Wednesday, 22 December 2010

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press

via CAAI

Bangladesh FM To Visit Cambodia Next Week

Phnom Penh, December 22, 2010 AKP -- Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, H.E. Dr. Dipu Moni, MP, will lead a delegation to pay an official visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia on Dec. 27-28, at the invitation of her Cambodian counterpart H.E. Hor Namhong.

During her stay in Cambodia, H.E. Dr. Dipu Moni, MP will be received in a royal audience by His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, at the Royal Palace, said a press release of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation dated today.

The Bangladesh foreign minister will pay a courtesy call on Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. She will further hold a bilateral talk with her Cambodian counterpart H.E. Hor Namhong and also meet with Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries H.E. Chan Sarun.

Besides, H.E. Dr. Dipu Moni, MP, will visit Angkor temples in Siem Reap province, said the press release. --AKP



Cambodia, Canada Discuss Steps to Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation

Phnom Penh, December 22, 2010 AKP -- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers H.E. Sok An received here on Dec. 21 Ambassador of Canada to Cambodia H.E. Ron Hoffmann to discuss matters related to strengthening bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and Canada.

At the meeting, H.E. Ron Hoffmann, who is based in Bangkok, said that the cooperation between Canada and Cambodia has been good, but Canada’s investment and business in Cambodia were still at a low level, according to the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers.

The Canadian ambassador added that in February 2011, he will lead a business delegation of around 20 companies, which are dealing with energy, mine and engineering sectors, to visit Cambodia in order to study the investment opportunities in the country.

H.E. Ron Hoffmann also appreciated the rapid development in Cambodia, and said that Canada will continue to support land registration work in Cambodia, along with the World Bank if the royal government agrees.

Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sok An welcomed Canada’s aid and investment, and in particular Canadian tourists. He highlighted that the royal government, under the leadership of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, has fully supported all investment plans. In addition, the royal government has been carrying out various reforms, namely administrative and judicial reforms. Most importantly, the royal government has promulgated the Anti-Corruption Law and established the Anti-Corruption Unit in order to ensure better governance and public service to the people. Regarding the land registration work, H.E. Sok An told the Canadian ambassador to directly contact the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.

The deputy prime minister also informed the Canadian ambassador that what he and the Cambodian people could never forget is the historic day of July 7, 2008, when the Temple of Preah Vihear was inscribed on the World Heritage List in Quebec, Canada. --AKP



New Brazilian Ambassador Meets Cambodian Foreign Affairs’ Official

Phnom Penh, December 22, 2010 AKP -- Secretary of State H.E. Ouch Borith of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation met here on Dec. 20 with new Brazilian Ambassador to Cambodia H.E. Paulo Cesar Meira de Vasconcellos.

The discussion particularly focused on the promotion of the ties of friendship and the multiform cooperation between the two countries, H.E. Ouch Borith told reporters following the meeting.

The two counties agreed to promote the cooperation on the visa exemption and agriculture, mainly rice crop and sugar cane plantation, he said.

Brazilian government prepared to grant scholarships in tourism to Cambodian students to study in the University of Tourism of Brazil, he said, but they have to study Portuguese for one year before taking tourism skills.

The two nations also agreed to support each other on the international arena.

Cambodia desired to apply for a candidacy for a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2013-2014, the election of which will be held in 2012. --AKP

By THOU Peou



Cambodia, Russia Sign Information Cooperation Agreement

Phnom Penh, December 22, 2010 AKP -- The Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP) and Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reached here this morning an agreement on information cooperation.

The Information Cooperation Agreement was signed by Secretary of State at the Ministry of Information in charge of AKP H.E. Hor Sopheap and visiting ITAR-TASS Deputy Director General H.E. Alexander Klein under the witness of Information Minister H.E. Khieu Kanharith and Russian Ambassador to Cambodia H.E. Alexander Ignatov.

At the signing ceremony, both the Information minister and the Russian ambassador shared the same idea that the agreement will help increase mutual understanding between the two peoples.

Earlier before the signing ceremony, there was a bilateral meeting between AKP and ITAR-TASS. Both sides briefed each other on the history, the structure and the work of their news agencies. They also agreed to exchange news articles in English and in French through different communication modes. --AKP




Japan Donates Mine Clearance Equipment to CMAC

Phnom Penh, December 22, 2010 AKP -- The Japanese government has provided mine clearance equipment to Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC).

The handover ceremony was held on Dec. 21 in Battambang province under the presidency of H.E. Prak Sokhon, delegate minister attached to the prime minister and vice chairman of the Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA), H.E. Prach Chan, governor of Battambang and H.E. Kuroki Masafumi, Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia.

Speaking at the ceremony, CMAC Director General H.E. Heng Ratana expressed profound gratitude to the Japanese government and people for their valuable assistance to Cambodia.

This is the 6th assistance from Japan to Cambodia, as part of the US$122-million Peace Building Project signed by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Hor Namhong and Japanese Ambassador H.E. Kuroki Masafumi on Nov. 25, 2009. --AKP

By Théng



Embassy of Malaysia in Phnom Penh Relocated

Phnom Penh, December 22, 2010 AKP -- The Embassy of Malaysia in Phnom Penh has been relocated to its new complex near the Embassies of Japan and Thailand.

According to a diplomatic note of the Malaysian Embassy sent to the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the details of the new complex are as follows:

New address : Embassy of Malaysia

No. 220-222, Norodom Blvd, Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Khan Chamcarmon, Phnom Penh

Telephone : 023 216 176/177

Fax : 023 726 101

SRP alleges fraud in Kraya compensation

via CAAI

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:01 Meas Sokchea

THE opposition Sam Rainsy Party claims authorities in Kampong Thom province’s Santuk district have begun clearing “thousands of hectares” of land belonging to 160 families as compensation for victims of a high-profile land eviction last year.

It also claims a portion of the land has been awarded to the Vietnamese rubber firm responsible for the evictions.

Men Sothavarin, an SRP lawmaker representing Kampong Thom, wrote to Interior Minister Sar Kheng last week, calling for him to intervene in the clearance of the land, which he claims began in Kraya commune on December 2.

“Article 5 of the Land Law states that no individual should have his property confiscated if the confiscation is not in the public interest,” the letter read.

“The confiscation must be done according to legal procedures after the granting of fair and just compensation.”

In December of last year, as many as 1,700 families were forced off their land in Kraya commune to make way for a 8,100-hectare rubber plantation being developed by Vietnam’s Tin Bien company. The villagers, many of them military veterans, were shifted seven kilometres away to Thmor Samleang village, where they built new homes. Provincial authorities said in June that they planned to distribute plots of farmland as compensation.

Men Sothavarin said yesterday that land was being cleared in Thmor Samleang for 77 families evicted last year, but that large parts of it were also being handed to Tin Bien. He wrote that the evictees should be given unoccupied land, while the handover of land to Tin Bien lay outside the law altogether.

“It is illegal that the authorities take thousands of hectares of the people’s land to give to the Vietnamese company,” he said. He added that deal had been done with the collusion of Santuk district governor Pich Sothea.

Pich Sothea dismissed the allegation yesterday, saying the land had been provided to 77 families of disabled veterans in line with existing government policy. The 160 families were in unlawful occupation of the land and though their crops will not be razed, he said they would not be paid compensation. He said “more than 1,000 hectares” had been cleared.

“I have not been involved with the Tin Bien Company,” Pich Sothea said. “If I took that land to give to a Vietnamese company, I would resign from my post, I guarantee it.” He added that if the accusation “affected [his] honour”, he would take legal action against Men Sothavarin.

Tin Bien could not be reached for comment yesterday.

South African jailed 10 years

via CAAI

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:01 Chrann Chamroeun

A 61-YEAR-OLD South African man was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday on cross-border human trafficking charges after he attempted to sell two Vietnamese sisters from Cambodia to a brothel in Thailand earlier this year.

Blake Mogamata Tape was arrested on September 17 at the Waterview guesthouse in Daun Penh district’s Wat Phnom commune following a complaint from the mother of the victims filed after one of her daughters called her from a brothel in Bangkok, where they were reportedly being held against their will.

Chen Da, deputy chief of the Phnom Penh anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection unit, told the court yesterday that 46-year-old Choeung Thidav, the mother of the victims, lodged a complaint with police on September 16 saying that her daughters had called her for help from Bangkok.

The women became afraid that they had been sold to the brothel when, after traveling with Tape to Thailand, he allegedly left them at the site and disappeared, claiming he was going to get visas for them to live in South Africa.

Judge Ker Sakhorn sentenced Tape to 10 years in prison after convicting him of attempting to sell humans across borders under the Kingdom’s old human trafficking law, rather than of the initial charge of unlawful removal for cross-border transfer under the new human trafficking law.

The judge also ordered Tape to pay 6 million riel (US$1,477) in compensation to the victims’ mother in addition to a 5 million riel fine. Tape has one month to appeal the conviction.

“The court’s conviction is just and acceptable, although the compensation was not our former request of US$5,000,” one of the victims said following the hearing yesterday.

“I will take some money to immigration officials at the Poipet border crossing in Banteay Meanchey to thank them for their tireless efforts to free us from Thailand and arrest the man.”

Police Blotter: 22 Dec 2010

via CAAI

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:01 Sen David

Drunk driving sinks military officers
Three military police officers were seriously injured after they crashed their car into a pond in Poipet town, Banteay Meanchey province on Saturday night. According to police, the men had gone to a wedding party and consumed a large amount of alcohol, then drove home and crashed into a pond where they almost drowned. Fortunately, a neighbour saw the accident and helped pull the tipsy trio to shore. The officers survived the accident and were immediately sent to hospital.

Cat burglar prowls no more in the capital
A 24-year-old man was arrested on Monday night in Tuol Kork district, after he robbed a house of valuables while the residents slept. The victim told police that the thief entered his house and stole rings, telephones and money before the homeowners awoke, scared him off and called police. When the man was arrested he admitted to the crime and police said he will soon be sent to court.

Police smell trouble, arrest three drug users
Three students were arrested while sniffing glue in the capital’s Daun Penh district on Sunday. The students did not live in the area, and after gathering evidence on the alleged drug users, the police arrested them and sent them to an NGO for re-education. RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Woman killed after robbery on motorbike
A 45-year-old woman died after she was violently robbed while returning home from a wedding in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district on Monday. Police said the woman was riding on the back of a motorbike taxi when a thief snatched her necklace, causing her to fall to the ground and sustain serious injuries. She later died at a hospital, while the thief managed to escape with her necklace and about 50,000 riel (US$12.31). RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Woman’s body found in Kampong Trach pond
The body of a 41-year-old woman was found floating in a pond by two fishermen in Kampot province’s Kampong Trach district on Saturday. Police concluded that the woman had drowned in the water and that there was no evidence that a crime had taken place. The victim was last seen by her husband riding a bicycle to a market on Sunday. KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Cottage destroyed in Kampong Chhnang fire
A cottage was badly damaged in Kampong Chhnang province’s Samaki Meanchey district on Monday after a fire erupted from a rice cooker. No one was injured but all of the valuables in the home were destroyed. KOH SANTEPEHAP

Border opening hours to lengthen as Thai visitors increase

via CAAI

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:01 Soeun Say

THE daily number of Thai nationals entering Cambodia by land has increased six-fold only five days after the bilateral visa exemption was introduced, according to officials.

Oung Oeun, governor of Banteay Meanchey Province which borders Thailand, told The Post that statistics showed up to 300 Thai nationals were crossing into Cambodia per day since the new visa-free rule was brought into effect last Thursday.

“Since the visa-free exemption was effected, the data we collected shows Thai tourists coming to our side is increasing everyday to between 200 to 300 tourists a day, whereas before we had only 30 to 50 tourists a day,” he said.

In another development, two border checkpoints between Cambodia and Thailand will increase their hours of opening to cater for and encourage the border crossings, he said.

Oung Oeun met with the provincial governor of the neighbouring Thai province Sakeo yesterday where they agreed to extend the hours of operation for the Boeung Trakoun and Malay border checkpoints to enable citizens of both countries to expand their businesses.

“On January 1 2011, we will together announce to citizens of both countries the border will be open from 8am to 5pm ... everyday, from Monday to Sunday” he told The Post by phone, after the meeting.

The two checkpoints are currently open from 9am to 4pm, Tuesday to Friday – a schedule introduced in 1998, according to Oung Oeun.

“Opening these regional border checkpoints more will make it easier for the Cambodian people living in the areas across the border to trade more goods such as rice, cassava, corn, beans and more,” he said.

“I hope it will help our people living in these areas to improve their living conditions more and more by giving them more time and days to cross the border.”

Cambodia and Thailand’s new visa-exemption allows citizens of both countries to travel visa-free in the other country for 14 days.

Tobacco farming on the up

Photo by: Rann Reuy
Pang Phal, 45, works in a tobacco field in Kampong Cham province’s Thong Khmum district last month. Land dedicated to growing the plant has more than doubled in recent years, according to provincial officals.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:01 Rann Reuy

LAND used to grow tobacco has doubled in one province this year, despite the government introducing measures to discourage tobacco smoking.

Oem Voeun, deputy chief of administration from the Kampong Cham agricultural department, said tobacco farming has sharply increased and is the livelihood for thousands of families in some districts.

Land used for tobacco farming has more than doubled in the province to 5,000 hectares, according to statistics for 2009-2010, up from 1,670 hectares on the 2008-2009 comparison.

He said people living in the districts along the Mekong River were more likely to depend on tobacco farming for income as access to water ensured good crops.

“Moreover, some firms have encouraged them to plant [tobacco],” he said, but did not elaborate what the incentives were.

Som Ra, director of agricultural office in Kroch Chhmar district, said farmers flocked to plant tobacco in 2010 because the tobacco price had increased to more than US$3 per kilogramme in 2009. However, he estimated the popularity could decrease because the price had dropped to $1.7 per kilogramme this year.

“I think that some people will move to growing corn because the price went down,” he said.

He said mainly companies from Europe, China, and Vietnam ordered and processed the tobacco grown in Kampong Cham.

Pang Phal, a 45-year-old tobacco planter in Tboung Khmom district said that he planted about 20,000 bunches on half a hectare of land, spending more than 1 million riel on fertilizer and ploughing. He could generate 3 million riel in revenue if the price remained as high as last year, but was concerned it would not.

“Last year, dry tobacco cost over 10,000 riel per kilogramme but it decreased to around 5,000 riel this year,” he said.

The government said in September it may soon ban tobacco advertising. It passed a sub-decree in July requiring health warning labels on cigarette packets.

Stock exchange currency ‘soon’ to be decided

via CAAI

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:01 May Kunmakara

THE government said yesterday it was close to making a decision on which currency will be used for trading on the Cambodia Stock Exchange (CSX), but experts remain divided on which would be the best option.

Ming Bankosal, Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia, said the exchange would make the final decision following some further public consultation next month.

“We are still studying it because we want to understand the impact it will have on the economy if we use just our currency or just the foreign currency [US dollars] or both of them,” he said.

In Channy, president and CEO of Acleda bank which is also a licensed broker for the exchange, said he welcomed whatever decision the government made but preferred using the local currency.

“We are operators; we always comply with the government’s decision. However, for us we prefer using riel over a foreign currency,” he said.

“If we use our currency, we can have our monetary authority act whenever it fluctuates – we have enough power to stabilise it. But, if we use a foreign currency, we don’t have monetary authority. We just rely on [the foreign] monetary policy.”

Lee Hyung Joon, Deputy Manager of the South Korean exchange’s trading board KOSDAQ, told the Post in Seoul last week the exchange’s view was “one stock, one price”.

“It can be possible to use US dollars in the stock market once US dollars are denominated in your economy – I think it does not pose any problem,” he said. “But if you accept two prices [using two currencies], the prices can fluctuate or change more. It is very hard to control.”

Gymnasts grab medals

The Cambodian junior women’s team (left) – consisting of Sow Sokhim, Phan Sopheak and Veas Sorphon – line up on the podium after claiming silver in the 2nd Asian Aerobic Gymnastic Championships held in Ho Chi Minh City over the weekend. Photo Supplied

via CAAI

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

THE seven-member Cambodian Aerobic Gymnastics team returned home from the 2nd Asian Championships in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday with their heads held high after markedly better performances than last year. The squad brought back an individual bronze medal and team silver medals.

The two day event boasted an athletic assembly of 93 gymnasts – including many world championship medalists – from 11 countries such as China, Japan, India and South Korea.

Talented local gymnast Sow Sokhim stayed resolutely in the hunt for medals, before being edged out to the bronze position by decidedly stronger Vietnamese and Mongolian rivals.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian junior women’s team produced their all time best display to pick up a silver medal much to the delight of head coach Noy Phana, who said four years of training together had helped the girls to near perfect coordination and timing.

There was also cheer for the Kingdom in the junior men’s section when Nget Veasna landed an excellent execution score, only for superior performances by Japanese and Vietnamese gymnasts to push him out off the podium into fourth in his debut international event.

For 15-year-old Veas Sarith, the tournament was an eye-opening experience. The teenager came into the championship as a total stranger to sprung wooden floors, and he took time to adjust to the surface.

In the fiercely competitive senior men’s individual category, Sow Sopheng managed good execution and artistic scores, but his difficulty level let him down amongst a field that had ten different countries represented.

The senior men’s team trio of Sopheng, Sarith and Sum Srorn placed eighth out of ten ahead of Vietnam and the Philippines, with Srorn’s injury to his Achilles tendon limiting their effort.

Head coach Noy Phana took promise from the improvements in results.

“Overall I am happy that every competitor managed to score better than last year, and it should boost our morale in next year’s SEA Games in Indonesia where we have a good chance of picking up some medals,” he said.

However, the team is clearly disadvantaged by the absence of an international judge and a sprung floor at their home facility.

The Phnom Penh Post News in Brief

via CAAI

Puth Amab succumbs to injuries from fight

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:00 Yeun Ponlok

Local kickboxer Puth Amab died Monday night at Calmette hospital from injuries sustained in a fight at Bayon TV boxing arena on Sunday. National Olympic Committee of Cambodia President Thong Khon said the death will be fully investigated and is currently awaiting a report from the boxing federation, who declined to comment yesterday. Bayon TV are said to be responsible for the costs of the investigation. This is the second tragedy that has hit Cambodian boxing this year after Sor Sopheak died after his bout at CTN boxing arena in June. Puth Amab’s body was sent to his home province of Svay Rieng yesterday for cremation.

Thai nationals leave country after pardon

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:01 Cheang Sokha

THREE Thai nationals released from prison in Siem Reap on Monday after being granted a royal pardon returned to Thailand yesterday, Cambodian border officials said. Touch Ra, deputy director of the Cambodia-Thailand Border Relations Office at the Choam Sa-Ngam border checkpoint in Oddar Meanchey province, said the men were welcomed at the border by family members and Thai officials at around 1pm yesterday. “They travelled by car from Phnom Penh and Thai embassy officials also accompanied them on the trip,” Touch Ra said. The three were arrested and jailed for crossing illegally into Cambodia in August.

Violent man detained

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:01 Kim Yuthana

A 55-YEAR-old man accused of attacking his wife with a hoe was placed in pretrial detention after an appearance at Stung Treng provincial court yesterday, officials said. Soun Leang, chief of the provincial Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Bureau, said yesterday that the victim had been sent to the provincial hospital with a broken hand and serious injuries to her head. He said the man had blamed the attack on a drunken rage, but noted that the victim had reported that it “was not the first time” he had lashed out violently towards her.

German government to support KR victims

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:01 Sebastian Strangio

THE German government has pledged €1.2 million (around US$1.58 million) to support victims’ participation at the Khmer Rouge tribunal. According to a statement issued by the court yesterday, the agreement was signed on Monday by Tony Kranh, the KRT’s Acting Director of Administration, and a senior official from GTZ, the German development agency. The money will go towards a 16-month project, ending in December 2011, that will cover the “processing, outreach, and legal representation” of victims at the hybrid court. Since 2005, Germany has donated over €7 million ($9.22 million) to both the international and national sides of the KRT, the statement said.

Spanish man on trial over child sex charges

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:01 Chrann Chamroeun

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday heard an in absentia case against a Spanish national charged with purchasing child prostitution.

Francisco Pellicer Caules, 57, was arrested and detained in Spain in September of last year, on suspicion of purchasing sex from a 14-year-old boy who had been employed as a cleaner at his rented home in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district, officials said. Prosecutors yesterday called for the suspect to be brought to Cambodia to face the charges.

What's New?

I'm not sure that you'll like the food as much as I did, but I am sure you won't leave IBQQ hungry.

Even though I was full, I still wanted to eat more.
via CAAI
Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:00 Tivea Koam

You are famished and you happen to have 10 bucks to spend on a meal, there may be no better place than the new IBBQ Grill & Soup to stuff yourself.

I had seen the new restaurant, which opened on Friday off Sothearos Blvd. while it was being built and was interested to get my friends together to find out whether or not IBBQ Grill & Soup would become a mainstay in our social schedule or a one time occasion. Oh yeah, and so I could write a review for Lift, of course.

Accompanied by two friends, I walked into the new spot for dinner and the friendly staff greeted and seated us. Like many places trying to look more modern, they were wearing matching black outfits.

Incandescent lights were shining from wooden ceilings, painted black to match the aesthetic of the outfits on employees walking underneath. I’m not sure where the restaurant’s style comes from (Japan?), but it felt like an ideal place to enjoy a meal on the town and chit chat with friends. Unlike Shabu Shabu, another buffet nearby, there is no time limit on eating so you don’t need to rush through your food.

Opened from 3 in the afternoon to 11 at night, the shop can seat and feed around 80 customers on barbecued meat and soup. There are a wide variety of meats available, laid out in a grid on the menu to help you choose what else you want with your meat. There are only a few simple types of seafood, like squid and shrimp, but a waiter told me it was only the second day, and they planned to have more options. I hope it’s the truth.

They also have meatballs made of beef and fish, but those at my table found the fish meatballs to be a bit sour. However, if you stay away from balls and opt for fresh vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, cabbage and others, you won’t be disappointed as they give the soup delicious flavour.

We mixed in butter with our soup, which already contained vegetables, eggs, beef, meatballs and Chinese noodles, and once the smell began to conbine with the scent rising from the barbequed shrimp and squid we grabbed our spoons and got started.

A few minutes later we were feeling less hungry, but we were still very interested in eating. “Even though I am full, I still want to eat more,” said my friend, as I nodded in agreement with my mouth full. “This food is really delicious.”

We didn’t try everything at the restaurant, as we were too full by the time we finished soup and barbeque to try fried rice and some of the other items on the menu. We weren’t quite so stubborn when a waiter came to tell us they also had desserts, which we were yet to try out and we couldn’t help ourselves.

The dessert turned out to be a disappointment, not because I was too full, but because the ice cream was too hard to eat and the jelly didn’t live up to its attractive appearance on our plates. But, despite the unimpressive sweets, IBBQ proved itself to be an excellent place to sit and socialize with your friends and family. It is a bit expensive, but everything about the atmosphere, including the sweet serenades playing over the speakers, will make you happy when you dine there.

There weren’t many youth eating there when we went, but I suspect that will change when word spreads about the new spot. Now that you have read this review, I hope you will check it out for yourself and make IBBQ a new possibility every time you talk about where to go out to eat. If you have a birthday or another celebration on the horizon, IBBQ will also take off 20% if you host a celebration there. Party on!

via CAAI

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:00 Tharum Bun and Kounila Keo

The Constructive Cambodian
Lift's senior writers comment on key issues in the Kingdom


While the WikiLeaks’ cables caused shockwaves, frustration and embarrassment to diplomats around the world, many thought there would be little concern for countries like Cambodia, but that has turned out to be wrong. At least 800 documents sent from the United States embassy in Phnom Penh are set to be released on the internet for public consumption in the coming weeks.

More than 20 days after the ongoing release of the cables started on, which have been written about by all the major international news outlets, one of the most critical from a local perspective came from former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who said Cambodia’s political system was too “personalised” around Prime Minister Hun Sen, while he also described the Vietnamese as “bright, fast learners”.

Cambodia’s government spokesperson – as reported in the Post – has not made any critical comments in response to the comments by Lee, who is now Singapore’s minister mentor.

Early this month United States ambassador to Cambodia Carol Rodley met with her Cambodian counterpart Khieu Kanharith, the Information Minister and government spokesman, to guarantee that Cambodia-US relations were still on track as the 60th anniversary of relations between the two countries was celebrated with visits by high profile American diplomats, including former ambassadors and the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

“When you are not confident with your counterpart there won’t be any progress in discussions. When you say releasing ‘confidential communications’ to be released online, then this is not a ‘confidential’ communication any more,” Khieu Kanharith wrote in an email.

It remains to be seen, though, whether the spill of leaked information on American diplomats’ views on Cambodia’s senior political leaders will cause tension or improve relations or even shed light on the businesses behind the scenes of Cambodia’s foreign affairs. While none of the documents from Cambodia that have been published on the internet have been critically analysed by journalists and commentators, the Kingdom has been mentioned several times by foreign leaders ever since WikiLeaks, arguably the most controversial whistle-blower website in the information age, pledged to publish more than 250,000 documents from 274 US embassies worldwide.

Puy Kea, a veteran Cambodian journalist, said via email: “Whatever the documents are that have been leaked, they are not harmful to the security and stability of one particular country, but instead they help the public learn what is going on in this world. The public [ordinary people] share their roles and responsibilities for the future of their own nations.”

The author of books on Cambodian history also said that “the leaking of the documents, if proven useful, will help the whole world learn specific decisions from leaders or decision makers on sensitive issues such as how serious they are in positions to seek peace, stability or how to improve the economics of his/her country or in the region”.

Australia’s former ambassador to Cambodia Tony Kevin, who served from 1994-97, wrote that “sometimes, people in high places leak confidential embassy reporting when it suits them politically to do so”. The diplomat with 30 years experience in public service had his cable on Australia’s stance during Cambodia’s 1997 faction situation leaked to the media, but former prime minister and current Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd called the leak “harmless”.

“Releasing the secret information without knowing the extent of its power is like opening Pandora’s Box”, wrote the Cambodian government spokesperson.

According to a posting last February, WikiLeaks told its supporters that “our Kenyan PO BOX is no longer considered secure after a break in. Please use Australia or Cambodia instead.” When asked whether the Cambodian government would take any action to stop the organisation from receiving donations, the information minister wrote an email which said: “Until now we have no plan to cut any donation to WikiLeaks. This isn’t a terrorist organisation. But we advised the internet users in Cambodia to be cautious because there might be some fraudulent attempts to use the name of WikiLeaks to pocket the money.”

A media lecturer at the RUPP said: “It is impossible to claim what universal impacts the cables distributed by WikiLeaks can have. It depends totally on the content of the cables. What we can see up to now seems to range from embarrassment to outrage, from amusement to possible danger.” Do the WikiLeaks really make a difference to Cambodians?

Reflections on a different side of the Kingdom

via CAAI

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:00 Dara Saouth and Tivea Koam

Tivea Koam and Dara Saoyuth report back from Mondulkiri, home to some of the most spledid sights in the Kingdom.

Peeking through the trees brings a new surprise every time you stop to look in Mondulkiri. Photo by: DARA SAOYUTH
The eight-hour trip on the bus to Mondulkiri was the longest journey of my life. To reach the final destination of our class trip to one of Cambodia’s most beautiful places we passed through Kandal, Kampong Cham and Kratie provinces. The trip wasn’t going to be all fun, as my media and communications classmates and I were divided into groups to do class projects about eco-tourism. However, we were sure to find plenty of time for fun on the trip.

Being used to watching never ending traffic and looking at buildings that reach high into the sky, I really enjoyed the view along the way to Mondulkiri, filled with various types of trees, expansive fields and rolling mountains. Once the long trip was finally over we were dropped off at the city centre, where we checked out the central market and surrounding parks. The market was small and unimpressive and the park was filled with dust instead of flowers, so we weren’t anxious to stick around.

Although it may be years before rural provinces becomes full fledged tourist attractions, but if Mondulkiri is any indication, change is definitely underway in the Cambodian countryside. Photo by: DARA SAOYUTH

Since 80 percent of the population was comprised of ethnic minorities, making me think the area would be rural with outdated technology, I was surprised to see the town had plenty of guesthouses and karaoke bars. It seemed there were very few differences between life out here and back in Phnom Penh.

But, after talking to some of the native people I began to notice some gaps between urban folk and ethnic minorities in more remote places. The indigenous people often live alongside nature and make a living off it by farming and growing vegetables. Among other things, living deep in the forest or far away from civilisation makes it harder for ethnic minorities to get to school and receive a proper education. Now that industry is beginning to get started in the province, people are able to improve their lives and start their own businesses. We saw an example of this during two nights of parties at Angkor Forest Guesthouse, where we were staying, when people were invited to dance to Khmer music and indigenous music from the local minority population.

What places in Cambodia will become popular ecotourism sites? Tell us at

The hardest part of staying in the northern forest of Cambodia was the uncomfortably chilly temperatures at night and first thing in the morning. I had to cover myself with two blankets just to sleep and wear a sweater when I left my room. Beyond that, I liked everything in Mondulkiri, especially the natural tourism sites. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to say yes if anyone asked me to go there again.

-Dara Saoyuth
Mondulkiri province, located in the far northeast of the country, is far from Phnom Penh and the other well-known centres of tourism and industry in Cambodia, however, the province is gaining a reputation as an idyllic ecotourism site, and is starting to look like it too. With attractions like thick forests, untouched mountains, waterfalls and communities of indigenous Cambodians, I was able to find plenty of interesting things to do for three days. I was amazed with the flowers and forest views passing by as we drove through the mountains. The forests, bodies of water and Dos Kromom mountain, unique spectacles in the Kingdom, instantly made me joyful. With a clear blue sky on one side and an early evening sunset on the other, along with the sprawling meadows and fresh mountain air touching my skin, I forgot work, and everything in the city, and left my worries behind.

These guys weren’t part of our adventure. They were working on a major infrastructure project in Mondulkiri. Photo by: DARA SAOYUTH

One of the most popular places to visit is the Bou Sra and Sen Monorrom waterfalls, which take your breathe away with their intense beauty. These are two of the natural attractions that are bringing more tourists and development to the area.

Despite being much smaller than my home city of Phnom Penh, it was clear that peoples’ lifestyles in Mondulkiri were quite up to date, with teenagers sporting fashionable hairstyles, clothing and possessions they have probably seen on television.

Modern houses have been built, making the city look more elegant, and telecommunications and technology have allowed the city to stay connected with the outside world. Although some places in the province don’t have TV or internet connections, they at least have internet shops open for people to use.

The rural province has made progress in terms of development, for tourism and otherwise, but it still has a long way to grow. There are some destinations for tourists but there haven’t been a lot of services built around them with restaurants or hotels. Businesses and universities are scarce, which means that many locals leave to improve their chances in business or continue their education. There also remains a narrow range of food choices, as wild animal meat seemed to be one of the most popular dishes on the menus around town.

With its diversity of culture, wonderful people and breathtaking scenery, Mondulkiri and its population of more than 60,000 is quickly developing as a future centre for adventurous tourists. It will take years to see if it catches on; however, it is exciting to see that Cambodia’s countryside is capitalising on the development going on in the rest of the country.

-Tivea Koam

Youth of the Week: Sorn Seang Heng

via CAAI

Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:00 Touch Yin Vannith

Our youth of the week told us that he studies from dawn to dusk to keep up with his work as a student at two universities, however, we suspect Sorn Seang Heng is exaggerating a bit because he has somehow found time to become a talented, and award winning, photographer. He rarely gets to switch off school mode, but when he isn’t fulfilling his duties as an interior design major at SETEC University and English literature at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, he prefers time spent with his camera.

19-year-old Sorn Seang Heng told Lift he heads to the Royal Palace or the riverside when he gets a chance to photograph the city and its people. While some photograph to make money, this young Cambodian shoots as his hobby. “I just shoot for fun when I am free,” he said.

While he used to spend time hanging out with friends and playing games, he now passes away free time with his camera. Part of his newfound motivation comes from a recent gift from his mother; a Canon 550D camera to replace a K810i Sony Cyber shoot camera that he had used for more than 4 years. “I am really appreciated my Mum,” he said.

On Nov. 27 of this year, Sorn Seang Heng’s images became the centre of attention when he won 2nd and 3rd place in two competitions being held at the photography festival in November in Siem Riep. He says it was amazing for his photographs to be recognized, since there were about 300 competitors, many who were professional photographers.

Sorn Seang Heng has never formally studied how to shoot photographs but has used her friends, as well as Facebook, to share ideas and help each other improve.

“If you can find a good style for shoot, it will look really cool. Get experience shooting photographs. Even if they look bad, the next time you will know how to shoot it better,” he advised. “It is important to manage your camera system and learn how to use IOS, Shutter speed, lighting and the camera controls. The most complex you get the more you need to learn, explained Sorn Seang Heang.

Although he knows how to shoot great photos, the aspiring photographer understands that he still needs more experience and has much more to learn from his friends and fellow artists. “In the future I want to be a Interior Designer and Photographic Designer,” said Sorn Seang Heng. “I know it is the job for me.”

5 Cool Things by Ty Samporvicheka

via CAAI

      HandbagWhy does that woman look so smart? Next time you ask yourself this question, check to see if she is carrying a handbag. There’s a high chance that she is. If you’re not carrying a handbag with you wherever you go you are making a mistake, because not only will you look more intelligent, you will come to know a whole new world of convenience. It is like having a free vending machine with you at all times; depending on what you carry and the contents of the vending machine in question. If you aren’t one of the many ladies who live life out of their handbag, perhaps you should try it out.

      Matching love keychains
      Christmas is coming and I imagine that some of you are still going crazy trying to find the perfect gift for your sweetheart. Whether you can’t stop thinking about it or it hasn’t crossed your mind, I am going to make a recommendation that any lover will love: matching love keychains. Take a second to think about your special someone holding a piece of you, or at least a symbol of your feelings, at all times. Now, go to a modern clothing shop or stall at the market and choose the design that reminds you of your lover. It will speak for you in those times when you can’t be there to speak for yourself.

      Fake flowers
      I have no idea how much you like decorating your house to make it more comfortable and inviting, but I suspect you are the type of person who just loves to come up with creative ideas for the interior of your house. Fake flowers, made with fabric, are without rival when it comes to making your living space look good. They are easy to change if you want; but, unlike real flowers which need to be replaced whether you like them or not, these decorations will stay beautiful as long as you desire their beauty. Better yet, you will spend less money on maintaining a gorgeous spring-time aesthetic. Are you ready to decorate your house with fake flowers? I am.

      Bluetooth headphones
      With busy lives and so many jobs to do, wireless headsets are one of those little changes that will make your life easier and more productive. Just put the Bluetooth headphones over your ears and you can listen to music while you move around or talk on the phone without having to hold anything in your hand. You can keep in touch with your business associates or friends while you take care of your work around the house or exercise. It will also make your in-transit conversations on the motor-bike or car much safer as you can still keep two hands on the wheel. Pick the right design, and you can add improved style to the list of reasons to buy a Bluetooth headset.

      It’s been a long day at work or a long week at school and you don’t want to do anything besides relaxing. Well, there is nothing better than some familiar TV programmes to keep you company while you lay back and let go of your stress. You can also continue your learning by using the tube to get news about current events and developments around the world. When you want to be entertained there is no shortage of programmes that will brighten your mood when you are bored or lonely. I love my TV. It is there for me the same way that I know your TV is there for you whenever you need it.

      Pupils brighten airport terminal with paintings

      A Northbridge International School pupil with her artwork at Phnom Penh International Airport, while teacher Kelli Cody poses with some paintings by her pupils.

      via CAAI

      Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:00 Post Staff

      PASSENGERS at Phnom Penh International Airport can see an exhibition of paintings by 25 pupils of Northbridge International School Cambodia, which remains on display until January 6.

      The young artists range from five to 17 years old, coming from a rainbow of nations, said elementary art school teacher Kelli Cody.

      “There are also 10 quotes from students explaining what they feel about art,” she said. “The airport is a great location for parents, school staff, students and their families to see their artwork in public. I always love the reaction and pride that students feel when they are able to see their artwork displayed professionally.”

      Special thanks went to Norinda Khek and Silen Yong for working to allow the art to be displayed at the international terminal, Cody said.

      This was the school's first public art exhibit but would not be the last, she said. Already there are plans for touring the art show around Phnom Penh, but Northbridge school was still working on specific dates and locations around town.

      Flyin' high in Phnom Penh

      Photo by: Heng Chivoan

      via CAAI

      Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:01 Heng Chivoan

      Children play with kites during the 14th Khmer Kite Festival held on Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island yesterday. More than 100 competitors from 20 provinces and cities took part in the annual competition.

      New drug law under fire

      Photo by: Heng Chivoan
      UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visits a methadone clinic at the Cambodia-Russia Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh during his visit in October.

      via CAAI

      Tuesday, 21 December 2010 19:23 Sebastian Strangio

      Human rights groups have attacked the contents of a new draft drug law, describing it as a “dangerous mess” that could further institutionalise the abuse of drug users in government-run treatment centres.

      Critics have also questioned the role of the United Nations drug agency involved with the drafting of the law, claiming it has not made sufficient efforts to ensure the law adheres to the agency’s own minimum standards for drug treatment.

      The draft, a recent version of which was obtained by The Post, lays out the new punishments for drug trafficking, possession and use. It also dictates the circumstances under which drug users can be forced to undertake controversial treatment programmes.

      In its current form, rights activists say the law is consistent with the punitive drug policies in force in Vietnam and China and could result in drug users being abused and compelled to perform forced labour.

      “As it currently stands, the draft law is internally contradictory, confusing, at odds with international law and contrary to best practices in criminal justice, drug treatment, mental health and harm reduction,” said Damon Barrett, a senior human rights analyst at the United Kingdom-based International Harm Reduction Association. “It is a dangerous mess.”

      Among the concerns are provisions defining a drug addict as any person who “consumes drugs and is under the influence of drugs” (Article 4). The draft also contains no provisions exempting needle exchanges and other harm reduction organisations from prosecution under six articles relating to the “facilitation” of drug use.

      Naly Pilorge, director of local rights group Licadho, said the law appeared to “miss the target” when it comes to drug addiction. The absence of exemptions for harm reduction services could also deter groups from providing such services to drug users, she said.

      Of greatest concern, however, are sections of the draft dealing with the involuntary treatment of drug users.

      In January, Human Rights Watch reported on the conditions in seven Cambodian drug-detention centres, documenting the “widespread beatings, whippings, and electric shock[s]” of detainees. Under Article 109 of the draft, drug users can be forced into involuntary treatment for up to two years.

      “In its current form, the draft law is worse,” said Joe Amon, director of HRW’s health and human rights division. “Drug users will be detained longer and there are inadequate guarantees that they’ll get appropriate treatment for drug dependency.”

      While Article 101 of the draft claims treatment and rehabilitation can only take place with the consent of drug users, it says treatment can be compelled in “special cases”, for the “benefit of the drug addict” or for the “common interest”. Naly Pilorge said that considering the government’s track record in arbitrary detention, such vague terms were “bound to be abused”.

      Despite recent improvements – such as the launch of a community-based drug treatment programme in October – there are indications the government is still moving toward a more punitive model of drug treatment.

      This month, the Council of Ministers approved plans for the country’s largest drug rehabilitation centre. Moek Dara, Secretary General of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said the facility would be built on 20 hectares of land in Preah Sihanouk province donated by tycoon Mong Reththy, and would have a capacity of 2,000.

      “We’re not forcing them to be bad, we’re forcing them to be good,” he said at the time. Mong Reththy added that internees would be invited to work on plantations that he owns nearby.

      Moek Dara yesterday defended the harsher penalties in the new draft law, saying they would only target those who produce, transport or purchase drugs – not drug addicts.

      “We decided to put harsher penalties for drug offences because we wanted to completely stop the people from using, producing and smuggling all kinds of drugs in our country,” he said, adding that the law would meet “international legal standards”.

      “These penalties were also suggested by our mixed experts, including Cambodian drug experts, UN drug experts and other international experts, who have been involved in drafting the Drug Law,” he added.

      A ‘contradictory’ approach

      Rights activists, however, say the UN Office on Drugs and Crime – the UN agency most closely involved in the drafting of the new law – has not done enough to ensure the legislation adheres to international best practice.

      Indeed, the current draft appears to fall well short of recommendations contained in a UNODC discussion paper, which lays out unofficial agency standards for involuntary drug treatment.

      The paper, from October 2009, states that spells of such treatment “should not exceed a maximum of some days and should be applied under strict legal supervision only”. A typical treatment period, it adds, should last from “several hours to a maximum of several days” – compared with the two-year maximum contained in the new draft legislation.

      The paper states that the evidence of the therapeutic effect of long-term involuntary treatment was “lacking”, and recommended the eventual phase-out of such forms of treatment.

      Echoing HRW’s report from January, the UNODC recognises that such facilities can devolve into “labour camps with unpaid, forced labour” akin to “a form of extra judicial punishment”.

      But critics say UNODC’s approach towards Cambodian drug policy has been contradictory and at odds with its official position.

      In an internal project document from 2009, a copy of which was seen by The Post, the UNODC stated that its legal team had made a legislative proposal to the Cambodian government the year before to “substantially modify current Cambodian drug legislation”, and to amend five sections of the old law. Among these was the “strengthening [of] penalties for drug offences and other drug-related crimes”.

      The same document, however, also pointed out that the agency had not been able to ensure “that the penalty threshold for drug offences was lowered, that human rights were protected and that the law was consistent with harm reduction principles”. Despite these concerns, it only recommended that the law be reviewed three years after its passage.

      “UNODC has made public statements that Cambodia’s centres should be closed, while simultaneously working up a law to increase periods of compulsory ‘treatment’ in the centres,” HRW’s Amon said.

      “Despite what they’ve said in public, the real behind-the-scenes technical assistance to the Cambodian government follows an old-fashioned ‘war on drugs’ mentality in which human rights concerns are an afterthought.”

      As an example, he said the agency could be doing “much more” to publicly counter misinformation about the apparent success of Vietnamese drug treatment centres.

      Naly Pilorge of Licadho agreed that the money and “public praises” bestowed on the government by UN agencies should be conditional on the adoption of certain policies, “including this upcoming drug law”.

      Officials from UNODC, however, defended the agency’s role in the drafting of the law, saying its inputs were “consistent with the principles and values” of the UN.

      “We have formally proposed a number [of] amendments to the draft law,” said Olivier Lermet, UNODC’s country manager. “Through this communication we (all the UN agencies) have sought to bring the draft law into line with [Cambodia’s] international obligations.”

      Lermet also dismissed criticisms that the agency had wavered in its approach. “The voice of UNODC on this issue is loud and clear,” he said. “We have formally written our inputs to the Royal Government of Cambodia and there is absolutely no ambiguity in our stance.”

      While drug traffickers must be the focus of actions taken by the anti-drug authorities, people who use drugs “must be seen and treated as patients, requiring support rather than [punishment] or incarceration”, he said.

      As an example, he cited the establishment of a Community Based Drug Treatment programme as evidence of the agency’s concrete action.

      Pieter van Maaren, the World Health Organisation’s representative in Cambodia, said the WHO – which has also provided input on aspects of the law – had advocated for the adoption of “evidence-informed approaches” to all forms of drug treatment and rehabilitation.

      Van Maaren said the WHO has long advocated the closure of treatment centres not adopting forms of proven treatment, but that it was the responsibility of the government to make the changes. It is “not the role of the UN to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state”, he added.

      In any case, the NACD’s Moek Dara said the draft was complete and would likely be passed to the National Assembly for approval early next year.

      Barrett from the IHRA said it was difficult to say with certainty what effect the law will have if passed in its current form, but said the outlook was “not good”.

      “Experience dictates that when laws create a supportive legal environment for human rights abuses, then those abuses are more likely,” he said.

      “That is exactly what this law does – it is an invitation for human rights violations.”