Friday, 26 November 2010

Cambodia to hold festival next year despite stampede

AFP) – PHNOM PENH — The Cambodian capital will continue to host an annual water festival despite the deaths of nearly 350 people at this year's event in a stampede on a bridge, an official said Friday.
"The ceremony will still be held as usual," said Chea Kean, deputy secretary general of a government festival committee, adding that it was an "age-old tradition" in the country.

He said it was too soon to say whether Cambodia's most popular festival would attract as many visitors next year in the wake of Monday's disaster, in which 347 people lost their lives, 221 of them women.

"Let's wait and see when we get nearer to the event," said Chea Kean.

The three-day event, which marks the reversal of the flow between the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers, usually draws millions of visitors to the capital to enjoy dragon boat races, fireworks and concerts.
The festival ended in tragedy after crowds panicked on an overcrowded bridge leading to an island that was one of the main event sites.

Authorities said a full report on the incident would be released next week.

Initial findings from an investigating committee suggest the stampede occurred after rumours rippled through the crowd that the suspension bridge to Phnom Penh's Diamond Island was about to collapse.

The crossing, where people have been gathering to mourn and lay out candles, flowers and food offerings for the souls of the deceased, remained closed to the public on Friday although an official has said it will reopen soon.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has described the disaster as Cambodia's worst tragedy since the Khmer Rouge's 1975-1979 reign of terror, which killed up to a quarter of the population.

Cambodian NA passes extradition agreement with S Korea

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/

via CAAI

November 26, 2010 

Cambodia's National Assembly on Friday unanimously adopted the extradition agreement between Cambodia and South Korea.

The agreement states the each party has obligation to extradite to another party for whoever found in the country of any party, and is wanted for accusation or trial.

"The extradition agreement is very important for two sides to push effective cooperation to eliminate cross-border crimes, terrorism, money laundry, weapon trafficking and human trafficking, " Pen Panha, chairman of the national assembly's legislation and justice commission, said during the debate.

The extradition agreement was signed by the two countries' foreign ministers on October 22, 2009 in Phnom Penh during the official visit of the President of South Korea Lee Myung-bak in Cambodia.

Cambodia has signed extradition agreement with China, Australia, Laos, and Thailand.

Ang Vong Vathana, the justice minister said that the ministry also plans to sign extradition agreements with countries such as Russia, India and other countries.

After the debate, all the 97 lawmakers during the session unanimously passed the extradition agreement.

Army extends help to Cambodia


via CAAI

Published: 26/11/2010 :

The army has donated 300,000 baht to Cambodia to provide assistance to families of festival-goers killed and injured in a riverside stampede on Monday night.

Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha handed the donation to Col Tea Sorachhay, the Cambodian military attache to Thailand on Friday.

The army also offered its condolences to the victims and their families.

Panic spread through a crowd using a bridge to reach an island in the Bassac River in Phnom Penh for the annual festival marking the reversal of the flow of water between Tong Le Sap lake and the Mekhong River, resulting in a stampede which killed 347 people and left hundreds more injured.

Malaysian couple arrested for allegedly abusing Cambodian maid

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/

via CAAI

Nov 26, 2010

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian police have detained a man and his wife for allegedly beating and whipping their Cambodian maid for almost a year, a newspaper reported Friday.

The unnamed couple, aged 42 and 43, were arrested late Wednesday, a day after the maid ran away from their Kuala Lumpur home and sought help from a neighbour to alert the police, said district acting police chief Abdul Rahim Hamzah Othman.

The 25-year-old maid, who has been working for the couple for slightly over a year, told police she had been abused since January, he said.

'Initial investigations revealed that the couple used a stick and wire to beat the maid,' Abdul Rahim was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper.

He said the alleged victim had bruises on her hands, feet and body, adding that she received treatment at the hospital and was now staying at the employment agency pending investigations.

Police said the maid's employers are likely to be charged with causing injuries with a weapon.

Malaysia is home to more than 320,000 foreign domestic workers, mostly from Indonesia and the Philippines but with a growing number from its less-affluent neighbours Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Rights groups say the maids lack protection under labour laws and claim that every year, hundreds of maids lodge complaints against their employers, ranging from physical abuse to nonpayment of salaries.

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press


via CAAI

EL Salvador Newly-Appointed Ambassador Presents Credentials to the King

Phnom Penh, November 26, 2010 AKP -- His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia received here on Nov. 24 credentials from the newly-appointed Ambassador of El Salvador to Cambodia H.E. Ignacio Zamora Rivas.

Speaking on occasion, King Norodom Sihamoni thanked the government and people of El Salvador for their support to the Cambodian nation and expressed his hope that the ties of friendship and bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and El Salvador will be further strengthened and consolidated.

In reply, the newly-appointed ambassador thanked the Cambodian monarch for granting the royal audience to him.

He pledged to do his best to strengthen the friendship, relationship, and close cooperation between both countries during his diplomatic mission in Cambodia. --AKP

(By CHEA Vannak)

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Foreign Humanitarian Assistance to Victims of Koh Pich Tragedy

Phnom Penh, November 26, 2010 AKP -- The Chinese government has extended US$500,000 to Cambodia to help the victims of the Koh Pich stampede tragedy last Monday.

The donation was given here today to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers H.E. Sok An by the Embassy of China in Cambodia.

In addition, the Chinese Red Cross Society last Wednesday donated US$50,000 humanitarian aid to the Cambodian Red Cross for the same purpose.

For its part, the French government has decided to provide a humanitarian assistance in medicine and medical equipment with the total value of 10,000 Euro (about US$13,300) to Calmette and Kossamak Hospitals in Phnom Penh, said a press release of the Embassy of France dated Nov. 25.

The assistance will be used to help the injured victims of the tragedy in the two hospitals, it added.

On the same day, Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, sent a condolence message and handed over 2 billion VND (more than US$100,000) to the Embassy of Cambodia in Vietnam, according to Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

Earlier on Nov. 24, Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam also provided US$50,000 medical equipment and some US$100,000 to Phnom Penh Municipality to assist the victims.

In addition, the Embassy of Vietnam in Cambodia has contributed US$3,000, collected from the embassy’s personnel and Vietnamese charitable people in Cambodia, to help the victims of the tragic incident.

The stampede tragedy occurred on the night of Nov. 22 on Pich Bridge of Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Center in Phnom Penh when millions of Cambodian people were celebrating the last day of the annual Water Festival, leaving 347 dead and 395 injured. --AKP

(By KHAN Sophirom)

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Stampede Accident Not to Affect Tourism Industry: Spokesman

Phnom Penh, November 26, 2010 AKP -- The Cambodian government said Thursday that the large casualties in human lives resulted from a stampede accident during Water Festival will not affect the country's tourism industry.

Chinese News Agency Xinhua quoted Phay Siphan, spokesman of the Office of the Council of Ministers, as saying that tourism industry will not be affected by this accident.

He said it was just an accident and that had nothing related to terrorism, security or safety of foreign tourists.

Phay Siphan said foreign tourists are safe to travel to Cambodia at all time and they can enjoy cultural, and eco-tourism in the country, especially the visit to Angkor Wat temples complex, one of the world's attractive destinations.

He added that Cambodia is a peaceful country without having had any natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanoes, or tsunami.

In the stampede accident occurred on Monday night, the last day of the three-day Water Festival held in Phnom Penh, 347 Cambodians died and 395 others were injured.

The stampede occurred at a small bridge linking to Koh Pich Island, and thousands of people were on this bridge when the accident took place.

Cambodia is promoting tourism industry because it is one of the largest income earners for the nation.

Cambodia is proud to see her tourism industry has gradually improved from year to year and this sector contributes “10 percent to GDP”.

Cambodia's Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has announced that his government has set tourism as one of the priority sectors for his country's rectangular strategy for development, saying it is considered as “green gold” which is helping alleviate the good living standard of the people, especially, those who are living in the touristic sites.

Statistic provided by Ministry of Tourism said in seven months this year, 1.4 million foreign tourists visited the country.

The number showed a significant increase of 13.85 percent compared to the same period in 2009.

It is expected that Cambodia will receive around 2.4 million tourist arrivals in 2010, an increase of approximately 12 percent. --AKP

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S. Korea Confers Honorary Cup upon Cambodia

Phnom Penh, November 26, 2010 AKP -- South Korea has conferred an Honorary Cup upon Cambodia for a good partnership in receiving loans and using proper loans, according to a news release of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the Export-Import Bank of Korea gave the Cup to Cambodia through Mr. Chhieng Yanara, Cambodian delegate minister attached to the prime minister and general secretary of the Cambodia Rehabilitation and Development Board at a time when he participated in the first Asian Development Cooperation Meeting held on Nov. 18-19 in Seoul, the Republic of Korea.

The cup was offered to the good partnership due to the great endeavor made by Cambodia in cooperation with the Republic of Korea in the national economic development in Cambodia under the leadership of Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, said the news release.

The cup also showed the prestige of Cambodia on the international arena in the national development and the poverty reduction.

Moreover, it reflected the strong cooperation between the two nations as partnerships.

The Asian Development Cooperation Meeting takes place every year in South Korea to discuss assistance for the world’s impoverished countries. --AKP

(By THOU Peou)

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18th Meeting of ASEAN Task Force On AIDS Held in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, November 26, 2010 AKP -- The 18th Meeting of the ASEAN Task Force On AIDS (ATFOA) was kicked off here yesterday at Phnom Penh Hotel under the presidency of H.E. Dr. Mam Bun Heng, minister of Health.

The meeting was attended by AIDS program officials from nine ASEAN countries.

The two-day meeting is aimed to find ways to reduce HIV/AIDS spreading in the region and to prepare the fourth strategic plan for 2011-2015.

According to a report of UNAIDS, there were 1.58 million people living with HIV/AIDS in 2008 in the region, of them 25 percent were young people aged 15 to 24 and 75 percent of transmission cases were found in the high-risk groups including drug users, Men having sex with Men (MSM), sex workers and their clients, said Mrs. Dr. Patchara Sirivongrangson, head of Disease Control Department of Thai Ministry of Public Health.

Cambodian Health Minister H.E. Mam Bun Heng said Cambodia is one of the successful countries in the region in fighting HIV/AIDS. The prevalence rate among adults aged 15 to 49 decreased from 2 percent in 1998 to 0.7 percent in 2010, he said.

Up to the third quarter of 2010, some 41,669 people living with HIV/AIDS received ARV, among them 4,003 were children, or 90 percent of those in need of ARV. --AKP

(By LIM Nary)

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Labor Demand Rising in Rattanakiri

Phnom Penh, November 26, 2010 AKP -- Increasing companies investing in especially agricultural sector in Rattanakiri encounter labor shortage, while other production aspects are not their concerns.

With just around 150,000 residents, 25 to 30 percent of whom are temporary migrants, Rattanakiri cannot supply sufficient labor for many big plantations of cassava, rubber, bean, and cashew. As a result, labor cost in the province is increasingly high.

Some companies have managed to bring hundreds of families who reside in other provinces to their plantations in Rattanakiri, yet they cannot keep them at this mountainous and remote province for long.

According to administration director of Rattanakiri provincial hall Nap Bunheng, as many as thousands of workforces are in demand in agricultural sector, let alone tourism which is also an advantage of this northeastern province of Cambodia. --AKP

(By MOM Chan Dara Soleil)

EL Salvador Newly-Appointed Ambassador Presents Credentials to the King

Prahok flock


Photo by: Rick Valenzuela

via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:02 Uong Ratana

Fishemen in boats and along the banks of the Tonle Sap river hunt for the schools of small, silveryfish that will be fermented and transformed into the national delicacy.

Keeping an epidemic at bay


Photo by: AFP
An anti-retroviral drug on display at a California pharmacy. A new UNAIDS report shows substantial drops in new infections.

via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:02 Thomas Miller

THE global AIDS epidemic is now being reversed, according to the 2010 Global Report of UNAIDS released on Tuesday, though challenges remain.

For the estimated 33.3 million who currently live with HIV, as well as those at risk of infection in the future, the fight is not yet over. The report acknowledged stigma, discrimination, a flat-lining of funding for the AIDS response and lack of access to treatment for an estimated 10 million who need it as serious obstacles. Nevertheless, “the world has turned a corner”, the report said.

Cambodia received a United Nations award this year for success in battling the epidemic. According to UNAIDS, the adult HIV prevalence declined to 0.5 percent in 2009, down from 1.2 percent in 2001.

But various factors recently reported – including alarming practices among at-risk youth and a potential loss of generic medicine from a looming India-EU trade pact –indicate the risk of resurgence lingers.

UNAIDS Country Director Tony Lisle spoke with The Post about the against fight against HIV/AIDS in Cambodia.

What’s the bottom line for Cambodia with regard to this report
The bottom line is we’re certainly one of the 56 countries that have stabilised and declined in rates of new HIV infections.

The report strikes an optimistic tone, but there are some serious challenges ahead. How should we read this in Cambodia?
I think the report basically resonates well with the situation in Cambodia. As far as UNAIDS is concerned, I think we cannot be complacent, and that is also the position of the Royal Government, and in particular the National Aids Authority.

We’re also seeing saturated concentrated epidemics. For injecting drug users, for example, we have a prevalence rate of 24.4 percent, which is very worrying. In any key population with over 5 percent prevalence, that’s a source of concern, because a concentrated epidemic in that population [is an] opportunity for the epidemic to grow.

If we look at men who have sex with men, the latest data we have is a prevalence rate of 5.1 percent, and the most recent data on sex workers shows around 14.7 percent prevalence.

So we continue to have stubborn and concentrated epidemics, and if we don’t continue to see high rates – 80 percent plus – of consistent condom use amongst these populations, and if we don’t see continuing capacity to have full coverage for antiretroviral treatment for all those in need, we could see a new wave of infections, we could see another epidemic.

India and the EU are working on a trade pact that could restrict access to cheap generic medicines. What will be the impact on Cambodia?
This is a global issue. There are many countries that benefit enormously from generic drug production in India, not only for opportunistic infections but also anti-retroviral treatment. There are very specific exemptions under the TRIPS formula, [the WTO agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights], to ensure compulsory licensing, to ensure that countries will continue to enjoy the import of generics from India. Now we would hope that the [free trade agreement], if and when it is signed, will ensure that those exemptions will apply.

There is no doubt that if Cambodia does not have access to cheap antiretroviral therapy drugs, or to cheap generics for opportunistic infections, and also allied generics for example for TB treatment, then we’ll have some extremely significant challenges.

[In Cambodia,] there are 67,000 people living with HIV, 37,000 on treatment and 10,000 projected to be on treatment. Cambodia has done a remarkable job in getting over 95 percent of those in need on treatment.

We need to ensure that we continue to enjoy affordable treatment options.

The importance of human rights was stressed in this report. What would be the impact on the fight against HIV if the Cambodian government closed down the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights?
I couldn’t comment on the question. The OHCHR works closely with all the partners … and we continue to enjoy their contribution to the response to HIV and their technical expertise.

How about off the record?
I don’t comment off the record.

Is the fight against HIV improving the health system in Cambodia more generally? How so?
Hugely. I think the fact that the work we’re doing for linked response prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is actually strengthening overall results for maternal and newborn health. It’s actually HIV dollars that have rekindled and regenerated paediatric health care in Cambodia.

Through paediatric AIDS care, we now have something like 20 operational district referral hospitals that now have comprehensive pediatric health care referral facilities.

We’re seeing a lot more women coming for HIV testing and being referred to other health services.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
When we think about Cambodia emerging from years of genocide and the years of challenges it has faced in building a stable, secure society, and facing the most serious epidemic in the region with 2 percent [infected with HIV], the achievements were and are remarkable. The important thing is to build on them.

interview by Thomas Miller

State grants three groups ethnic status


via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:02 Chhay Channyda

Government officials have identified 21 communities of indigenous peoples from two provinces in Cambodia as ethnic minority groups, with a further 10 communities awaiting similar approval.

Seng Narong, a consultant at the Department of Ethnic Minority Development at the Ministry of Rural Development, said yesterday during the sixth National Forum on Indigenous Participation in Development that the 21 groups in Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces were approved as ethnic minorities.

The recognition of their ethnic minority status makes them eligible for officials to register their communal lands and preserve their cultures.

“It means we recognise them as Kreung, Tumpuon and Jarai ethnic minority groups,” he said, and added that the government had been working on the three communal land registrations since 2009 and that a further 10 communities would be recognised by the end of the year.

But more than 100 representatives from indigenous groups across 15 provinces gathered outside the forum to express their concerns that their rights have been violated by economic land concessions awarded by the government to local businessmen.

Fired reporters to get payment from RFA


via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday ordered Radio Free Asia to pay collective indemnity to two broadcast reporters who were fired without notice last year.

Presiding judge Oeung Sien ordered RFA to pay US$44,946 to former reporter Ath Bony, who had worked for the media organisation for 12 years prior to his termination. Thai Sophea, who was fired after serving four years at RFA, was awarded US$12,482.

The payments took into account unpaid annual leave, future earnings, court costs and damages.

Sum Chamrong, a lawyer representing both complainants, said his clients were happy with the verdict.

“We applaud the court’s verdict, which is acceptable and right and in accordance with the labour law,” he said. “The court’s decision has followed the Arbitration Council’s decisions and those made by lower labour departments.”

He said he hoped the RFA “would follow the court’s conviction and voluntarily pay all indemnity money to the two reporters”.

Ath Bony said the decision provided justice for him and Thai Sophea.

“The decision will ensure all public enterprises and private companies ... to follow the labour law,” he said.

Hem Hounarith, a lawyer representing RFA, said he “was not happy” with the verdict, because he lost.

“But it is normal for the judicial court to have winners and losers,” he said.

“I will give time to my client to decide whether or not to appeal the verdict.”

Workers want refund


via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:02 Buth Reaksmeay Kongkea

WORKERS from Kandal province who filed a complaint against a company for failing to provide job placements in Thailand aren now refusing to collect work visas that have just been prepared by the company, a police official said yesterday.

The workers said they have been waiting too long for jobs from the labor placement firm CDM Trading Manpower Company, and lost other work opportunities as a result, said Ros Savin, chief of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department in Kandal province, adding that they have demanded their money back with interest.

Forty-two workers filed a complaint earlier this month against the company alleging fraud and breach of trust, saying that they each paid US$150 for help securing employment in Thailand, but had seen no results for six months.

Kandal police officials interviewed all 42 workers as part of an investigation into the matter and confirmed the payment had been received by the company.

“We have just completed our investigation this week”, Ros Savin said. “We have found that all workers in fact paid $150 to CDM Trading Manpower Company, and the company’s representatives also recognised that they have received this money for finding jobs.

Touch Manak, General Manager of the Toek Thla branch of CDM, said the company had prepared passports for the workers as well as arrangements to work with various construction companies in Thailand.
“They can leave for work this December”, he said.

He declined to offer details about the companies or where precisely they operate.

Touch Manak said 18 visas had arrived as of yesterday, and the rest would be ready on December 10. He blamed delays on political tensions between Cambodia and Thailand.

Ros Savin said the police had urged both parties to reach a compromise and resolve the issue.

Novak trial postponed by court


via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

PREAH Sihanouk provincial court yesterday postponed the announcement of a verdict in the case against a German national charged with committing indecent acts against two underage boys last year, because both the suspect and his lawyer were absent.

Walter Orson Novak, 46, was arrested in March last year from a guesthouse in Sihanoukville, where he was renting a room.

He is accused of taking the boys down to a beach on multiple occasions to molest them, and paying them up to US$5 each time, according to a statement released by child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants.

He was freed on bail after serving a month of pretrial detention.

Presiding Judge In Manith said yesterday that a request from defence lawyer Khun Sophal, who called the court earlier and said that he could not attend because he was busy mourning the dead at Diamond Island, was granted without scheduling a new date.

Nuon Phanith, a lawyer provided to the victims by the child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said he was “disappointed and bored” by the court’s decision to postpone the verdict.

“It is unreasonable, even thought the defence lawyer was absent,” he said.

“It must go ahead because it was just the verdict.”

Defence lawyer Khun Sophal could not be reached for comment yesterday.

If the court finds him guilty, Novak faces one to three years in prison.

Police Blotter: 26 Nov 2010


via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:02 Phak Seangly

Three arrested for murder at celebration
Stung Treng provincial police on Monday arrested three men suspected of killing a man during a local celebration in Thala Barivat district. Police said that four men caused an argument when they joined the festival held at a pagoda last Saturday. One thing led to another, and a man was found dead soon after. Police said the main suspect, believed to be the son of a local government official, fled the scene and has since evaded arrest. The three detained suspects were sent to the provincial court for further questioning. KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Two men nabbed for punching wobbly dancerTwo men were arrested in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district on Monday after being accused of injuring a man during a dance party on Saturday night. Police said the victim was dancing the night away when he accidentally bumped some nearby music equipment, which fell to the ground. He neglected to pick it up, and the suspects approached him, demanding an explanation. An argument ensued, during which the victim was punched in the nose. The suspects were sent to court, but denied the charges. KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Military official found to have died in sleep
A 52-year-old deputy military police chief in Stung Treng’s Thala Barivat district was found dead in his home on Wednesday. The victim’s wife, 19, said her husband had shown no signs of illness, but she sent him to hospital after trying to wake him up. A doctor claimed the victim was dead before he arrived at hospital, and that a stroke was the probable cause. KOH SANTEPHEAP

Stepfather questioned over rape of 7-year-old
A 45-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of raping his 7-year-old stepdaughter in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district. Police said the victim was living with her stepfather after her mother was detained on charges of intentionally injuring her a few months ago. At around 10pm on Monday, the suspect allegedly raped the girl, who immediately told her grandmother. Police later arrested the suspect, who confessed to the accusations. KOH SANTEPHEAP

Jewellery seller nabbed on suspicion of robbery
Police stopped a man as he attempted to sell jewellery to a jewellery shop in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district on Tuesday. Having received reports from a woman that her jewellery had been stolen by her male housemaid, police began to question the man on why he was selling four small packages to the shop. Their suspicions were confirmed when the man admitted to stealing the jewellery – worth an estimated US$10,000 – from the woman. KOH SANTEPHEAP

The Phnom Penh Post News in Brief


via CAAI

White ribbon campaign

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs yesterday launched a white ribbon campaign to end domestic violence against women. “Our campaign will start to educate students in six universities and distribute leaflets to inform people … that we have to work together to end domestic violence,” said Sy Define, secretary of state at the ministry. The campaign runs through December 10.

Condom-carrying monk

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear

A 24-year-old Buddhist monk was detained in Siem Reap for carrying condoms and sex magazines in his bag last Friday, said Heng Sum, deputy chief of the Siem Reap Police yesterday, adding that the monk was later defrocked for his behaviour. “The monk was sent to the chief of Por Langka Pagoda in Siem Reap where he was given a lecture and punished. Later the same day he was dismissed from the pagoda,” Sum said.

Owners of half-built casino ‘taste’ Ratanakkiri market


via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:02 Soeun Say

THE operators of a half-built US$3.5 million casino in Ratanakkiri province have opened in a temporary gambling centre in order to “taste the market” in northern Cambodia.

The operation – billed as the province’s first – will run for three months along the border with Vietnam, beginning today.

Officials from Vietnam and Ratanakkiri’s provincial authorities have been invited to an opening ceremony, in which five gaming tables will be opened before the casino is completed.

“We will open for three months to taste the market,” said Bee Chivoan Dara, representative from casino owners Try Pheap Import Export Company.

“We’re focusing on attracting clients from Vietnam,” he said, adding the firm would also look to gamblers from other countries such as Malaysia and China in the future.

Three stories of the six-storey Try Pheap Mittapheap Casino Entertainment Resort had been completed on some 150 hectares of land in Ratanakkiri’s O’Yadao district, about one kilometre from the Vietnamese border, he said.

“We want to develop the area to become famous, like Bavet City,” he said, referring to the popular gambling destination in Southern Cambodia’s Svay Reing province, near the Vietnamese border.

“This is the first casino in Ratanakkiri province. We hope it will attract lots of people,” he added.

The project – owned by Cambodian tycoon Try Pheap – would also include residential housing, a business centre, warehouses, a market and a bus station. Bee Chivoan Dara declined to comment on the cost of the entire project, but said the $3.5 million casino had received an official licence in 2005.

Officials from the Ministry of Economy and Finance – which is charged with managing the Kingdom’s casinos – declined to comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, Ratanakkiri provincial Adhoc coordinator Pen Bonnar said the provincial police had cracked down on a separate, unlicensed gambling site near the Try Pheap Mittapheap site on his petition.

The new Try Pheap Mittapheap had a licence to operate, he said, but added that opening the casino without completing the final building seemed unusual.

“I don’t understand why [they] are opening for a ‘tasting’ without a building,” he said.

“It will be hard to attract clients here, as the checkpoint [in Ratanakkiri province] with Vietnam is very quiet, not like Bavet City.”

Soaring demand for labour


Photo by: Sovan Philong
Workers trained by a local employment agency look back at relatives last year as they leave to take up jobs in Malaysia.

---------------------------------------------------------They trust the workers’ productivity, their respect for discipline and that they don’t run away from work.
---------------------------------------------------------
via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:01 May Kunmakara

THE numbers of migrant workers leaving Cambodia for Malaysia and Thailand have soared so far this year, according to recruitment agents, despite welfare concerns.

Data released by the Association of Cambodia Recruitment Agencies to The Post showed that 22,425 workers left the Kingdom from January to October, compared to just 11,657 during the whole of 2009.

The sharp increase has coincided with mounting concern over the fate of Cambodian domestic workers in Malaysia, fuelled by a spate of complaints.

Earlier this year, rights group Adhoc said it has had 28 complaints from women claiming to have been abused while working as domestic servants, most of whom were based in Malaysia.

Nevertheless, demand for labour remains high.

An Bun Hak, president of ACRA, said that the reliability and strong work commitment of Cambodian workers meant that Malaysian employers were asking for more and more labour to be provided by the Kingdom.

“Now, we stand fifth [in terms of worker numbers] among the countries which send workers to Malaysia.

Employers “trust the workers’ productivity, their respect for discipline and that they don’t run away from work”, he said.

The data showed the number of workers going to Malaysia reached 14,339 in the first 10 months of this year, compared to a total of 8,114 in 2009. Of these, 4,341 people were working in factories and 9,998 in housekeeping.

Meanwhile, 8,086 workers left for Thailand in the first 10 months, up from 3,543 last year.

According to An Bun Hak, the rise illustrated a move for illegal workers to apply for legal employment permits.

Labour demand, according to the organisation, is set to increase next year.

ACRA orders are on the rise, with Malaysia set to require 30,000 workers from Cambodia next year, and Thailand 50,000.

Pay conditions could also improve, An Bun Hak said.

He expected that salaries of Malaysia-bound workers would rise, as Chinese labourers return to their homeland due to an increase in domestic wages in the People’s Republic.

“Some employers have confirmed that salaries will be three times higher,” he said.

Salaries for workers going to Thailand and Malaysia currently range from between $180 to $350 per month, according to ACRA.

European Union tariffs are tailor-made for garments


via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:01 Steve Finch

IN many ways the European Union’s recent revision of its own rules on preferential tariffs for least-developed countries is tailor-made for Cambodia’s all-important garment industry.

The new tariff system announced last week offers far greater leeway on country-of-origin status – meaning that countries that import raw materials before adding value, such as Cambodia, can still enjoy significant tax breaks when exporting to the EU.

From next year, added value needs be just 30 percent, down from 70 percent previously, which overly discriminated against countries unable to supply their own raw materials. The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia estimates that the vast majority of garments to the EU will enjoy zero tariffs as a result of the new measures compared to less than half at the moment.

Although Cambodia’s main rivals Vietnam and Bangladesh will also benefit from the change in rules they do not rely so heavily on imported raw materials – Vietnam imports about 70 percent of its materials for garment production, for example, whereas Cambodia sources almost all required fabric from overseas.

The revision of these regulations, which better reflect a world economy that has diversified in terms of sourcing materials, allows Cambodia increased competitive advantage in a market with significant room for growth.

Whereas, Bangladesh sends nearly 60 percent of its total exports to EU countries already, for Cambodia this market represents less than a quarter of all shipments, according to official data for the first nine months of this year.

Greater access to the EU remains of paramount importance for Cambodia given the bloc’s size and scope, which is increasing all the time. Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Iceland and Serbia are all currently in negotiations to join the EU.

On the downside Cambodia has to make sure the EU’s relaxation of country-of-origin rules does not promote lethargy in terms of developing all-important light industry that can help provide raw materials for the domestic garment sector.

Economic analysts regularly cite the lack of fabric producers in Cambodia as one of the main structural weaknesses within the country’s garment export supply chain.

The EU’s revision of rules on tax preferences reduces the motivation for Cambodia to establish fabric production capacity when the longer term health of the sector is surely reliant on greater self-sufficiency.

The most mature garment exporting nations such as China, India and Taiwan have all developed supporting fabric industries – to follow suit should remain a target for Cambodia.

What the EU rule change does do is exactly what it was supposed to achieve all along: Afford least-developed countries lacking a wide export base the chance to enjoy zero or low tariffs on their goods so that they can build these industries.

It took Europe a long time to get this policy right but from January 1, when the new regulations take effect, Cambodia will be in a prime position to take full advantage.

KR survivor keeps on helping others


Photo by: Craig Miles
Ronnie Yimsut continues to work toward a better Cambodia after surviving the reign of the Khmer Rouge.

via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:46 Craig Miles

One of Siem Reap’s favourite sons, US-based Ronnie Yimsut, is in town celebrating his 49th birthday today and overseeing one of his many projects, the construction of the massive Bakong Technical College on the edge of town.

A survivor of the Khmer Rouge, his story is chilling, remarkable and inspiring. As a boy, he was captured in 1977 and taken to Tonle Sap Lake in 1978 with his family and others, and became the only survivor in his group. He lived in the forest for 17 days before heading with a group of escapees to the Thai border, where they were detained in a Thai prison then sent to a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border.

It wasn’t until Brian Ellis from CBS News turned up at the camp that Yimsut’s life began to turn around. Ellis made a documentary titled, What Happened to Cambodia, which featured Yimsut.

A cousin in the US saw the documentary and contacted him. Yimsut was then sponsored to travel to the States, where he finished high school and graduated from the University of Oregon. He

is now a landscape architect for the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

“A psychologist once told me I look for ways to cope with what happened to my family and I during the Khmer Rouge regime, so I try to make the world a peaceful place,” he remembers. “I seek solitude, nature and mentally to be in a good environment. Landscape architecture and working with the forestry department gives me that,” says Yimsut.

Besides this passion, Yimsut’s other obsession is working with not-for-profit organisations. In 2003 he became the project coordinator for the CowBank project, where donors can purchase a cow for an underprivileged Cambodian family. He also started a micro-lending project in Siem Reap in the same year, enabling residents to borrow money for a small amount of interest.

He also serves as an advisor for the Cambodian-American Community of Oregon, and is the international projects coordinator for Project Enlighten. Now, however, most of Yimsut’s energy is invested in his Siem Reap technical college project, of which he is the founder and chair.

Speaking at the construction site of the Bakong Technical College, he said: “The local people are impressed. They are fully embracing the project.”

Being a creative architect, Yimsut enjoys pushing the boundaries with his designs and his American way of thinking is also personified by his philosophy to give women a greater chance to study and work at the college.

“The goal is to help women in remote areas because they are the ones that run the economy, the ones that run the households, and yet they are not being educated enough. We want to give them that opportunity.”

When in Siem Reap, he often revisits the lake where his KR tragedy unfolded.

“I was there only yesterday,” he said. “In front of many people, I broke down. The wounds are still raw. I may become a Buddhist monk as payback and to honour my family, but this is my hatred.”

Ronnie Yimsut has written a book called Facing the Khmer Rouge, A Cambodian Journey, which will be available to buy this spring.

You’ve been punked!


At Robiep in all their punk-rock glory.

via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:41 Nicky McGavin

The Reap’s recently buzzing music scene is about to get a peculiar French twist this weekend, with three gigs by the delightful, and occasionally demented, band At Robiep.

The trio from Sihanoukville will perform at Abacus tonight at 9pm, at Aqua bar on Saturday at 8pm, and at 9pm at X-Bar on Monday, November 29.

Bob Passion is the lead singer and songwriter and he’s as ebullient as his name suggests. He’s accompanied by Tonton Ian on bass and a certain Mr Robot on drums.

The band will be playing songs from their album, Peur de Rien, which was recorded in Phnom Penh last year by Kanlat Rik Rié, the forebear of At Robiep.
“I don’t know why/ I was always twisted,”

is one of the refrains from “Tête-Brulée”, the wonderfully melodic lament about a waster. The song is written by Passion, who says while it is not autobiographical (mostly), it is a good start for describing his music.

What the band plays is good twisted. “We do it the French way,” says Passion. “The thing is we don’t take it too seriously; different from the English way. We are more like the clowns who make music.”

Clowns aren’t often this musically talented, though a wicked sense of humour is definitely a strong feature of the band.

The aforementioned “Tête-Brulée” is one of the band’s few quiet songs. Most of their musical repertoire consists of songs that are high energy, highly quirky and punk-rock influenced, and there certainly seems to be an Adam and the Ants fan lurking in the mix there somewhere.

As well as their own music, the band also does covers of The Ramones, Iggy Pop, The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks, and Lords Of The High Church, who Passion cites as an influence on their music. “But we always do it our way,” says Passion. “We are not just copiers. We always try to keep a smile on what we’re doing. Nothing is that important.”

The band’s version of “I Will Survive” is rendered in Polish, which oddly adds a deeper edge to the vengeful tone of the song. And that’s just one of the languages the band features. Songs are also sung in English, French, Portuguese, Italian and Khmer. Passion even composes in Khmer, “but not with the Khmer alphabet,” he laughs, as though that detracts from the feat. “It’s important to show to my students though that it can be done,” he says in relation to Bob’s House of Rock, an NGO in Sihanoukville of which he is the founder and that merged with M’lop Tapang. The organisation focuses on education, vocational training and shelter with a strong emphasis on the creative arts as a means for building children’s development and confidence.

Bronze slips through Chov Sotheara’s grasp


Photo by: AFP
Gold medallist So Sim-Hyang of North Korea poses on the podium of the women’s freestyle 48kg wrestling final.

via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

Cambodia’s 27-year-old wrestler Chov Sotheara fell foul to the guiles of South Korea’s Kim Hyungjoo in their women’s 48kg freestyle bronze medal playoff at the Guangzhou Asian Games yesterday.

The pair produced a tense grip and grime contest before Sotheara began to feel the pinch under her Korean rival’s superior technique.

A technical points score of 5-0 in favour of Kim saw her opponent become the second Cambodian contender to be denied a medal when victory would’ve guaranteed bronze. Sorn Davin was shut out in her women’s taekwondo quarterfinal last Saturday.

In her first bout yesterday at the Guangdong Gymnasium, Chov Sotheara had been in sparkling form when she crossed paths with Jambora Maribel of the Philippines. After snatching a four-technical points lead in the first two periods, it was evident Sotheara had done enough to advance.

In the quarterfinals, she came a cropper against Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Lua, but gained another shot at the bronze medal after winning her repechage match 3-1 over Thailand’s Tho-Kaew Sriprapa.

The women’s 48kg freestyle event was won by So Sim Hyang of North Korea, who beat Nguyen Thi Lua in the final yesterday.

Cambodia’s last chance of a wrestling success in Guangzhou now lies in the hands of Try Sothavy who faces Mio Nishimaki of Japan in a women’s 63kg freestyle last 16 bout scheduled for this morning.

Also in action today is Hem Bunting, who will attempt to grab a medal in the men’s 10,000m race. The popular Cambodian distance runner is also slated to compete in tomorrow’s marathon event on the last day of the Asian Games in Guangzhou.

Past students showcase their worldwide views


via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:00 Craig Miles

ORGANISERS of the Angkor Photo Festival say tomorrow’s final night will be the most important highlights because work from past and current students from the festival workshops will be shown.

Festival coordinator Camille Plante said organisers were excited to see the work that the 30 young Asian photographers at the workshop had completed, which will be shown at the FCC Angkor, Siem Reap.
“All the students and teachers will be there and it will be an interesting moment,” she said.

A camera and a video camera from Canon will be given away to the best story produced during the workshop. The winning work will be featured in The Phnom Penh Post.

Judges include Françoise Callier, festival coordinator; Sylvie Grumbach, director of press agency 2e Bureau; photographer and Sub Editor Will Baxter from The Phnom Penh Post; Vincent Wong from IQlick; and Matthieu Rytz, founder and director of Anthropographia.

Plante said another festival first was to show work from previous annual workshops. “There will be 12 photographers’ work shown from previous years, dating back from the festival beginning in 2005.”

She also said many of the previous photographers involved with the workshop had excelled in the photographic industry, especially Munem Wasif from Bangladesh who had won numerous awards.

Among those featured are Sohrab Hura showing a series on the children of Pati, and Kosuke Okahara, with brutal images of life in Medellin.

Plante said the night would end with a “big, big party’ to relax and celebrate”. DJ Illest and DJ Marco will entertain the crowd. The night begins at 8pm.

Quake aftermath in focus


via CAAI

Friday, 26 November 2010 15:00 Craig Miles

LAST night’s slideshow at the Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap presented photos by Jehsong Baak at the FCC Angkor Hotel.

A South Korean who moved to the United States and then to Paris, Baak only photographs at night and says the most interesting aspect of his work is the small amount of light that comes through in his pictures.

“There is a great deal of black in my work,” he says. “I take snapshots from daily life. I try and take ordinary situations and places and transform them into something enigmatic and magical if possible.”

Photos from Baak’s book titled Là ou Ailleurs, (Here or Elsewhere) were shown at the slideshow. Baak says the photos show aspects of his personal life and family background.

Also shown were photos from his new book, which is tentatively named Night After Night, of his stay in Paris since he moved there 12 years ago.

Curator of the slideshows Françoise Callier said Baak’s work was very “arty and beautiful”.

Other photos on show include scenes from the aftermath of the Haiti earthquakes.

The Haiti earthquake on January 12, 2010, caused nearly 250,000 deaths and a huge amount of homelessness. Four different photographers were showcased, all documenting at different stages of the aftermath.

Liu Lung covered the aftermath for homeless people in the weeks following it, while Riccardo Venturi is working on a long-term project, revisiting the island occasionally.

Andrew Berends spent time with 3,000 refugees made homeless in the capital who travelled by ship to Jeremie, along the beautiful Grand Anse River, to start a new life. Benjamin Lowy was in Haiti days after the earthquake to document the immediate aftermath.

Also on display at the slideshow were shots by Luca Zanetti from Switzerland, who documented the Colombian government’s forensic anthropology team looking for more than 25,000 people missing after the nation’s 45-year-old civil war.

Photos by American photographer Paula Bronstein rounded out the evening, documenting Mongolia’s worst winter in over 30 years. More than two million head of livestock perished, with many people resorting to live in sewers due to a lack of homeless shelters, to survive outside temperatures of -25C.

PM overcome by grief


via CAAI

Thursday, 25 November 2010 21:52 POST STAFF

Cambodians across the country observed a day of mourning yesterday for the victims of Monday’s Diamond Island stampede, as questions remained about the ultimate cause of and responsibility for the disaster.

Government officials said on Wednesday that the death toll had reached 456, though that number was revised downward yesterday to 347.

Senior Minister Om Yentieng, the deputy chairman of the government commission investigating the incident, said yesterday that the toll provided a day earlier by the investigatory sub-commission had double-counted some victims who were brought to local hospitals before being returned to their home provinces.

Government officials gathered yesterday morning at the site of the tragedy, where Prime Minister Hun Sen shed tears as he knelt to pay respect to the souls of the deceased.

“The loss of such a huge number of lives in just a fraction of time and at a single location is unprecedented in years of history of our celebration of national and international festivities,” the government said in an official statement issued at the mourning ceremony. “This tragic, untimely and unexpected loss of many lives will remain a bitter and painful memory for Cambodia.”

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema, whose resignation opposition leaders have called for in the wake of Monday’s incident, told reporters at the mourning ceremony yesterday that the tragedy was “a huge lesson for me and other authorities in preparing for such large events in the future”.

“This is an incident that no one wanted to happen – it happened unpredictably,” he said.

Om Yentieng said the full investigation of the incident had not yet concluded, but preliminary findings indicated that the crush had ensued after the estimated 10,000 people on the 50 by 5 metre walkway leading to Diamond Island, or Koh Pich, panicked due to the swaying of the bridge.

The inquiry has been based “on the examination of corpses, injured people, witness statements and direct inspection of the site”, Om Yentieng said, adding that the probe is expected to be concluded next week.

Survivors have claimed that those trapped on the bridge received electric shocks from wiring on the structure, but Om Yentieng said this had yet to be substantiated. “The corpses and injured people did not show any sign of electrocution. The electric wires on the bridge were not broken and the lamps were still working.”

“Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen at the helm of the Royal Government of Cambodia has, with great compassion and shrewdness, ordered every competent authority to make all-out efforts to manage the situation and save lives,” the statement said.

Pung Khiav Se, director general of Canadia Bank and head of the firm developing the Koh Pich complex, told staff members on the island yesterday afternoon that the company should learn from Monday’s tragedy, though he denied responsibility for it. Government officials including Information Minister Khieu Kanharith have said the firm was responsible for security on the island and the bridges that service it, though company officials have blamed the government.

“Our Koh Pich is famous all over the world – not famous in a positive way, but famous in a negative way, even though it was not our mistake,” Pung Khiav Se said. On the suggestion of Kep Chuktema, he said, future traffic on the bridge would be one-way.

“If it had only been one way from the beginning, there would be no such incident,” Pung Khiav Se said. “We could not predict that there would be so many people like that.”

Peter Li, the country director of emergency response NGO Side by Side International, who was on the scene 45 minutes after Monday’s incident, said yesterday’s revised body count was likely more accurate than Wednesday’s reported total, as all bodies were taken immediately to the major hospitals in Phnom Penh.

Li said the mass panic explanation allowed for a diffusion of responsibility. “The simple fact is that whoever is in charge screwed up in crowd control,” Li said.

Beer gardens, nightclubs and other places of entertainment were ordered to close yesterday by the Ministry of Tourism.

Uncertainty over compensation


via CAAI

Thursday, 25 November 2010 22:23 James O’Toole and Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

AS the Kingdom observed a national day of mourning yesterday and funerals for victims of the Diamond Island stampede took place throughout the country, questions remained about how victims of Monday’s tragedy would be compensated for their suffering.

While the government has released preliminary findings of its investigation into the causes of the incident, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said yesterday that the full inquiry, expected next week, could include further details about the liability for Monday’s disaster.

“We set up an investigative committee. We have to check everything first about the main cause, and who will be responsible,” Khieu Kanharith said. “You have technical studies and legal studies.”

The issue of legal liability is one for which precedent is thin in Cambodian jurisprudence, said Ray Leos, a lawyer and dean of the media and communications department at Pannasastra University.

“The issue of tort law here is very, very much in its infancy,” Leos said. “Tort claims are really very rare here.”

In instances where potential liability exists in criminal or civil cases, Leos noted, disputes are typically settled with out-of-court cash payments.

The government has offered families of victims charitable payments of 5 million riels (US$1,227), while the Royal Family has offered donations of $400 to families of the dead and $200 for the injured. Diamond Island developer Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation has offered $1,000 to families of victims and $200 to the injured, payments that Diamond Island spokesman Charles Vann was quick to emphasise did not represent an admission of responsibility.

“We are not compensating,” Vann said. “We are just trying to help the community.”

Government officials have been offering payments to victims at City Hall and at local hospitals, where Diamond Island officials were also distributing donations.

Some families of victims, however, reported difficulty in securing the promised sums.

“I watched TV and saw that there were people giving money to the Diamond Island victims, but so far, my brother did not receive any money at all,” said Takeo province resident Seng Ung, whose brother was among those injured on Monday. “I don’t know how to get this money and I wonder where I can go to get it.”

Ung Samkhan, another Takeo resident whose brother was treated at Calmette Hospital following the stampede, said his family too had yet to receive any money.

“I am now waiting to see what the company will do about my brother’s injury and what other victims are going to do,” Ung Samkhan said. “I think I will sue this company for compensation if there are other people who agree to do this.”

A draft version of the Kingdom’s pending Civil Code, the law for the implementation of which was approved by the Council of Ministers earlier this month, includes provisions relating to negligence claims against both private and public officials. A 1988 decree on contracts and liabilities touches on the issue more briefly, stating that individuals or institutions shall be “liable in compensation… even where the damage is caused by involuntary acts such as carelessness or negligence”.

Sok Sam Oeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said it was possible that the developers of Diamond Island, or Koh Pich, could be held liable for Monday’s tragedy due to their “implied contract” with those patronising the site.

“Diamond Island, it is like a place for trade – they can get benefits from people going inside… so it is like a contact too,” Sok Sam Oeun said. “Koh Pich has responsibility to pay any compensation for any incident that happens by their negligence, if [a court] finds that they were negligent.”

Touch Samnang, project manager for the Diamond Island development, said his firm had lawyers and insurance in the event that it was faced with lawsuits from victims, though he called this an unlikely scenario.

“I think this was not our fault, and I do not expect that there will be any lawsuits against our company because we have paid money to the victims’ families,” he said.

The government said yesterday that 347 people had been killed in the stampede on Monday, with 395 injured. Khieu Kanharith and other officials have claimed that security and crowd control for the island were the responsibility of the developer, though Diamond Island project director Susi Tan said such responsibility fell to the government.

Sok Sam Oeun said his organisation was willing to offer assistance for victims hoping to pursue claims in relation to the incident, but added that it was unlikely that many such claims would be pursued successfully against either the firm or the government.

“I think that maybe they will [just] accept the money. I don’t think the people think they have a right to complain,” he said. “I think maybe not only the people, but the judge too – they will think that people must be responsible for themselves.”

Unions push garment factories to pay the deceased


via CAAI

Thursday, 25 November 2010 19:38 Mom Kunthear

The Cambodian Confederation of Unions sent a letter to the Garment Manufacturing Association of Cambodia on Wednesday to help ensure that the families of the workers who were killed in Diamond Island stampede would be compensated for outstanding wages.

“We are worried about the factory owners not giving the last wages to the workers who died, and the CCU will keep watching and pay attention to these cases,” said Union President Rong Chhun.

Cheat Khemara, a senior officer at GMAC, said his association has reminded factories to pay the remaining wages, though he said that factories have their own policies for dealing with such situations.

“We know by ourselves how to help the workers, and don’t need unions to alert us about this case,” said Cheat Khemara. “All the factories will keep the wages for the workers who died in the catastrophe, and they will take their wages to their homes, or the family members can collect the wages at the factories.”

Cheat Khemara said that 26 deceased, 60 injured, and 2 missing workers had been reported to GMAC as of Wednesday.

Various unions and businesses across the Kingdom have said that compensation has started to roll out to the victims’ families.

Chhun Sina, a representative of the United Apparel Cambodia factory, said one of the company’s workers had died, and that 2 million riel (about US$490) was given to the victim’s family two days ago.

“Our company knew by ourselves to give the worker’s wages to the family, so we don’t need the unionists to tell us,” she said.

Meanwhile, unions across Cambodia are continuing to tally the number of workers lost on Monday night.

The Cambodian Confederation of Trade Union said 20 members died, 32 were injured and another 15 workers were missing. The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union said that 35 members had died Monday, and 33 were injured.

Othsman Hassan, secretary of state of the Labour Ministry, said yesterday the number of deceased union workers was unknown.