Thursday, 16 December 2010

Cambodia Geared To Host An Unforgettable Event

http://www.etbmice.com/

via CAAI

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This year’s ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) TRAVEX (Travel Exchange) 2011 registered an overwhelming response, with over 500 exhibition booths fully sold by end October 2010. All ten member-nations will be well-represented at this annual leisure travel trade event which showcases the largest contingent of ASEAN destination products and services.

While some 1,000 buyers have registered their interest to source at the event, only 400 have been selected to attend under a privileged hosting programme. Buyer profile this year includes delegates from Asia-Pacific (55 per cent), Europe (37 per cent) and the rest of the world.

A total of 1,600 delegates are expected at this year’s ATF 2011. His Excellency So Mara, Secretary of State, Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia remarked, “ASEAN is one of the few regions in the world that offers a lot of tourism value in the international market. Demand for ASEAN will continue to grow and we can see that in the increasing interest of international buyers and proliferation of ASEAN products and services at the upcoming ATF.”

ATF 2011 marks the event’s 30th anniversary. ASEAN member-nation Cambodia, will host ATF 2011 in Phnom Penh from 15 to 21 January. ATF TRAVEX, the 3-day travel trade mart component of the event will take place from 19 to 21 January at the Diamond Island Convention & Exhibition Centre. His Excellency Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, Cambodia and Chairman of ATF 2011 Host Committee, said “This year’s theme ‘A World of Wonders and Diversity’ embodies everything that Cambodia has to offer as a compelling destination. We look forward to welcoming all ATF participants and international delegates to the Kingdom of Cambodia. We have taken great pride to create plenty of opportunities for them to discover our country’s rich cultural, natural and historical heritage.”

Business appointments and meetings which encompass the majority of delegates’ schedules over the 3-days are just some of the many highlights that ATF 2011 will offer. ASEAN Tourism Conference (ATC) – the educational front of ATF – will feature topics such as Ecotourism and Sustainable tourism in the ASEAN region as well as managing tourism in destinations which are home to Heritage Sites. Invited speakers hail from global institutions such as United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Global Sustainable Tourism Council and will engage the audience through thought-provoking sessions and interactive panel discussions on key issues in ASEAN tourism today.

ATF 2011 is also poised as an event with bountiful networking opportunities, teeing off with the ever-popular game of golf at the Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Course.

Hosted by The Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia, the ATF 2011 Opening Ceremony is set to be a spectacular event featuring some 500 local and foreign performers in traditional and contemporary performances. The Ministry is also pulling out all stops to ensure a feast for the senses with a strong play on the latest pyrotechnics and sound effects technology. Delegates can also look forward to a stunning 30 minutes fireworks highlight.

Over the 3 days, delegates can wine, dine and enjoy the company of their peers at several hosted luncheons, dinners as well as at 3 late night functions at Nagaworld, Raffles Hotel Le Royal and Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra.

Pre-show city tours of Phnom Penh and post-show tours to popular Cambodian destinations such as Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong are also available to hosted buyers and media delegates.

Source : Asean Tourism Forum

No license be revoked for developers of SEZs: Cambodian official

via CAAI

December 16, 2010

A senior government official said Thursday there is no license revocation for the developers of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Cambodia despite they have speed down or abandon their zone development since the global financial crisis.

According to the report from the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), since 2002, the CDC has granted licenses to 21 SEZs with an estimate of the promised investment of more than 1 billion U.S. dollars.

Those SEZs are located along the borders with Thailand and Vietnam, and on the outskirts of Phnom Penh as well as in Preah Sihanouk province, where the international port is located.

Chea Vuthy, deputy secretary general of the CDC in charge of the Cambodia's SEZs, said that currently among the 21 licensed SEZs, only four are in operations with about 50 investors in the zones, and two are being built.

"Despite most of them suspend or quit their zone development, the government has no plan to revoke their license although the law stated to do so," he told reporters after a business forum on Thursday. "It's up to them to decide if they continue to develop or not."

"If they continue to develop, it benefits the government, but if they do not develop, we lose nothing because both land and money are their own properties," he said.

He said among the four operational SEZs are Phnom Penh SEZ, Manhattan SEZ and Tai Seng SEZ at Vietnam border, and Sihanoukville SEZ, which is a joint venture of 3 billion U.S. dollars between China's Jiangsu Taihu Cambodia International Economic Cooperation Zone Investment Co. Ltd. and the Cambodia International Investment Group Co. Ltd.

And the two being built are Neang Kok SEZ in Koh Kong province and Sihanoukville Port SEZ.

The government considers SEZs as an important part of the country's economic development because they bring infrastructure, jobs, skills, enhanced productivity, at the same time, investors in the SEZs will benefit from a number of fiscal incentives, including income tax, customs, and VAT benefits, said Chea Vuthy.

Source: Xinhua

Cambodian airport project includes new city

via CAAI

Dec 16, 2010
By The Associated Press

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A South Korean company contracted to build a new airport serving visitors to Cambodia's famed Angkor temples says its $1 billion project will also encompass a new city and industrial estate.

NSRIA Co. Ltd. in a statement received Thursday said its planned New Siem Reap International Airport and linked developments represent Cambodia's "largest national project" and Korea's first-ever export of its airport development and operation expertise.

The statement, which expands upon partial information released by the Cambodian government and in the Korean press, said its concession for the project spans 65 years — covering five years of construction and 60 years of operation — after which it can be extended.

NSRIA is Cambodian joint venture whose main investors are two South Korean companies, Lees A&A Co. Ltd. and Camko Airport Co. Ltd.

The statement said the project will include an adjacent "Special Economic Zone," a dry port and a 15.4 square mile (40 square kilometer) city.

South Korea in recent years has become a major investor in Cambodia, ranking number two after China by some measurements. However, some ambitious Korean-funded real estate developments in Phnom Penh, the capital, have stalled.

The new airport will be able to handle Boeing 747s, making it the country's first capable of handling direct long haul flights from Europe and North America, said the statement. The area is currently served by a modern but small airport.

The airport will be located 25 miles (40 km) east of Angkor Wat, the statement said, alleviating concerns about potential noise and vibration damage to the centuries-old temples at Angkor, Cambodia's main tourist attraction.

There is concern that the temples, already damaged by warfare, looting and the ravages of weather, could be harmed by a greater influx of tourists.

Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2011, with operations to start in late 2015. At the end of the $500 million first phase, the airport will have the capacity to handle 4 million passengers a year, and will be able to handle 15 million after expansion.

Cambodia had 2.3 million visitors this year, with about half of them visiting the temples, according to Kong Sophearak, statistics director for the Tourism Ministry.

The statement said the special economic zone will provide an alternative for South Korean companies to investing in China and Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam where labor costs are rising from low levels.

Cambodia orders closure of refugee centre for Vietnamese

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Dec 16, 2010

Phnom Penh - The Cambodian government has ordered the closure of a UN centre for asylum seekers from the Vietnamese highlands, prompting fears that some could face persecution when repatriated.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the German Press Agency dpa that the centre had been ordered to close by January 1 because the government '[does] not want it anymore.'

'We want to finish it. If we keep it longer, the problem will exist on and on,' Koy Kuong said.

Of the 76 Montagnards - members of ethnic minority groups in the Vietnamese highlands - currently housed at the site, only 62 have had their refugee claims successfully processed, allowing them to be resettled in a third country. Koy Kuong said the other 14, as well as any new arrivals, would be sent back to Vietnam.

'We see there's no problem at all in Vietnam because Vietnam is a peaceful country,' Koy Kuong said. 'No rebellion, no turmoil, no civil war.'

Thousands of Montagnards fled to Cambodia earlier this decade after clashing with security forces during protests over land rights and religious freedom. Human Rights Watch estimates that approximately 300 Montagnard Christians are currently imprisoned for political or religious reasons.

'Montagnards continue to face arrest and imprisonment in Vietnam, primarily for belonging to independent Christian house churches that the government alleges are using religion to forward a political agenda,' Human Rights Watch said in a statement Wednesday.

Kitty McKinsey, the Asia spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said the UN had requested that the Cambodian government 'kindly give us more time to find long-term solutions for the 62 refugees who are on the site.' She did not comment on the 14 who have yet to be granted refugee status.

In December 2009, the Cambodian government repatriated 20 Uighur Chinese asylum seekers over the objections of the United States and international rights groups. The deportation came ahead of a visit by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to sign agreements offering Cambodia 1.2 billion dollars worth of economic assistance.

Sex Offender Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison


Craig Thomas Carr, 59, of Kent, Wash., pleaded guilty in July to sexual exploitation of a child. In his plea agreement, he admitted that prior to his January trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, he made e-mail contact with a taxi driver there. The driver agreed to identify young females for Carr to have sex with during Carr’s trip to Cambodia.


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16 December 2010
news Newsdesk

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A Washington state man who traveled to Cambodia to have sex with young girls was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release, following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Craig Thomas Carr, 59, of Kent, Wash., pleaded guilty in July to sexual exploitation of a child. In his plea agreement, he admitted that prior to his January trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, he made e-mail contact with a taxi driver there. The driver agreed to identify young females for Carr to have sex with during Carr’s trip to Cambodia. Carr expressed an interest in girls about 12-years-old and sent sexually explicit photographs of girls this age to the cab driver to show the approximate age of the girls he was seeking.

Prior to his departure for Cambodia, Carr made plans to take naked photos of the young girls, requesting the address of a FedEx store in Phnom Penh. He planned to send the explicit photos directly to his home while he was still in Cambodia.

Carr traveled to Phnom Penh from Seattle on January 13. During the next eight days, he admits that he had sex with three young Cambodian females.

On January 22, he was arrested by the Cambodian National Police. He remained in the custody of Cambodian authorities until he was removed from that country and escorted back to the United States by HSI agents on May 7.

“This prison sentence is appropriate punishment for the defendant who thought he could travel overseas, sexually abuse young children, rob them of their innocence without consequence and evade detection by U.S. law enforcement authorities,” said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of HSI in the Pacific Northwest. “HSI aggressively investigates this type of case by using our unique enforcement authorities under the PROTECT Act, which allow us to work closely with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to ensure that child predators pay the price for their heinous behavior.”

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones told Carr, “You prey on the most vulnerable of victims…very young girls. What you were doing, satisfying your fantasy one night, leads to a lifetime of nightmares for them.”

In addition to his prison sentence and a lifetime of supervised release, Carr will be required to register as a sex offender. In addition, Judge Jones ordered him to pay a fine of $11,000, which was the same amount of money Carr spent on his trip to Cambodia, and to pay $8,000 in restitution to his young victims in Cambodia.

Carr was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington under the PROTECT Act. The PROTECT Act, which went into effect seven years ago, substantially strengthened federal laws against predatory crimes involving children outside the United States by adding new crimes and increasing the penalties for these charges.

This investigation is part of Operation Predator, an ongoing ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. ICE encourages the public to reporter suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

New routes ease access on gap years in Cambodia

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Posted 16 Dec 2010


Travellers taking gap years in Cambodia could find their access to the north-east of the country made easier thanks to a new road into the area.

A report from Tourism Cambodia originally published by the Phnom Penh Post notes a substantial rise in visitation to Mondulkiri province since the opening of the transport route.

Between January and December 10th of 2009, 30,256 people visited the region – but this figure rose to 44,568 over the same period in 2010.

In all, that represents a rise of 47.3 per cent year-on-year, with the article citing the opening of the road as a likely driving force behind the increase.

Visitors on gap years in Cambodia could find Mondulkiri province to be an attractive option thanks to its unique geography and population.
Although the region is the largest in the country, it is also the most sparsely inhabited, with significant variety in both its flora and its fauna.

What is Fueling Child Sex and Slavery Crimes in Cambodia?


http://www.associatedcontent.com/

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Bonnie Sherman, Yahoo! Contributor Network

1. Trauma of Cambodia's history of feudalism, civil war and foreign invasions

This country has endured decades of feudalistic colonial government, the involvement in the Vietnam War, the carpet-bombing by the U.S. and the terrors of the Khmer Rouge campaign, all contributing to a state of unrest and instability, Under Pol Pot nearly all of the professionals were imprisoned and then killed. Mistrust developed among families and friends - many keeping silent and secretive about personal matters - afraid of betrayal - hiding their pain.

2. Decades of poverty

Rural and slum-dwelling Cambodians suffer from unbelievable poverty - barely surviving. Parents are willing to sell their daughters (as young as 6-7) into slavery to a brothel. Some may use the money, not for food, but to buy a television or much less. These daughters are all they have of value. Don Brewster, an American who moved here with his wife to set up a shelter for sexually abused children says, "There are no barriers; they will do anything for money and they live for today."

Young boys and girls are sometimes tricked into going to big cities in Cambodia and Thailand thinking they will be working for money, but end up as slaves. They are forced into prostitution or forced labor such as picking through garbage, working in rock quarries and selling products on the street.

3. Economy - sex tourism

The government is hesitant to clean-up child sex exploitation and trafficking. Sex tourism is a big part of their economy. Tourism is increasing in Cambodia and among these tourists are the pedophiles who come to prey on easily accessible young boys and girls. The borders of Cambodia are quite porous making it easy for sex pedophiles to enter the country and also to traffick children in and out of Cambodia for the purpose of child sex and forced labor. One non-governmental agency worker who asked for anonymity, said "There are brothels in some parts of the country where the clients are brought in buses" - a sex holiday!

4. Corruption of police and judges

Programs to combat child sex and slavery trafficking and exploitation have been set up by other countries, the United Nations, non-governmental agencies, the Cambodian government and justice department. These programs have only had minimal success. The government is weak and functions inefficiently. Arrests of child sex and slavery perpetrators are still often handled by bribes and payoffs. Many police have not been sufficiently trained to handle child sex and slave crimes. The United States Department of State's Trafficking in Person Report, 2010-Cambodia , states "In one case, an NGO reported that miltary police in Sithanoukville kept the women and girls who were rounded up from multiple sites and offered them back to establishment owners for $50 per person."

5. Dominance of men over women

Cambodian men who engage in child prostitution and abuse and those involved in trafficking and slavery of children have been conditioned to hold a position of power and control over women and children. Girls, on the other hand, are generally brought up to be subservient to men. The traffickers, brothel owners and criminals who kidnap or buy and sell young children are obviously in it for the money and are probably amoral.

The Cambodian government is attempting to rid the country of crimes against children. They don't have the resources or effective guidelines to really tackle the problem effectively. Programs to bring awareness to the problem have been instituted, but the effectiveness has not yet been evaluated. Among these efforts that have been promoted are television and radio programs, ads in magazines, billboards and signs all designed to reduce crimes against children. A real problem in prosecution of criminals is the lack of a witness protection program. Victims are afraid to take part in the prosecution, for fear of vengeance. They will often resort to accepting pay-backs instead of going through the judicial system. Hopefully, with the support of other nations, The United Nations, and non-governmental agencies, sex and slavery exploitation against children will be greatly reduced.

Sources:

United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Cambodia, unhcr.org Khmerfuture staff,Suffer little Children: Legacies of War in Cambodia, khmerfuture.com

Low cost engineering solution to high cost Cambodian waste

 via CAAI

By Jade Macmillan


UWA engineering student Ian Azaro testing a biological waste reducer (UWA)
Transforming household waste in Cambodia into a source of fuel may not seem like the ideal holiday for most people.

But for a group of engineering students, it is turning out to be a valuable way to spend their summer break.

The students from the University of WA won first prize in an annual challenge held last year by Engineers Without Borders, an organisation that aims to improve the lives of people in developing communities through better access to technology.

The winning idea? A 'biodigester' which transforms household waste into biogas and organic fertiliser.

The project has been modelled on communities living on and around Lake Ton Le Sap in Cambodia, where last week the students, including Martin Kalkhoven, were working to implement their designs.

"We chose the challenge topic of waste management, and looked at a variety of ways we could tackle some of the area's issues," he said.

"We thought we could perhaps combine a few by looking at gasification which is a process of using heat to extract volatile gases from waste material.

"That process, of course, though would require more energy initially so on further research we came across some information about anaerobic digestion and looked at ways that this could be applied to the floating environment."

EWB's South-East Asia field officer Michael Evans says the environment itself has proved to be one of the most challenging parts of addressing the problem.

"The lake itself expands and contracts during the year which means sometimes there are houses above land, sometimes they're above water and then there are other homes that are free-floating or moored close together," he said.

"The housing situation is therefore a lot more volatile than typical housing situations around the world and so a lot of sanitation measures such as piping or sewers don't make any sense."

He describes it as a plastic bag, five metres long and 800 millimetres in diameter, the biodigester is placed underneath floating homes with the aim of catching household waste.

"Some of that is human faecal matter, some of it is plant and animal waste from cooking or other things," he said.

"That's processed and turned into one of two products, either liquid fertiliser that could be used on gardens etc, or biogas, which would be used on people's stoves."

Dumping ground

UWA lecturer Chris Rowles, who worked with the students on the project, says one of the biodigester's most important aims is to reduce the amount of rubbish entering the Ton Le Sap, Asia's biggest freshwater lake.

"The problem is that the water has become a dumping ground for all the refuse around the lake and it's starting to become polluted.

"About 70 per cent of the fish stock that's caught in Cambodia comes from Ton Le Sap and people were finding that the fish stock was depleted due to pollution and there were also a lot of health problems."

Mr Evans says another important feature of the device is its potential to reduce locals' living costs.

"Cooking in the area is done by gas and you can't pipe out gas from a lake very easily," he said.

"People have to make lots of trips to get gas cylinders which becomes expensive. By converting waste into biogas it's hoped people can become less reliant on gas supplies."

Mr Rowles says there are also added health benefits.

"Cooking fires are creating a very unhealthy environment on the lake, with people breathing smoke all the time," he said.

"This will help with respiratory problems but it will also save people about $150 a year, which, when you're earning $30 a month, is a sizeable part of your income."

Experience

Aside from the benefits the biodigester could deliver to communities in Cambodia, the students themselves are gaining valuable experience.

The group has been involved in the project from start to finish; from the initial research to the installation of the devices and the education of locals.

Mr Kalkhoven says travelling to Cambodia has been eye-opening.

"It's really given us a huge appreciateion of the difficulties non-government organisations face in getting any project off the ground," he said.

"It requires enormous amount of effort and time and you have to tread very slowly so that communication is clear at all times."

Michael Evans says it's a two-way learning process with the students and locals.

"The students come here with their theoretical knowledge or their very practical knowledge and they're learning that some things are very different to what they had imagined back home," he said.

"So in the workshops they're taking part in, I think the students are asking as many questions as the local community members."

The biodigester is already attracting attention from elsewhere, with EWB delegates from Papua New Guinea and Lesotho expressing an interest in the design.

Mr Rowles says he's proud of what the students have achieved.

"They got some credit towards their degree but the work is voluntary, they didn't have to do it," he said.

"They've finished the job now it and it seems to have worked so taking it into production in Cambodia is just the icing on the cake."

Local Cambodian Christmas Tree by Fashion Designer Takes Centrestage at Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor

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Thursday, 16 December 2010

This yuletide season, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor Siem Reap features an unusual Christmas Tree created from traditional fishing equipment used by local Cambodians in their daily activities.

Under the artistic direction of Madagascar-born, Cambodian-based designer Eric Raisina, whose stunning fashion has graced the runways of Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix and New York Fashion week, traditional tools such as hand-woven fishing nets, handcrafted bamboo fishing rods and baskets has been artfully combined to create the centerpiece of Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor’s festive d├ęcor.

Said Robert Hauck, General Manager, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, “This year, instead of the customary fir which we would have to order from abroad, we have opted for an unconventional Christmas Tree made entirely of locally available and natural fishing equipment to showcase an important part of Cambodian life and culture to our guests.”

As one of the countries that flank the Mekong River, life in Cambodia revolves around agriculture and fishing with the river providing vital sustenance and support.

Cambodian Christmas Tree by Designer Eric Raisina

Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony took place recently, heralding the start of festivities throughout the hotel which will culminate in the highly-anticipated New Year’s Eve Gala celebration by the pool, with fireworks ringing in a brand new year.


Local Childrens Choir

Rice Husks Provide Alternative to Chinese Coal in Cambodia

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BY Jenara Nerenberg
Wed Dec 15, 2010


The Cambodian rice miller and exporter, Angkor Kasekam Roongroeung (AKR), is set to launch its rice husk-powered electricity generator at the start of next year, enabling the company to double its rice exports to 70,000 tons per year.

Electricity from the newly-built rice husk generator will be used to--you guessed it--process rice.

The plant comes with community perks, too. AKR will sell its excess electricity to nearby villagers at $0.22 cents per kilowatt, lower than the $0.27 per kilowatt price they would normally pay for power from the national grid.

“We will take this opportunity to process more rice for export in an attempt to help our rice producers earn more income,” said AKR director, Chieu Hieng, as reported by the Pnom Penh Post.

The innovative power source is a welcome addition. Cambodia spent $59 million last year importing electricity from Thailand and Vietnam and is currently co-constructing a coal-fired plant with China at a cost of $362 million. Concerns are being raised about Cambodia's increasing demand for power and the trend toward using eco-un-friendly coal-fired power.

And like other developing countries in Asia--such as Nepal, with its vast Himalayan-sourced rivers and significant dependence on Chinese and Indian investment--the natural resources for natively-generated power exist domestically, but the country lacks the necessary funds for infrastructure development.

Rice husk generators could become a replicable trend in Cambodia. Already, Golden Rice Cambodia is investing $2 million into a rice-husk power plant to power nearby mills. AKR's total cost for its plant was $6 million, including the land.

Follow me, Jenara Nerenberg, on Twitter.

[The Rice husk generator image above is from Acumen Fund investee, Husk Power Systems.]

4 Cambodian children seriously injured by mine explosion

via CAAI

December 16, 2010

Four children were seriously injured in a landmine explosion on Wednesday afternoon when they were playing and hit the mine against the ground.

Kong Boy, councilor of Battambang province's Phnom Proek district, told Xinhua that the children picked up the mine at the forest behind their houses to play and smash against the ground, igniting the explosion.

"One girl and three boys aged from 3 to 13 were injured on stomachs, faces, hands and legs," he said.

He said the location is formerly the fighting zone during decades of war and mines are still scattered around the area.

The explosion happened in Phnom Prampi village, Chakry commune, Phnom Proek district of Battambang province, about 300 km northwest of capital Phnom Penh.

Cambodia's five most mine-laid provinces are Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Udor Meanchey, Pailin and Preah Vihear. Mines had been laid in decades of chronic conflicts from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s.

Mine/ERW (Explosive Remnants of War) killed 260 Cambodian people in the first eleven months this year, up 20 percent compared to the same period of last year's 217 casualties, according to the report from the Cambodian Mine/ERW Victim Information System obtained on Tuesday.

Source: Xinhua

Hun Sen Holds Key for Prince


via CAAI

By Luke Hunt
December 16, 2010

Cambodia’s Prince Norodom Ranariddh has made something of a minor media splash by recently announcing his return to the political stage, where his former royalist party Funcinpec has been all but obliterated by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

As one of the country’s many contenders for the throne should the current king step down, he might be quite chuffed by sections of the media, which lauded his move as that of a political heavyweight—a far cry from the gormless and galling antics that became the noted hallmarks of the royal party under his stewardship.

Funcinpec led the Cambodian government back in 1993 and has stepped in from time to time, whether in opposition or part of a coalition with the CPP, over the years. In doing so, it has been in a position to play an important role in Cambodia’s fledgling democracy.
However, Funcinpec currently holds just two seats in the 123-seat National Assembly after voters—frustrated by years of corruption, greed and sheer incompetence—deserted the party in droves for the CPP and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP).

And Ranariddh is still unwanted in the slim corridors of power at Funcinpec, where he was finally excommunicated for fraud in 2006 after he sold off the party’s headquarters, located on a prime piece of Phnom Penh real estate, and pocketed the money. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail in absentia.

A royal pardon was granted and he established the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) which, like Funcinpec, won two seats at the 2008 poll. Dismayed, Ranariddh left politics altogether soon after and the NRP was renamed the National Party. Now all that’s old is almost new again. But not before Ranariddh decided to test the waters, although not with the electorate or the party.

First, he sought the tacit approval of his return from chief combatant Hun Sen, who didn’t mind at all, although he advised the prince he would have to quit his job as an advisor to his half brother, King Norodom Sihamoni. This, however, wasn't enough to placate old insecurities. After all, it was Hun Sen who once told Ranariddh and Funcinpec, in September 2006, to ‘prepare your coffin.’

When seeking permission to rejoin the political fray, according to observers close to the parties, Hun Sen simply told Ranariddh: ‘It’s up to you.’ In other words, Hun Sen was simply saying it’s not his decision. It wasn’t quite the response Ranariddh wanted to hear.

According to sources: ‘Hun Sen didn't say yes, he didn't say no, he just said it was up to you and now Ranariddh is a little worried because Hun Sen did not give an unequivocal yes.’

With a few tentative steps the party has reverted to its old name, the NRP, with Ranariddh as president and amid some slight, even timid, chest thumping declared he intends to unite all royalists ahead of 2012 local elections and general elections to be held a year later to fight Hun Sen and the CPP.

That’s if Hun Sen says yes. Well, maybe.

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

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50 million Luxury Sofitel Hotel will Open December 18 in Phnom Penh

Thursday, 16 December 2010 05:14 DAP-NEWS/VIBOL

CAMBODAI, PHNOM PEHN, Dec 16, 2010-Luxury hotel, Sofitel Phnom​ Phnom Phokeetra , located on the western part of Mekong River in Phnom Penh will open next week, officials said on Thursday.

The hotel will open on December 18, and other sections of the hotel will open subsequently, “an official of Hotel said.

The hotel will join to receive the ASEAN Tourism Forum in January in Phnom Penh, he added.

This hotel is joint venture from the French, Thai, and Cambodian businesspeople. General Manager of hotel previously said that it is a very location for the hotel because we can see view of Phnom Penh and Mekong River with luxurious services.

Cambodia attracts over 2 million foreign tourists so far this year. And Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville beach, and Angkor Wat temple are the main foreign destinations.

____________
Cambodia hosts 9th Asian University Presidents Forum

Thursday, 16 December 2010 04:16 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, Dec 16, 2010-The Ministry of Education of Cambodia and Norton University in Phnom Penh on Thursday hosted the 9th Asian University Presidents Forum to strengthen cooperation and promote quality of higher education in the continent.

“This year´s AUPF which runs from December 16-18 December, 2010 in Phnom Penh is crucial for us, and it conducted under theme of challenges and prospects for higher education institutions with three sub-themes: internationalization of higher education institutions, strengthening research collaboration among Southeast Asian HEIs and teaching university and the research university: are they compatible,” Prof. Chan Sok Khieng, rector of Norton university in Phnom Penh told in the opening ceremony.”

“It is our ardent hope that the forum will provide not only our current forum members but also prospective members with more opportunities to deepen collaboration with each other as we continue to share ideas, information , and academic experience which will lead to more innovative programs that will address the needs of our respective communities and societies, He added.

“The strengthening of all universities in region will play an important role in researching and development of knowledge of young generation,” Pich Chamnan, secretary of state for education ministry said in his opening remark.

He added that in 2010, we have 19 private universities which jumped from 9 in 1997. In 1997, students are about 1,000 and now we have over 200,000 students in schools, which is about 16 per cent of population./ generally speaking, we strengthen and train professional skill and research for them. In Cambodia, one third of Cambodians are in school.

Hundreds of professors, president of university from different countries sin region, students in the event in Phnom Penh.

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press


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AKP/01

China, Cambodia Pledge to Further Enhance Ties

Phnom Penh, December 16, 2010 AKP -- Chinese and Cambodian leaders on Wednesday pledged to further enhance bilateral ties, two days after the two countries agreed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation.

“The establishment of this strategic partnership brings new opportunities for the development of bilateral ties,” Chinese President Hu Jintao was quoted as saying by Chinese News Agency Xinhua when meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen Wednesday afternoon in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

China will maintain friendly exchanges with Cambodia at all levels, strengthen mutual support on major issues of concern, and deepen exchanges on experiences in managing state affairs, Hu said.

The president said the Chinese government and people value the traditional friendship with Cambodia, and will always support Cambodia to take its own development path.

Hu added that China will expand bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, finance, infrastructure construction, agriculture and energy, increase bilateral trade, enhance cultural, technological and youth exchanges, and maintain the two countries’ coordination on regional and international affairs.

Hu also called on the two sides to strengthen cooperation in areas such as coping with the international financial crisis, disaster prevention and relief and combating cross-border crimes.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen said Cambodia-China relations have entered a new stage after the two countries agreed to the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation.

He said Cambodia will abide by the one-China policy and work with China to further promote bilateral ties.

China’s top legislator Wu Bangguo also met with Samdech Techo Hun Sen Wednesday.

During the meeting, Wu pledged to bolster exchanges and cooperation between the two states' legislative bodies.

Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, hailed the political, economic and cultural ties between China and Cambodia, saying the establishment of the strategic partnership will yield tangible benefits for the two peoples.

Wu said the two states’ legislative bodies have, in recent years, carried out substantial dialogue between their leaders, special committees and staff, which contributed to the development of bilateral ties.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen applauded the traditional friendship and pledged to promote exchanges between the two states' legislative bodies and to enhance coordination on major issues to promote bilateral ties. --AKP

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AKP/02

Fifth One Province One Product Exhibition Opens

Phnom Penh, December 16, 2010 AKP -- The Fifth Cambodia Import-Export & One Province One Product Exhibition was kicked off here on Dec. 15 at Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Center (Koh Pich).

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance H.E. Keat Chhon, high representative of Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen presided over the opening ceremony with representatives of diplomatic corps, government officials and business representatives in attendance.

Different products including agricultural and electronic products, agricultural and industrial machines, food stuff, jewelry, medicines, cosmetic products, etc. and services – hostelry, banking, education, tourism, etc. – from 244 local and foreign companies have been exhibiting on 326 booths until Dec. 18, said Acting Commerce Minister H.E. Kem Sithan.

Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Keat Chhon was convinced that this annual event will provide golden opportunities to businessmen, producers and investors to find their trade and investment partners and to learn more clearly about investment opportunities in Cambodia.

On the occasion, he warmly welcomed the participation of trade delegations from Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, China and other friendly countries.

The four-day exhibition is aimed to promote trade and investment activities in Cambodia, particularly to increase the export, which contributes to the country’s economic development.

Four other events will be also held along with the exhibition – Business and Investment Forum, Workshop on Trade Promotion, Trade Meeting and Signing Ceremony of business and investment contracts. --AKP

By SOKMOM Nimul

Assault in Pursat


via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 12:37 Thet Sambath

Pursat provincial police arrested four young men on Tuesday for disorderly behaviour and assault on two men.

Sarun Chanthy, Pursat province’s police chief, said yesterday that the four suspects were drunk and threw bottles and plates at the two victims as they drove past on a motorbike in Pursat town.

He added that the suspects, aged between 20 and 34 years, would be sent to provincial court today.

Tumpuon bless forest


via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 12:35 Tep Nimol

Hundreds of ethnic minority Tumpuon residents of Laak village in Ratanakkiri province’s O’Chhum district gathered yesterday to bless a community forest in an effort to ward off a private company in possession of a government land concession from clear-cutting it.

Pen Bonna, a coordinator for the local rights group ADHOC, said villagers had sought assistance from local officials but to no avail.

“Villagers lost their hope in the authorities, which is why they turned to the traditional [ceremony],” he said.

City Hall blesses wat ahead of renovation


via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 12:28 Tep Nimol

Municipal officials yesterday presided over a blessing ceremony at Wat Phnom ahead of the monument’s closure for a six-month refurbishment project expected to cost more than US$180,000.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Touch Sarom and about 50 other officials from City Hall and the Ministry of Culture participated in the blessing, which included ceremonial offerings to seek happiness and banish misfortune.

Kong Bolin, director of the department of antiquities at the Ministry of Culture, said the refurbishment aimed to preserve decorations and drawings at the wat. He added that the project costs would be taken from money generated by donations from visitors to the landmark, which average between 200 and 300 people per day.

Kong Bolin said the project would take an estimated six months, beginning in February and ending in July next year, during which access to the inner temple would be prohibited, though outside areas would remain open.

“In February we will start cleaning the temple, which will be closed for safety reasons,” he said.

“Experts will preserve the inner temple drawings. Roofing tiles have become rotten and leak. We need to repair the roof first in order to preserve the drawings.”

Kong Bolin said about 30 to 50 construction workers will begin preliminary work in mid-December by strengthening the foundation of the wat, while up to 20 artists will start work on refurbishing wall drawings.

Police destroy Preah Vihear marijuana farm


via CAAI

 Thursday, 16 December 2010 12:30 Phak Seangly

Preah Vihear provincial police on Monday arrested two men suspected of cultivating nearly 100 marijuana plants in the provincial capital.

The suspects, a 62-year-old farmer and a 70-year-old accomplice, were released after police questioned and educated them, and with their promise not to grow marijuana again.

“Even though the two men were aware of the illegality of their activities, the problem was small-scale, as they planted the marijuana on their own plot for private consumption,” said Kov Pesith, Kampon Bronak commune police chief, adding that police burned the 92 marijuana plants they had discovered.

Siem Reap vendors celebrate eviction reprieve


via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear

About 100 vendors from Phuom Pheak Buon market in Siem Reap’s Kokchak commune celebrated the reversal of a decision by the provincial governor to relocate their stalls from Phuom Pheak Buon market by offering food to monks during a ceremony yesterday.

In a letter issued earlier this month, provincial Governor Sou Phirin ordered vendors to shut their stalls by yesterday and threatened administrative measures if they failed to comply.

“We prayed for the spirits to help us keep the right to operate our businesses, so we wanted to hold a ceremony to express our thankfulness,” said Thon Vannak, a vendor at the market.

The governor passed a resolution allowing the vendors to stay at their current location following a protest held in front of the Saing Num hotel, said another vendor, Nuon Chea.

“He did not say whether we will be able to continue selling there for ever or only temporarily, but we are happy to get this resolution,” he said.

Deputy provincial governor Bunn Thavarith said the market posed a problem for the city’s tourism sector.

“The shops are located too close to Angkor Wat and affect ... tourist activities,” he said.

Awareness of legal abortion lacking: study


via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 15:01 Brooke Lewis

Less than 20 percent of some 1,680 women surveyed across rural areas in six provinces said they knew abortion is legal in Cambodia, according to figures in a report released during a conference in Phnom Penh yesterday.

The study, released by Options Reduction in Maternal Mortality Project, finds that 72.5 percent of respondents thought abortion was illegal, despite the fact that it was legalised more than a decade ago, in 1997.

A further 9 percent said they did not know whether or not termination of pregnancy was legal, and 18.5 percent answered that it was legal.

Elizabeth Lavoisier, an independent consultant who was a team leader for the study, said yesterday that women in remote areas were not receiving accurate abortion information from authorities.

“It is at the community level and at the health centres and hospitals that they should be advised about that,” she said.

“But not all the health workers at the health centres know that abortion is legal.”

She noted that there was a significant difference in awareness levels in areas where the RMMP, a joint project with the National Reproductive Health Program that was introduced in 2006, had been implemented.

The report shows that 30 percent of women in RMMP areas knew that abortion was legal, compared to 7 percent in areas where the project had not been implemented.

“The main finding of the report was that programme works,” she said. “There is better knowledge on abortion and more use of contraception in areas where Options has programmes.”

Tung Ruvuthy, manager of the National Reproductive Health Program, also said more dissemination of information about abortion was needed.

“Healthcare providers need to be trained carefully not only how to provide abortion but also to provide the right information, respect women’s rights and their right to choose,” she said.

“We have trained a lot but we need more resources and budget to train more people and raise more awareness.”

State aims to unburden courts


Phon Bunthal, head of the legislative council at the Ministry of Interior, listens to a speech during the Alternative Pathways to Justice Conference held in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photo by: Heng Chivoan

via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 15:01 Vong Sokheng

THE government plans to establish alternative legal dispute mechanisms nationwide by 2012, Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana said yesterday.

“[The project] will increase rights to access for justice, the conflicts between parties will be quickly resolved and the disputing parties will be able to save time and money,” Ang Vong Vathana said yesterday at a conference on alternative dispute mechanisms in Phnom Penh.

Ang Vong Vathana added that one of the aims of the project was to “reduce the burden on the overloaded courts”.

Mediation “has helped to reduce hardships for many Cambodians living in the countryside, who often cannot afford to use, or [are] daunted by, traditional legal channels”, the United Nations Development Programme said in a statement yesterday.

The programme will expand on a 4-year, US$3.2 million initiative between the Council of Legal and Judicial Reform, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, UNDP and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, which has established mediation services in Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, Battambang, Siem Reap, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri provinces. The project formally ended in March.

Some 2,652 civic dispute cases have been mediated by 56 commune dispute resolution committees, while 20 justice centres at the district level mediated 676, according to UNDP.

Conflicts involved land disputes, domestic violence, defamation, divorce, property demarcation, property destruction, theft and inheritance.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said alternative dispute systems were important but warned that village and commune elders and chiefs “must not weigh on politics, which would cause problems [of political discrimination]”.

Jailed opposition activist walks free


via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 15:01 Meas Sokchea

JAILED Sam Rainsy Party activist Tuot Saron was released yesterday by Kampong Thom provincial court, following the receipt of a letter of pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni last month.

Tuot Saron, who is also the chief of Pongro commune in Baray district, was arrested on March 18, 2008 ahead of that year’s national election, and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for abducting and illegally holding an SRP election candidate against their will.

The SRP has long contested the charges, arguing that they were politically motivated. His release, which comes around four months ahead of the expiration of his jail term, was approved by the King in a letter of pardon dated November 26.

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay welcomed his release yesterday, but said Tuot Saron should never have been jailed in the first place. He repeated the party’s earlier claims that the charges against Tuot Saron were political.

“It is regrettable. Tuot Saron should have been released a long time ago because he was jailed due to political motivations,” Son Chhay said. “This release, it almost reaches to three-year [term] limit. Doing it like this it is very bad.”

In September, British-based rights group Amnesty International called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of the activist, describing him as a “prisoner of conscience”.

“Amnesty International believes that the accusations against [Tuot Saron] were baseless and politically motivated, in order to intimidate other opposition party activists,” the organisation said in a statement issued September 15.

The Amnesty statement said that Tuot Saron and three other SRP members were approached in 2008 “for protection” by another SRP candidate under pressure from the CPP to switch party affiliations. After travelling with her from Kampong Thom to Phnom Penh, he was arrested and held in pretrial detention until he was sentenced in March 2009.

Following his release yesterday, Tuot Saran vowed to continue fighting injustice and would try to serve the people in his old role as commune chief.

“I won’t be scared of anything,” he said. “I would like to call for all members and activists of the party not to have bad feelings. We must continue together our political affairs to fight for freedom, justice, and democracy.”

Kampong Thom provincial court president Khorn Sokal, who approved Tuot Saron’s release, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

More houses in Andong


via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 15:01 Chhay Channyda

Residents in Andong village in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district who were evicted from their homes in Chamkarmon district in 2006 are to get an additional 25 homes after a US-based NGO contributed US$25,000 to the municipality.

People for Care and Learning provided the funding on Monday to city officials as part of an ongoing project to provide improved conditions for residents currently living in temporary housing, said Mann Chhoeun, deputy director of the National Committee for People and Development and the head of the Urban Poor Development Fund.

He said residents in Andong have to date received about 300 homes among 1,500 villagers, and the UPDF and the municipality have called on donors to provide assistance for building more homes.

Mann Chhoeun blamed the shortfall of housing in part on families that were not among those evicted in 2006.

“There were only 700 residents moved from Sambok Chab that we had to build homes for, but other poor families from the provinces … always move in so that we have to raise funds for more houses,” he said.

He added that each family who receives a house is required to pay $1,000 over five years, as well as a monthly payment of 90,000 riels to the UDPF.

Sok Chham, chief of Andong village, said living conditions in the area have improved because of better infrastructure.

“Doctors regularly visit here, and authorities have just created access to clean water in the last few days, but we have to purchase electricity from private firms at a cost of 3,000 riels per kilowatt,” he said.

More than 1,000 police officers, many of whom were armed and wearing riot gear, descended on the Sambok Chab slum, known as the “birds nest”, in June 2006 to evict the families, who were relocated in Andong village.

Reservoirs set for demolition


A woman tends a small road-side stall on the banks of the Tonle Sap lake in Siem Reap province in November. Photo by: Will Baxter

via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 15:01 Khouth Sophakchakrya

THE Tonle Sap Authority will resume efforts to destroy illegal reservoirs surrounding the Tonle Sap lake next month, after heavy summer rains suspended attempts earlier this year.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the Tonle Sap Authority to destroy the reservoirs, which he said were a threat to fish stocks and forests. Fisheries officials also said the reservoirs were a threat to the lake’s long-term biodiversity and water levels.

Chan Yutha, general secretary of the Tonle Sap Authority, said 240 illegal reservoirs were identified across six provinces surrounding the lake, with most falling in Siem Reap and Kampong Thom provinces. He said that 30 reservoirs had been destroyed by the summer.

“The Tonle Sap Authority will continue the campaign to destroy illegal reservoirs, without any exceptions, for all offenders … surrounding the lake starting in the dry season, or at least by mid-January,” he said.

Officials say farmers have been using the illegal reservoirs to trap fish, as well as boosting rice yields.

Um Men, chief of the Sandan fishery community in Kampong Thom province, confirmed that reservoirs had been destroyed in his province, though some farmers continued to use them for rice cultivation.

“If the Tonle Sap Authority is late to demolish the illegal reservoirs, the fishing resources and the flooded forests in that area will not get better.”

Ou Bosphan, director of the Agriculture Department in Kampong Thom province, said he’s warned the farmers to stop using illegal reservoirs, but added they were hoping to cultivate their rice paddies before the crackdown.

Police Blotter: 16-12-2010


via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 15:00 Sen David

Armed robbers rethink target of poor farmer
Three men abandoned an attempted armed robbery of the home of a 27-year-old female farmer in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town on Sunday, after conceding that the woman probably had nothing of value for them to steal. Police said three masked men entered the house and threatened the woman, who was home alone at the time, repeatedly with a gun, before deciding that her claims of poverty were believable and fleeing the scene empty-handed and without harming her. KOH SANTEPHEAP

Visit to in-laws’ home ends with a suicide
A 25-year-old woman died after poisoning herself during a visit to the home of her parents-in-law in Kampong Speu province’s Chbar Mon town on Sunday. The woman’s husband said his wife had been cooking with his mother when she suddenly left the room. He went looking for her shortly after and found her dead after having apparently swallowed a “poisonous drug”. The man said he and his wife “never argued” and that he did not know what could have caused her to commit suicide. KOH SANTEPHEAP

Man fails to instil party spirit with use of stave
A 27-year-old man was arrested in Prey Veng province’s Kampong Trabek district on Monday after he attacked two party guests with a wooden stave, inflicting severe injuries. Police said the party, which was held at the suspect’s brother’s house, had turned sour after an argument broke out between a group of revellers. The discord had apparently incensed the suspect, who attempted to restore the festive atmosphere by swinging at the arguing men with a stave. KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Police chase ends in arrest of rogue driver
Police chased down and arrested a 25-year-old motorist who failed to stop and help after he crashed into a moto-taxi driver, causing severe injuries, in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district on Saturday. Police said the suspect, who had been driving a “modern car”, had admitted to causing the accident and agreed to pay compensation to the victim, who was sent to hospital. KAMPUCHEA THMEY

‘Neglected’ mentally ill woman drowns in pond
A 22-year-old mentally ill woman drowned in a pond in Kampong Cham province’s Ponhea Krek district on Monday. Police said the woman should not have been left unsupervised and accused her family of neglect. The victim’s mother said her daughter “always smoked cigarettes and drank wine” and “looked like a crazy person”. RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Seminar puts spotlight on refuse problems


via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 15:01 Kim Yuthana

Environmental officials and representatives from the waste management sector met on Wednesday at the Ministry of Environment to discuss strategies for dealing more efficiently with the rising amounts of rubbish produced in the capital.

Cheak Ang, director of municipal department of environment, said at the meeting that the city must find ways to reduce the amount of rubbish generated daily and improve rubbish collection in order to handle the more than 1,300 tonnes of rubbish generated by residents of Phnom Penh each day.

“If we do not collect the waste regularly, it will affect people’s health and produce contagious insects and damage the beauty of Phnom Penh.”

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Environment earlier this year, each resident of Phnom Penh on average produces 0.7 kilograms of rubbish per day.

“Because of the increase in population, businesses and technologies, the quantity of collected rubbish continues to increase from 714 tonnes per day in 2004 to 1,335 tones per day in 2010,” the statement said.

Khim Nora, head of the waste management office in the municipal department of environment, said the amount of rubbish being deposited at the Dangkor dumpsite outside Phnom Penh is rising.

“From July 20, 2009 to December 10, 2010, the total waste deposited at the Dangkor dump was 38,627,207 tonnes,” he said during the meeting.

In April, Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema announced that the city would impose fines of 10,000 riels on anyone caught littering.

A report from the department of environment showed that between May 1 and September 15, some 1,208 cases of littering were recorded and fines of more than 14 million riels were collected.

Fugitive kidnapping suspect back in custody


via CAAI

Thursday, 16 December 2010 15:00 Chrann Chamroeun

KAMPONG Cham provincial police re-arrested and charged a 27-year-old woman accused of kidnapping and attempted extortion after she escaped earlier in the week by climbing through the roof of a bathroom.

Police arrested Khuon Srey Neang, 27, late on Tuesday night in Koh Sotin district, where she had gone into hiding following her escape.

“We already sent her to provincial court this morning, where she has been officially charged with kidnapping and extortion,” said Chem Seng Hong, provincial deputy police chief.

He added that provincial police took great care and expense in tracking down the fugitive.

Khuon Srey Neang was arrested last week at a bank in Phnom Penh, where she was awaiting the transfer of a negotiated US$12,000 ransom transfer from the family of the abducted child, who was returned unharmed.

The suspect escaped a day after her arrest after police officers escorted her to a bathroom, where she locked the door from inside and climbed out a small opening in the roof.

Chem Seng Hong said the suspect would likely remain in pre-trial detention following questioning at the provincial court.

He added that he regretted the neglect that led to the escape.

“We were terribly sorry for the small negligence that let the offender flee from our detention facilities,” Chem Seng Hong said yesterday.