts’ 37, their spiking came up with a poorly 14 hits compared to 25 successes by the Chinese men. The home pair were also slightly ahead on the dig and Li Jian’s consistently good serving proved vital. One positive statistic for the Cambodians was that Taing Menghheak recorded the fastest serve of the match at 84kmph.

Later yesterday, at the Beach Volleyball Centre, the Kingdom’s other team of Nget Sothearith and Mon Rom were shut out by Malaysian opponents Nordin Rafi Asruki and Khoo Chong Long. This Cambodian team fared slightly better in this game, compared to their compatriates, going down 21-16, 21-18 in 38 minutes.

Ponleu comes up short
The last vestiges of Cambodian interest in men’s swimming disappeared yesterday after 20-year-old Hem Thon Ponloeu checked in fourth in Heat 2 of the 50m freestyle, over a second slower than the heat winner.

The nephew of legendary swimmer Hem Thon finished 38th overall out of 43 swimmers with a time of 27.68 seconds, 4.48 secs off the finals qualification mark.

“I tried my best but I could not make it to the final,” said Ponleu after his heat yesterday, adding that he thought he had gained useful experience.

Swimming team coach Hem Lunphat was also enthusiastic about the future prospects of the Kingdom’s swimmers. “We are a young team, we hope to improve on this performance,” he said.

Cambodia have just one more chance left for success in the pool of the Aoti Aquatics Centre, with Hem Thon Vitiny competing in the women’s 50m freestyle heats this morning.

Chess players grab draws
Meanwhile at the Guangzhou Chess Institute yesterday, Cambodia’s pair of competitors in Chinese Chess finally got their campaigns off the ground when they both registered their first points of the men’s individual competition by completing draws.

Heng Chamnan ended his game all even against Kuok U Long of Macau, while Lay Chhay shared the spoils with Japan’s Kazuharu Shoshi.

Pursat River Run a riot


Runners jostle for position at the start of the 5k Pursat River Run. Photo by: Nhea Hort

via CAAI

Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:00 Steve Harknett

More than 800 runners took to the streets of Pursat on Sunday morning for the fourth annual Pursat River Run, in a turnout that far exceeded the organisers’ expectations. Four races were held, with 5k and 10k routes run by men and women as well as races for athletes in wheelchairs and runners with amputations.

As well as participants from Pursat province, the races attracted a sizeable number of local and expatriate entrants from Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey.

The 10k race was won by Kieng Samorn, a member of the Cambodian national athletics team, while Belgian triathlete Viviane Renard was the first woman to finish. The 5k men’s race was won by Phnom Penh tuk-tuk driver Sat Samoeurn, with 16-year-old Siem Reap resident Chea Thea taking top female honours.

The event was organised by the Pursat Department of Education Youth and Sport, and its main sponsor was the telephone company Smart Mobile, whose CEO Thomas Hundt attended the prize-giving ceremony. “We are eager to support the Pursat River Run next year again,” said Hundt, whose company will be providing mobile coverage in Pursat from next month.

Nim Kosal, deputy chief of the Pursat Provincial Sport’s Office and main race organiser, said that the event helped people in Pursat to be more aware of sport, and noted interest in sporting activities was increasing every year. “We also hope that the Pursat River Run will help more athletes in Pursat to improve and compete at national level,” he added.

This year more than US$1,500 was raised from entrance fees, which the Department of Education Youth and Sport will use to buy sport equipment for schools in Pursat and to establish a training club for promising athletes.

The Pursat River Run has also benefited sport development outside of Pursat. Five Australians were sponsored to run in the race on behalf of the NGO Christian Care for Cambodia. They succeeded in raising $4,000 for the NGO’s sport development project in Poipet.

“The scenic course made it a really enjoyable race for the Australian sponsors,” said CCFC development worker Pip Miner. CCFC had established a running club in Poipet to prepare runners for the race. According to Miner, the Pursat River Run was a “great culmination” of 10 weeks of training. “I thought it would be the end of our club, but many people want to continue training, so the race has encouraged participation in running,” she said.

Daniel FC wins Futsal title


A Daniel FC player shoots past Black Eagles defenders during their Sports Commission Futsal Premier League championship final at the Field of Light. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun

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Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

Fistfuls of rain, a last ditch equaliser and a nerve racking penalty shootout did not deter Daniel Football Club from snatching the honours in the third Sports Commission Futsal Premier League on Sunday. The local team beat finals rivals Black Eagles 6-5 on spotkicks after the sides had ended the 40-minute regulation time level on 3-3 at the newly laid Field of Light in Phnom Penh’s Tumnop Teuk district.

One of the Kingdom’s longest running private futsal leagues reached the dramatic conclusion of this year’s campaign on Sunday after nearly 15 weeks of competition. The Black Eagles fired an equaliser a minute before the final whistle to force penalties and looked to capitalise on their momentum with a Daniel player missing their third spot kick. Black Eagles were within a conversion of clinching the title, but blew their chance with a botched reply.

The two goalkeepers took turns to misfire in the first set of sudden-death penalties, and amid growing tension, the reborn Daniel team nudged ahead at 6-5 and were relieved to see Black Eagles miss the mark.

Captain of the winning side Phea Soketra, who is an assistant coach with Metfone C-League runners-up Preah Khan Reach, said: “We had chances to wrap it up when we led 3-2, but we certainly were a bit lucky in the penalties. As a team we have done very well this season.”

The Division A final, which served as a perfect dress rehearsal for the Premier League showpiece event, was won by Paradise, who edged out Young Life 9-8 in a game of rapidly changing fortunes and scorelines.

The Sports Commission is one of the wings of local charity organisation Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia-Kingdom Equipped Youth and has been organising Futsal leagues since 2008.

“This year is very special for us because we completed building an international standard Futsal pitch on artificial turf and floodlights at a cost of around US$2,000,” said Un Makara, one of EFC-KEY’s sports coordinators.

Fourteen teams each took part in the Premier League and Division A, featuring a total of nearly 300 players. One of the prime movers of the Sports Commission, New Zealander Todd Smith who has now assumed an advisory role in the organisation, said the Futsal league would grow much bigger and better with the completion of the new pitch.

NGO aims to support victims of domestic violence


via CAAI

Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:00 Sarah Macklin

TOMORROW night will see an evening of fine food, wine and fashion in support of Hagar Cambodia, an NGO which helps survivors of domestic violence to build a new life.

A host of Phnom Penh businesses have sponsored the event at Hagar Catering, which will feature survivors of abuse telling their compelling stories of transformation.

“Together we want to raise the awareness to start the end of the cycle of violence against women in Cambodia – first, by breaking the silence around the issue and second, by breaking the cycle of abuse,” said one of the event’s organisers.

Tomorrow night’s event is believed to be Cambodia’s first to mark White Ribbon Day, a United Nations-sponsored occasion promoting the elimination of violence against women on November 25. Those showing support wear a white ribbon.

The evening will feature a fashion show by local designer Sar Chantoh and accessories designed by Lili Perles. Food will be provided by Hagar Catering and music by Bite Productions.

Hagar’s clients have come from many frightening situations. “One day, my husband hit me until I was unconscious and I ended up in the hospital. Then I came to Hagar. Today, I am strong and happy in my life. I have a job and my children are studying at school. My life has been transformed,” says one survivor.

Testimonials and guest speakers during the evening will highlight their stories.

One hundred percent of ticket sales will go directly to support the work of Hagar Cambodia.

Orchid Day, Cambodia’s White Ribbon Day, is just the start of a long-term journey. One that will lead to an annual national event that will mobilise the necessary tools to end violence against women.

For more information on how Hagar helps women and children rebuild their lives with new skills and confidence, visit hagarcambodia.org.

White Ribbon Day was created by a handful of Canadian men in 1991 on the second anniversary of one man’s massacre of 14 women in Montreal.

The campaign urges men to speak out against violence against women.

When: Wednesday, November 17, 7pm.

Where: Hagar Catering, 23 Street 288, Phnom Penh.

Child's play


Photo by: PHA LINA

via CAAI

Tuesday, 16 November 2010 15:00 Pha Lina

A young boy plays on a slide at a new playground inaugurated yesterday by Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema. The park, situated near Wat Botum, is the capital’s second children’s playground, and officials say a third is planned for Dangkor district and is expected to be finished next year. During the inauguaration, Kep Chuktema stressed the importance of creating such areas for the city’s young people. “Our children need entertainment places. [They] are the future of our nation.” The new Wat Botum play area includes 30 swings, climbing towers and see-saws, most of which were imported from Malaysia.

Another carnivorous plant discovered


Photo by: Jeremy Holden
French botanist François Mey examines a specimen of Nepenthes holdenii, a newly discovered species of carnivorous pitcher plant native to the Cardamom mountains.

via CAAI

Monday, 15 November 2010 16:40 Denise Hruby

An international conservation group yesterday announced the discovery of a new species of carnivorous pitcher plant native to Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains.

The species, named Nepenthes holdenii after British photographer Jeremy Holden, who first stumbled across the plant in 2006, produces pitchers that can reach 30 centimetres in length and can thrive in drought- and fire-prone areas.

“I found it and photographed it, but it took me a couple of years to find someone who could identify it,” Holden said yesterday.

Eventually Holden got in touch with François Mey, a French botanist and pitcher plant expert, who flew to Cambodia in August of this year to see the plant for himself. “Within 10 seconds [Mey] could tell that it is a new species,” said Holden.

According to a statement announcing the discovery of the plant, which was issued by the conservation organisation Fauna & Flora International, “the large red and green pitchers that characterise Nepenthes holdenii are actually modified leaves designed to capture and digest insects”.

“The carnivorous strategy allows the plants to gain additional nutrients and flourish in otherwise impoverished soils,” the statement added.

Another unusual adaptation is the plants’ “ability to cope with fire and extended periods of drought” because of “a large underground tuber which sends up a new pitcher-bearing vine after the fires have passed”, the statement added.

“This amazing species may be the most drought-tolerant of the genus,” the statement quoted Mey as saying.

Holden said he was aware the Cardamom Mountains were a “treasure chest” of new species, but added that it was still a surprise to find something as “exciting and charismatic” as an unknown pitcher plant.

Nepenthes holdenii is actually the second new species of pitcher plant to be discovered in Cambodia recently.

In 2009, a 7-metre-tall carnivorous pitcher plant that derived nourishment from trapping ants and other insects in its pitchers was officially documented by researchers on Bokor Mountain in Kampot province. Ministry of Environment officials said yesterday they were unable to provide any information about the discovery.

Convicted rapist denies defamation charge


Photo by: Pha Lina
Graham Cleghorn, serving a 20-year sentence for rape, arrives at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday to face disinformation charges.

via CAAI

Monday, 15 November 2010 21:28 Cameron Wells and Chrann Chamroeun

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday heard a defamation case against a New Zealand man convicted of rape, who has accused a local NGO of offering money to his victims in exchange for them testifying against him through various media outlets.

Graham Cleghorn, 62, was convicted in 2004 of raping five teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 19 who were employed as maids at his Siem Reap home. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and faces an extra two years per victim if he refuses to pay each of them US$2,000 in compensation.

He has since claimed in several media interviews that the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre, an NGO that provides services to vulnerable women and children, had offered the five girls US$10,000 each to testify against him.

Speaking before the hearing, Cleghorn reiterated previous statements made to the press that the CWCC offered the girls the money to testify.

“The evidence was first given in court, so it can’t be defamation,” he said. “This is called persecution. If the judge is smart he will throw [the case] out, but he has probably been paid.”

He said the CWCC were suing him for defamation because his comments are “costing them donor money”. He accused the NGO of holding women and girls against their will, until their fathers “went and said ‘we’ll shoot up the place’”.

When asked if he had evidence of the claims, he said the municipal court only informed his lawyer of the current hearing on Friday and he had no time to collect the evidence already submitted in the Supreme Court, despite a hearing being reconvened from October 13 to yesterday to allow him to find a lawyer and retrieve the evidence at his request.

“No foreigner gets justice here,” he said, before adding: “Evidence in Cambodia has George Washington’s face on it.”

During the hearing, Ket Noeun, manager of the CWCC in Siem Reap, told the court the defamation complaint stemmed from Cleghorn’s
repeated statements through the press.

“He hadn’t stopped his activities and still defamed the CWCC through the world media,” she said. “It was more than 10 papers [and] included the Bangkok Post and radio, and we have evidence from email and websites of his quotes accusing our organisation of persuading the five victims with a promise of $10,000 each.”

But Cleghorn, defending himself, denied the charges against him, again claiming that the court cannot hear the case until the Supreme Court makes a decision on his appeal.

“If evidence is given in a court, it cannot be used as evidence in a defamation case,” he said. “It cannot be used as evidence in a lesser court. Until the Supreme Court says it is false, then that is a true statement.”

He also denied ever meeting a journalist in Prey Sar prison, or starting a website regarding his case.

Mey Sophea, lawyer for the complainant, requested that the court demand Cleghorn pay $5,000 in compensation and to “re-correct all disinformation” by issuing an apology.

Presiding Judge Din Sivuthy said a verdict would be announced on November 26.

Bourse finds first home


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Monday, 15 November 2010 21:41 Soeun Say and May Kunmakara

The first home of Cambodia’s new stock exchange has been confirmed as Phnom Penh’s tallest building, Canadia Tower.

“We have already agreed for the home stock market to be on the tower’s 25th and 26th floor — it will open soon,” Canadia Bank President Pung Khiev Ser told The Post.

As the tower celebrated its first birthday, Pung Khiev Ser said that preparations were underway to host the bourse, with wiring for a computer network set to be installed.

Earlier this year, the business community voiced growing concerns that little progress had been made for the bourse building outlined for Phnom Penh’s US$2 billion Camko City.

Yesterday, Camko City official Kheng Ser, who is assistant team project manager for developer World City Company, confirmed that construction of the stock exchange had yet to start.

“I don’t know exactly when building will start – it depends on both sides [Camko City and the Ministry of Economy and Finance],” he said.

Hong Sok Hour, director general of the Cambodian Securities Exchange, said yesterday official finalisation of deal was expected “soon”, adding the bourse’s Canadia Tower home was “just the temporary office”.

Inpyo Lee, project director of Korean Exchange, which holds 45 percent stake in the CSX, said he would follow the government’s decision regarding its home. “Your government has a deal with Canadia Tower – we just have to follow up,” he said.

The exchange is set to launch next July “at any cost”, according to a government statement.

The show must go on


via CAAI

Monday, 15 November 2010 21:40 Meas Sokchea

A Union activist has announced he will screen a controversial film at the city’s new Freedom Park at 5:30pm tomorrow, whether or not officials give their permission for the film to be shown publicly.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said he wrote to Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema yesterday requesting permission to screen Who Killed Chea Vichea?, a 2009 film exploring the murder of the union activist.

“This film screening is intended for workers, teachers and people who can be aware of who killed Chea Vichea,” Rong Chhun said in the letter.

“It is also a reminder to the authorities to accelerate the investigation of this case to provide justice for Mr Chea Vichea.”

Chea Vichea, the former head of the Free Trade Union, was gunned down outside Phnom Penh’s Wat Lanka in 2004.

Though two men were arrested in connection with the killing, they were released in 2009 and rights activists have been urging the government to track down those responsible.

Kep Chuktema declined to comment yesterday, but Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said Rong Chhun would only have the right to screen the film if he received permission from the authorities.

According to the Law on Peaceful Demonstrations, protests can only be held at the Freedom Park with 12 hours’ advance notice and are capped at 200 persons.

He said Who Killed Chea Vichea?, a film directed by American Bradley Cox, was produced without permission from the relevant institutions. Since it was illegal, he said, it could not be screened publicly, and could only be shown privately.

“It is still a forbidden film. There is no public spot for him to screen it. If he wants to screen it, he can go and try. He has tried that already,” Khieu Sopheak said.

Previous attempts to screen the film in May were stymied by authorities.

Rong Chhun said that if the government refuses him permission to show the film, they should abolish the newly created Freedom Park, which the city has promoted as an arena for free expression.

“Otherwise, the Freedom Park was just created to deceive national and international opinion,” he added.

Chea Mony, Chea Vichea’s brother and the current FTU president, urged the government to shine a light on the murder of his brother, saying that banning the film would only perpetuate the culture of “impunity” in Cambodia.

But Kong Kannara, under secretary of state of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said the film was produced without a licence and that the authorities would take action to stop the screening.

“If it is illegal, they have the right to block it,” Kong Kannara said.

Vietnamese PM arrives in Kingdom


Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung lays a wreath at the base of the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Monument.

via CAAI

Monday, 15 November 2010 20:33 Vong Sokheng

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung arrived in Phnom Penh yesterday morning ahead of two days of regional summits.

Foreign ministers from Laos, Myanmar and Thailand will join Dung today for the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam and the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam summits aimed at increasing bilateral cooperation.

Dung met behind closed doors yesterday with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chea Chanto, governor of the National Bank of Cambodia.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said at a press conference following the meeting that the two premiers discussed their desire to strengthen relations in a variety of sectors including oil and gas exploration.

“The most important thing at the moment is that we allowed Vietnamese companies to explore for oil and gas,” Khieu Kanharith said.

The information minister said Dung expressed his government’s support for Cambodian sovereignty and promised to speed up border demarcation and complete the process by 2012 as per a bilateral agreement.

Chea Chanto declined to comment yesterday and Trinh Ba Cam, spokesman at the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh, could not be reached.

Dung also visited King Norodom Sihamoni and paid courtesy calls to Senate President Chea Sim and National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

At today’s summits, Cambodia and Thailand are set to sign a bilateral agreement to loosen visa requirements, according to an agenda obtained by The Post. Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are expected to sign a “Phnom Penh Declaration” to further development among the three countries.

Hun Sen is set to meet separately today prime ministers Thein Sein (Myanmar), Bouasone Bouphavanh (Lao PDR) and Abhisit Vejjajiva (Thailand).

Cambodian Prison: A place of torture and death for innocent

http://www.nevadaappeal.com/

via CAAI

By David C. Henley

For the Nevada Appeal

Human skulls representing some of the 1.8 million victims tortured and murdered in prisons and the notorious “killing fields” in Cambodia during the communist Khmer Rouge regime are exhibited at the former S-21 or Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, the nation's capital.

Columnist David C. Henley is shown at the former Khmer Rouge prison and torture center in suburban Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital city. Photos Courtesy of David C. Henley

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — From a distance, the former Chao Ponhea Yat High School provided no outward evidence of the horrors that awaited me once inside when I arrived aboard a “tuk-tuk” taxicab, a small, two-wheeled canopied trailer pulled by a motorcycle.

Set on a narrow side street in this chaotic and poverty-stricken capital city of Cambodia, the complex of five three-story concrete buildings surrounded by a playground, palm trees, small shops and food stalls appeared commonplace and ordinary as my driver, 35-year-old Kosal, let me off at the front gate.

But first impressions can be deceiving.

The former school that once accommodated 1,000 students had been converted into the notorious Security 21 or Tuol Sleng Prison by the Communist Khmer Rouge regime when it won the Cambodian Civil War in the mid-1970s, and it soon became the nation's largest penal center where thousands of innocent men, women and children were interrogated, beaten, tortured and killed until it was shuttered four years later.

Now a genocide museum, the prison serves as the testament to the irrationality and cruelty of the radical Khmer Rouge movement led by the infamous “Brother Number One” Pol Pot from 1975 until 1979, when the Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia during a border dispute between the two nations that ultimately led to the defeat and flight of the Communists, the closing of the prison and the re-establishment of comparative peace and order.



During their four-year reign, the Khmer Rouge evacuated Phnom Penh and other cities, forcing their inhabitants to move to the countryside and work as slave laborers in an effort to create a fundamentalist, agrarian utopia in which money, machinery, automobiles, modern medicine, religion, private property, education and all semblances of modern civilization were abolished.

Government officials, Buddhist monks, teachers, professors, students, doctors, scientists and all those in the middle and upper classes were murdered outright by the Khmer Rouge or taken to Tuol Sleng Prison and other facilities where they were interrogated and forced to write false confessions that implicated family members, friends and neighbors before being tortured and put to death.

As I entered the prison, I was joined by a middle-aged German couple and two young Swedish backpackers.

“I hope all five of us can stay together in here. It is too terrible just for the two of us,” said the German woman as she clutched her husband's arm.

I, too, needed the company of sympathetic others. What lay before me in the museum was unspeakable. I will never be able to erase from my mind what I saw.

The former classrooms had been converted into tiny brick cells where prisoners were chained to the walls and floors before being photographed and interrogated. The windows, doors and outer corridors were covered with iron bars and barbed wire to prevent escapes or prisoners jumping to their deaths from the upper levels.

Prisoners were ordered to stand at attention in their cells during daylight hours, and when night came they were shackled together with bars and chains, instructed not to speak with their fellow inmates and forced to sleep in their underwear jammed head-to-toe against one another on the bare floors.

Following days of interrogation, the prisoners were led to windowless chambers where they underwent medieval tortures too gruesome to describe, taken to a courtyard and beaten to death with shovels, pickaxes or clubs and buried on the school grounds.

When the graves could hold no more bodies, prisoners were bound with wire, blindfolded and trucked 10 miles to the famous killing fields at Choeug Ek where they were beaten to death and thrown into mass graves.

Of the estimated 14,000 to 20,000 prisoners incarcerated at Tuol Sleng, all met death except for seven who managed to escape. More than 1.8 million Cambodians, approximately one-fourth of the nation's population, died during the four-year Khmer Rouge terror from torture, murder, starvation, overwork or disease.

Walking the halls of the prison, I arrived in a room where photographs of the prisoners taken by their captors were displayed on large panels. Several were of women holding infants in their arms. I also came upon a case holding several of the prisoners' skulls that were unearthed in the schoolyard.

The German woman in my small group burst into tears at this sight. “This is like Nazi Germany,” she cried, running outside.

More than 35 years after the depredations began, justice has finally commenced. The prison chief known as “Duch,” who has already served 11 years in prison, was convicted four months ago by a UN-backed tribunal for genocide and crimes against humanity and will serve an additional 19 years behind bars. Trials for other Khmer Rouge officials are to begin in early 2011.

Kosal, my taxi driver, told me when I left the prison, “Duch's sentence was too lenient. He should have been executed. Both my parents, two brothers and 20 of my aunts and uncles were murdered by the Khmer Rouge. There is no real justice here.”

Perhaps John Hall, associate professor of international law at Chapman University who has carried out extensive human rights field work and research in Cambodia, best articulates the reactions of those such as myself who have visited Tuol Sleng.

“I have been to the prison many times,” he told me, “and each time I am more shocked by its depravity and inhumanity. Tuol Sleng was a center of bestiality, barbarism and hopelessness.”

• David C. Henley is publisher emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News.