Tuesday, 1 February 2011

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via CAAI

Cambodia, Thai argue over diplomatic notes on pagoda and flag

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 08:15 dap-news

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia and Thailand throw arguments over diplomatic notes concerning the pagoda and flag that have been existing near Cambodia's Preah Vihear Temple since 1998.

On Monday, the Thai Foreign Ministry issued a statement demanding Cambodia to remove the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda and Cambodian national flag flying over the pagoda from the disputed area adjacent to the Temple of Preah Vihear.

The statement said the pagoda "is situated on Thai territory."

But, Cambodia, through the Foreign Ministry denied Tuesday with a diplomatic note saying "It is well acknowledged in Thailand that the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda was built by the people of Cambodia in 1998 with the flag of the Kingdom of Cambodia flying over this pagoda since then."

"The question is why only now that Thailand demanded for the removal of Cambodia's flag. Until now, Cambodia has never received any official demand from Thailand," it said.

"The Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda is legally well situated in Cambodian territory; and by no means will Cambodia relocate this pagoda elsewhere and Cambodia will continue to fly its flags there, " the statement added.

The argument is exchanged amid two Thai nationals being tried in Phnom Penh on Tuesday for their illegal entry, illegal trespass into a military zone and collecting information which is harmful to Cambodia's national affairs.

They were arrested in Banteay Meanchey Province by the Cambodian authorities on Dec. 29 for the above acts.

The two are known as Veera Somkwamkid, one of the leaders of the People's Network Against Corruption and an activist in the Thailand Patriot Network, and his secretary known as Ratree Pipatanapaiboon. Enditem ..

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THAILAND MUST BE SENSITIVE TO ICAPP VOICES AND TO THE WISDOM OF WORLD OPINION

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 04:54 DAP-NEWS .- The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) reaffirmed the ICJ Decision 15 June 1962;

- The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) reaffirmed the World Heritage Committee to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List;

- The Cambodian flag flies over territory under Cambodian sovereignty only.


There is no Cambodian flag flying over "the disputed area". Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva should not be alarmed and wrongly demand that the Cambodian flag be removed. It flies certainly over territory under Cambodian sovereignty only, in the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear.

It is Cambodia's longstanding official position that there is "no overlapping area," and "no disputed area" near the Temple of Preah Vihear, based on the Dangrek Map, known in legal and international circles as the ANNEX I map, accepted and used by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1962 in order to make the historical, legal and international judgments of 15 June 1962, (Cambodia vs Thailand), case: The Temple of Preah Vihear. The ICJ found that Thailand had accepted the ANNEX I map, which confers the binding character of the ANNEX I map on the parties to the 13 February 1904 Convention.

The site of the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda is situated 300 meters west of the Temple of Preah Vihear and 700 meters south of the frontier on the ANNEX I map, as delimited by the Mixed Commission composed of French and Siamese officers prescribed in the provisions of Articles 1 and 3 of the 13 February 1904 Convention.

Legitimately and legally speaking, this is an area under Cambodian sovereignty, and as such Cambodia is free to fly her flag or develop infrastructure aimed at improving the living conditions of the people in communities which had been established under Cambodian administrative supervision and control. Having said that, as long as (i) it is not a Thai provocation by actions and words, (ii) not a cause to cloud the relations and mutual understandings between Cambodia and Thailand, (iii) not hidden or open violations of Cambodia sovereignty by Thailand, how Thailand sees the frontier line on the ANNEX I map would not be a concern for Cambodia. The ANNEX I map exists legally. An international, final and stable frontier line exists legally as delimited by the Mixed Commission and as shown on the map.

Most recently, on 5 December 2010, after concluding successfully the 6th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) represented by 89 Asian ruling and opposition political parties, ICAPP Standing Committee members visited the Temple of Preah Vihear. They stood on the grounds of the Temple, turning their eyes north, looking at Thailand, and:

- Reaffirmed the great international significance and outstanding universal value -very pure, significant and exceptional- of this Temple in accordance with the cultural standard of UNESCO, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008, and expressed their appreciation of the Decision made by the World Heritage Committee to inscribe the Temple on the World Heritage List in Quebec, Canada;

- Expressed their entire satisfaction with the decision of the International Court of Justice in June 1962, which ruled the Temple of Preah Vihear is indisputably situated in territory under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Cambodia;

- Appealed to the international community for their immediate assistance in restoring, preserving and protecting the Temple, following the example of ICC-Angkor, which should be applied as a model for the sacred site of the Temple of Preah Vihear.

As it is known universally among civilized nations in case of contention, there exist international standards, rules and procedures to resolve the differences peacefully, and in this instance between Cambodia and Thailand. Rolling tanks, sending troops to the border areas, beefed up troops with heavy weapons by Thailand are acts of provocation and the threat of using forces is imminent not to be ignored by the Cambodian people and government.

Thailand, since the days of the ICJ proceedings has shown its true color to be driven by insatiable territorial ambition over Cambodia and has resorted to innuendo, speculation and suggestion in a variety of ways intended to intoxicate international public opinion with the scheme of swaying it to the side of Thailand and to believe that Thailand is a victim of Cambodian territorial encroachment and that Cambodia has remained badly mean and aggressive and yet unpunished by the international public opinion. Sure enough, Thai people, for nationalist reasons have fallen for that. But the international public opinion, despite relentless campaigns by Thai powerful media in many different foreign languages, has instead given to Thailand a slap in the face by:

- Being skeptical from the start, knowing that Thailand is relatively much, much more economically and military powerful than Cambodia to allow the latter to bully Thailand; that is unthinkable.

- Believing that Thailand as a whole from top to bottom would not have tolerated any neighbors had they encroach Thai territory, or occupy a square inch of Thai territory, and asking why Thailand has not acted if it was true.

- Seeing Thailand's indecisiveness and hesitation pertinent to the alleged loss of Thai "disputed territory" as the admission of Thailand's scare of the unknown resulting from its lie and deception if it pursues military, diplomatic or international legal action.

- Getting tired of the same broken song about "overlapping area" and "disputed area," while insisting to resolve the "problems" bi-laterally and resisting the alternative approach of finishing up the Thai unproductive and annoying saga full of innuendo, suggestion and speculation, by using the good auspices of ASEAN and the UNITED NATIONS.

- Concluding that Thailand is a crying baby, and that is the end of it.

The Cambodian people have reasons to be thankful to the international public opinion for its fairness in listening to their voices telling the fact and the truth and referring only to the binding international convention treaty and legality.

Often times Thailand's provocations and threats of using forces are real and therefore, they demand vigilance from Cambodians at all times. Well over two years now, since 15 July 2008, Thailand has learnt some sad lessons that it should not have messed around with Cambodia, under the wise leadership of Prime Minister, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen who has the dream and the wisdom of building peaceful and developing areas along the border of Cambodia with Thailand and other neighbors, but is determined to lead a united Cambodia to defend her sovereignty and safeguard her territorial integrity.

Waddhana P

Senior Analyst and Researcher on Cambodian-Thai Relations Institute for International Affairs, Cambodia

AKP - The Agence Kampuchea Press


via CAAI

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Meets Cambodian Defense Minister

Phnom Penh, February 1, 2011 AKP – Visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense H.E. Derek Mitchell met here on Jan. 31 with Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Tea Banh, minister of National Defense.

His visit to Cambodia is to boost the defense policy discussion between the United States and Cambodia at defense deputy minister level, he told the Cambodian defense minister.

The discussions between the two countries were held from general department to defense deputy minister levels following a visit by Cambodian Defense Minister H.E. Tea Banh to the United States last year, during which he met with U.S. Defense Secretary H.E. Robert Gates in Washington.

He believed that the defense policy talks will not only enhance the cooperation between the two nations, but among the region as well.

It will also give good views in the future, he said.

In reply, H.E. Tea Banh told the U.S. guest of the current situation of Cambodian-Thai border in Preah Vihear Temple region.

He also raised some issues relating to Cambodian army reform in response to the recommendations of Cambodian prime minister and the retirement being imposed on disabled soldiers and soldier retirees.

The U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense, who arrived here on Jan. 29, also visited a military training center in Kampong Speu province. –AKP

By THOU Poeu

______

Ministry of Public Works and Transport Signs Document with Foreign Company on Road Quality

Phnom Penh, February 1, 2011 AKP – Cambodia’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport last Friday granted a French technical consulting company to monitor the quality of the 950 kilometer-long road rehabilitation and construction project.

The agreement was signed by H.E. Tram Iv Tek, minister of Public Works and Transport and Ms. Lynne Reyes Sauvage, director of Egis International.

The almost-US$2 million contract lasts for five years. –AKP

By KHAN Sophirom

______

Koh Pich Island Developer Begins to Construct Two More Bridges

Phnom Penh, February 1, 2011 AKP – The ground-breaking ceremony for the two new Koh Pich bridges located in Koh Pich Island in Phnom Penh was launched on Jan. 31 in the presence of Phnom Penh Governor H.E. Kep Chutema.

The two bridges with the same length of 101 meters long and 12.70 meters wide, one for entry and the other one for exit, are dubbed “Twin Dragons”. The construction is expected to complete in October this year.

Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Kep Chutema said Koh Pich Island developer is planning to invest over US$118 million on several development projects and a 555-meter tower on Koh Pich Island will be also built in 2015. –AKP

By Théng

______

THAILAND MUST BE SENSITIVE TO ICAPP VOICES AND TO THE WISDOM OF WORLD OPINION

• The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) reaffirmed the ICJ Decision 15 June 1962;
• The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) reaffirmed the World Heritage Committee to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List;

• The Cambodian flag flies over territory under Cambodian sovereignty only.

There is no Cambodian flag flying over “the disputed area”. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva should not be alarmed and wrongly demand that the Cambodian flag be removed. It flies certainly over territory under Cambodian sovereignty only, in the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear.

It is Cambodia’s longstanding official position that there is “no overlapping area,” and “no disputed area” near the Temple of Preah Vihear, based on the Dangrek Map, known in legal and international circles as the ANNEX I map, accepted and used by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1962 in order to make the historical, legal and international judgments of 15 June 1962, (Cambodia vs Thailand), case: The Temple of Preah Vihear. The ICJ found that Thailand had accepted the ANNEX I map, which confers the binding character of the ANNEX I map on the parties to the 13 February 1904 Convention.

The site of the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda is situated 300 meters west of the Temple of Preah Vihear and 700 meters south of the frontier on the ANNEX I map, as delimited by the Mixed Commission composed of French and Siamese officers prescribed in the provisions of Articles 1 and 3 of the 13 February 1904 Convention.

Legitimately and legally speaking, this is an area under Cambodian sovereignty, and as such Cambodia is free to fly her flag or develop infrastructure aimed at improving the living conditions of the people in communities which had been established under Cambodian administrative supervision and control. Having said that, as long as (i) it is not a Thai provocation by actions and words, (ii) not a cause to cloud the relations and mutual understandings between Cambodia and Thailand, (iii) not hidden or open violations of Cambodia sovereignty by Thailand, how Thailand sees the frontier line on the ANNEX I map would not be a concern for Cambodia. The ANNEX I map exists legally. An international, final and stable frontier line exists legally as delimited by the Mixed Commission and as shown on the map.

Most recently, on 5 December 2010, after concluding successfully the 6th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) represented by 89 Asian ruling and opposition political parties, ICAPP Standing Committee members visited the Temple of Preah Vihear. They stood on the grounds of the Temple, turning their eyes north, looking at Thailand, and:

• Reaffirmed the great international significance and outstanding universal value –very pure, significant and exceptional- of this Temple in accordance with the cultural standard of UNESCO, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008, and expressed their appreciation of the Decision made by the World Heritage Committee to inscribe the Temple on the World Heritage List in Quebec, Canada;

• Expressed their entire satisfaction with the decision of the International Court of Justice in June 1962, which ruled the Temple of Preah Vihear is indisputably situated in territory under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Cambodia;

• Appealed to the international community for their immediate assistance in restoring, preserving and protecting the Temple, following the example of ICC-Angkor, which should be applied as a model for the sacred site of the Temple of Preah Vihear.

As it is known universally among civilized nations in case of contention, there exist international standards, rules and procedures to resolve the differences peacefully, and in this instance between Cambodia and Thailand. Rolling tanks, sending troops to the border areas, beefed up troops with heavy weapons by Thailand are acts of provocation and the threat of using forces is imminent not to be ignored by the Cambodian people and government.

Thailand, since the days of the ICJ proceedings has shown its true color to be driven by insatiable territorial ambition over Cambodia and has resorted to innuendo, speculation and suggestion in a variety of ways intended to intoxicate international public opinion with the scheme of swaying it to the side of Thailand and to believe that Thailand is a victim of Cambodian territorial encroachment and that Cambodia has remained badly mean and aggressive and yet unpunished by the international public opinion. Sure enough, Thai people, for nationalist reasons have fallen for that. But the international public opinion, despite relentless campaigns by Thai powerful media in many different foreign languages, has instead given to Thailand a slap in the face by:

• Being skeptical from the start, knowing that Thailand is relatively much, much more economically and military powerful than Cambodia to allow the latter to bully Thailand; that is unthinkable.

• Believing that Thailand as a whole from top to bottom would not have tolerated any neighbors had they encroach Thai territory, or occupy a square inch of Thai territory, and asking why Thailand has not acted if it was true.

• Seeing Thailand’s indecisiveness and hesitation pertinent to the alleged loss of Thai “disputed territory” as the admission of Thailand’s scare of the unknown resulting from its lie and deception if it pursues military, diplomatic or international legal action.

• Getting tired of the same broken song about “overlapping area” and “disputed area,” while insisting to resolve the “problems” bi-laterally and resisting the alternative approach of finishing up the Thai unproductive and annoying saga full of innuendo, suggestion and speculation, by using the good auspices of ASEAN and the UNITED NATIONS.

• Concluding that Thailand is a crying baby, and that is the end of it.

The Cambodian people have reasons to be thankful to the international public opinion for its fairness in listening to their voices telling the fact and the truth and referring only to the binding international convention treaty and legality.

Often times Thailand’s provocations and threats of using forces are real and therefore, they demand vigilance from Cambodians at all times. Well over two years now, since 15 July 2008, Thailand has learnt some sad lessons that it should not have messed around with Cambodia, under the wise leadership of Prime Minister, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen who has the dream and the wisdom of building peaceful and developing areas along the border of Cambodia with Thailand and other neighbors, but is determined to lead a united Cambodia to defend her sovereignty and safeguard her territorial integrity.

Waddhana P

Senior Analyst and Researcher on

Cambodian-Thai Relations

Institute for International Affairs, Cambodia
1 February 2011

(The comments are solely the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Government of Cambodia.)

______

Cambodian NA Delegation Leaves for International Conference in Quebec

Phnom Penh, February 1, 2011 AKP – A Cambodian delegation of the National Assembly led by its First Vice-President H.E. Nguon Nhel departed here on Jan. 31 to Canada to attend the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CIDEC), taking place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5 in Quebec.

According to a press release of Cambodia’s NA Secretariat General, NA delegations from 77 countries will take part in this six-day conference.

On the occasion, on behalf of Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, NA president and chairman of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly for 2010-2011, H.E. Nguon Nhel will deliver a speech and join a discussion on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. –AKP

By SOKMOM Nimul

______

Cambodia Is Determined to Maximize Cooperation and Minimize Conflict

Phnom Penh, February 1, 2011 AKP – Cambodian Information Minister H.E. Khieu Kanharith received here yesterday a delegation of the Media Union of ASEAN led by its Secretary General Mr. Prasit Sangrungrueng.

The meeting focused particularly on two Thai nationals, who are still held in custody awaiting trial to be held on Feb. 1, 2011.

The two Thais are among a group of seven who were arrested on Dec. 29, 2010 by Cambodian border protection troops for illegal entry into Cambodian territory in Banteay Meanchey province and then charged for illegal entry into Cambodia and unlawful entry into military zone.

They are Veera Somkwamkid, a core member of the Thailand Patriot Network, and Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, known as Veera’s woman secretary. They face additional charge of an attempt in collecting information which might damage Cambodia’s national security.

The other five were sentenced on Jan. 21 by Phnom Penh Municipal Court to nine-month prison terms, but their jail term is suspended. They returned home the following day.

In the meeting, H.E. Khieu Kanharith iterated that no one could intervene in the court procedure. “We can help only when the court finished its procedure,” he underlined, recommending that the case should be stopped at the first instance court like that of the five Thais.

There is no benefit for Cambodia to keep Veera Somkwamkid longtime in the country, but we also do not want him to use Cambodia’s court for his political gain, H.E. Khieu Kanharith stressed.

The Cambodian information minister further recalled Cambodia’s position to solve the border issue peacefully, to maximize the cooperation and to minimize the conflict. “Cambodia and Thailand have to live together forever. We can not change to other places. […] It’s normal that no nation wants to lose its territory, but the most important is to do our best to avoid violence and war. If we fight, that’s the people who died, not the politicians,” he said.

In Cambodia, he added, there are also politicians who used border issue for their political gains. But the Royal Government of Cambodia called on people to leave the issue to the technical group. Once the group finished the border demarcation, the politicians can examine its works.

H.E. Khieu Kanharith also pledged to submit the Thai request to help the two detained Thais to Premier Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen. –AKP

By SOKMOM Nimul

Falling steel kills worker in Phnom Penh


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:02 Thomas Miller and Kim Yuthana

A contruction worker died in Phnom Penh this weekend while he was about to be transported to Vietnam for medical treatment after a metal pole fell 13 stories and struck his head, police, workers and an eyewitness said yesterday.

The man was working on Saturday afternoon without a helmet, according to a witness, on an apartment building owned by Greater Apartment Building company in Chamkarmon district’s Boeung Keng Kang I commune.

The general manager for the apartment was “busy” when contacted yesterday.

A commune police official, who requested anonymity, said the worker, identified as Ngel Vy, 36, was from Prey Veng province. An investigation into the incident is ongoing, but several testimonies suggested it was an accident, he said.

He did not know whether the company would pay compensation, which he said may be negotiated by a relative of the deceased who works at the same site.

A construction worker, who also asked not to be named, said Ngel Vy was transported to Mekong Hospital, but then sent to Calmette Hospital because of his critical condition.

He said Ngel Vy’s relative on the site requested that he then be sent to Vietnam for treatment. He died on the way.

A witness, who asked not to be named, said he heard the accident and saw the worker splayed on the ground amid a panicked scene.

“I was 10 feet away. It was apparent he had a massive head injury,” he said.

Workers loaded the man onto the back of a motorcycle, he said.

“He was just like a wet noodle, hanging off, blood spilling everywhere,” he said.

The policeman said Ngel Vy had been taken away by the time he arrived, and saw only a pool of blood.

The head of the construction site “did not cooperate” or provide detailed information about the accident, he said.

Chhouy Meng, head of the emergency care unit and vice chief of the technical office at Calmette, said doctors at Calmette do not usually transfer patients in critical condition to Vietnam for treatment.

HRP lashes out at SRP unity plan


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:02 Meas Sokchea

Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha says two merger options proposed by opposition leader Sam Rainsy last month are aimed at dissolving his party and bringing it under the control of the Sam Rainsy Party.

In a letter dated yesterday, Kem Sokha said Sam Rainsy’s merger formulas – put forward in a January 24 letter – did not have the national interest in mind.

“The HRP understands that the formula of such a merger is not the exact aim of the majority of Khmer patriots,” Kem Sokha wrote. “On the contrary, this formula is just the desire to melt the HRP to bring it under the aegis of the SRP.”

He said that the HRP-SRP merger should aim to rally Khmer patriotic forces into a widespread democratic movement, in order to cut into the majority of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

“So, if [Sam Rainsy] and the SRP have an intention to merge, I would like to request to have quick talks between the work teams of both our parties,” letter read.

The two parties have been in merger talks since the CPP won a landslide victory at the 2008 national elections.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann declined to comment in detail yesterday.

Prosecutors submit outline for Case 002


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:02 James O'Toole

Prosecutor's at the Khmer Rouge tribunal have set forth a rough outline for proceedings in the court’s looming second trial, which some say will be among the most complex international war crimes cases ever tried.

In a submission to the court’s Trial Chamber dated Friday, the prosecutors suggested that the trial proceed in semi-chronological fashion, beginning with events including the evacuation of Phnom Penh and the execution of Khmer Republic officials that took place around April 1975.

The proceedings could then move to an examination of regime policies and hierarchy before finally looking at the specific crime sites and events listed in last year’s indictment, the prosecutors wrote.

Also in the Friday submission, the prosecutors offered lists of witnesses, civil parties and expert commentators that they requested be summoned to appear at the trial, which is expected to begin within the next six months.

While the identities of those on the lists remain confidential, prosecutors have asked that 16 experts, 247 witnesses and 32 civil parties be summoned for testimony.

“The testimony of at least these individuals will be central to the Co-Prosecutors’ ability to prove the vast matrix of crimes and modes of individual criminal responsibility alleged in the indictment,” the prosecutors wrote.

International co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley has said he expects the Case 002 trial to take at least two years.

During the tribunal’s first trial – that of former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch – the court heard from nine experts, 17 fact witnesses, seven character witnesses and 22 civil parties over roughly six months of hearings. Duch was found guilty of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions in July, and his appeal is set to be heard in March.

Prison upgrade: New facility approved for Pursat


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:01 May Titthara

Prison upgrade

Plans are under way to close a Pursat provincial detention centre and replace it with a new facility built by a private company. Nguon Lay, director of the facility, said it would be located in Sampov Meas district’s Prey Oral village about 5 kilometres from the provincial town. He said the relocation would be made because the current location was too small, adding that the new site sits on 7 hectares of land and that the new prison would hold close to 700 detainees, more than doubling the current capacity of 250-300. “We don’t know when we will be able to move to our new place, however, Premier Hun Sen approved the proposal,” Nguon Lay said. Pon Chhen, a coordinator with the rights group Licadho, said the new centre would be better because the old one held 5 to 7 detainees in the same room.

Fisheries officials under fire


Photo by: Will Baxter
A fisherman patches holes in his boat on the banks of the Tonle Sap lake in Siem Reap province in November of 2010. Villagers in the province have accused fisheries officials of accepting bribes.

via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:01 Mom Kunthear

Forty-two families in Siem Reap province filed a complaint to the provincial governor, local rights group Adhoc and Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers accusing three fisheries officials of accepting bribes from Vietnamese fishermen.

The families, from Siem Reap town’s Chung Khnies commune, filed the complaint last week against Siem Reap provincial Chief of Fisheries Tem Savuth, Chung Khnies commune Chief of Fisheries Srey Keosopheak and provincial Fishery Official Thy Oun.

Tith Bunreth, a representative of the families, claimed yesterday that the three officials had accepted bribes from Vietnamese fishermen operating illegally in the commune.

“Those officials have taken some money from the Vietnamese fishermen,” he said.

Tith Bunreth said that the officials allowed Vietnamese fishermen to use illegal equipment and to destroy equipment belonging to the families.

“We informed those officials many times that the Vietnamese fishermen used the illegal fishing nets, which have small holes to collect small fish, and they also used electrical tools.”

Seng Thoeun, another representative of the families, said that Tem Savuth yesterday invited representatives to a meeting to discuss the complaint.

“We decided that we won’t go because we are worried about our security, but we will go if they send an official letter inviting us,” he said.

Siem Reap provincial Chief of Fishery Tem Savuth, yesterday denied the allegations.

“I will sue them for defamation if I find out that they wrongly accused me and my officials,” he said.

Remote province gets court


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:01 May Titthara

A new provincial court opened yesterday in Oddar Meanchey province, which officials say will provide easier access to legal institutions for the province’s residents.

Eak Phalla, president of the new provincial court, took up his post yesterday in the presence of Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana and provincial governor Pich Sokhen.

The province has not had a court since 1966, and people previously had to travel to Siem Reap provincial court for criminal and civil cases.

Eak Phalla said the court, located in the provincial capital Samrong, would ease travel time and expenses for local people. It will hear both criminal and civil cases.

“Our court will receive new cases as of Monday,” he said. “Prior cases will not be transferred to the new court. They will continue to be handled by the Siem Reap provincial court.”

Chan Soveth, senior investigator for the rights group Adhoc, approved of the court’s opening, saying that having courts in each province would make it easier for citizens to have their cases heard.

“When it is far away they can lose confidence in the justice system,” he said.

Officer arrested for shooting


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:01 Chhay Channyda

A Kandal province police officer was arrested yesterday for allegedly shooting three fishermen in Sa’ang district, leaving one dead and another victim seriously injured.

According to the district police chief and rights group Adhoc, the incident occurred yesterday morning when the officer attempted to stop the three fishermen from using illegal nets on Boeung Ta Nhov lake in Kraing Yov commune.

Men Makara, provincial coordinator with Adhoc, said the suspect allegedly sought bribe money from the fishermen, who refused to pay.

The officer then allegedly shot San Seng, 37, who died from wounds to his chest. Yong Sokheang, 27, is being treated in hospital for serious injuries from a gunshot wound to the knee.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[The officer] should not have shot them, even if they did wrong

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A third victim, 37-year-old Pheng Neth, was shot in the arm, but his injuries were not considered serious. By yesterday afternoon, the 40-year-old suspect was arrested by district police.

Sa’ang district Police Chief Meang Pich said the suspect was being detained at district police offices ahead of his transfer to provincial police headquarters for interrogation.

“We accused him of murder and he’s the only perpetrator in the shooting,” said Meang Pich. He added that another officer was present during the incident, but wasn’t arrested because he didn’t shoot the villagers.

Men Makara said Yong Sokheang was initially sent to a provincial hospital, but was transferred to Preah Kossomak Hospital in Phnom Penh due to the severity of his injuries. Pheng Neth was treated and later released from hospital.

Lun Leang, Kraing Yov commune chief, confirmed that the victims were fishing on the lake, using illegal magnetic nets, to support their families.

“[The officer] should not have shot them, even if they did wrong,” said Lun Leang.

Khorm Sarim, a relative to Yong Sokheang, said the victim’s family had started borrowing money from friends to pay for medical costs.

Police Blotter: 1 Feb 2011


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:01 Sen David

Police track suspect to Kampong Cham
Police in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district on Friday arrested a man suspected of committing robberies in the Kandal area since 2007. Police said that the suspect escaped to Kampong Cham province after he and a friend robbed a pig seller in 2007. The accused was arrested after injuring a person in Kampong Cham province, prompting local investigations that revealed the man’s involvement in robberies in Kandal. He was then handed over to police in Kandal, where he admitted that he committed the robberies.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Two men detained over attempted killing
Police in Stung Treng province said that two men were arrested for attempted murder on Saturday. Police said the crime was allegedly committed in Kampong Cham, after which they went to live in the Stung Treng area. Police in Stung Treng, who have handed the pair over to authorities in Kampong Cham, said they had committed a serious crime and could not escape forever.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Garment factory head accuses staff of theft
A factory worker and two security guards were detained by police after the factory owner accused them of stealing. The factory owner told police that he ordered them to transfer clothes from another factory to store at his factory. He ordered them to transfer 3,222 items of clothing but when they arrived, the owner claims 300 items were missing. He accused the three of stealing and filed a complaint to the police to investigate it. Police are investigating this case.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

Villagers attack drunk for stealing buffalo
A 46-year-old man was nearly killed by a group of villagers after he stole a villager’s buffalo in Svay Rieng province’s Chantrea district on Saturday. Police said the wife and children of the accused man had left him. He was living alone and always drunk. The owner of the buffalo said that on the day in question, the man stole his buffalo, after which he called for help from villagers, who attacked the accused man. Police sent the man to hospital and detained him after he had recovered.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

Drowning leaves two children parentless
Police in Kampot province’s Dang Tong district said a father and mother’s recent deaths have left their two little children without anyone to look after them. Police said that the children’s mother died last week from an illness. Shortly after her death, the father went to a lake to find vegetables, where he then drowned. The villagers said that they pity their children very much right now, since there is no one to take care of them.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

Weavers needled by silk price


A woman weaves silk in Preak Tov village, in Kandal province’s Khsach Kandal district, last month. Photo by: Heng Chivoan

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Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:00 Chun Sophal

SILK thread imports for textile weaving dropped by 25 percent in 2010, the Khmer Silk Village Association has said.

Kae Muny, general secretary of the association, said spiralling silk thread prices in 2010 fuelled a significant reduction in the import of thread, with amounts dropping by a quarter on 2009 to just 300 tonnes.

“We imported less silk thread last year because silk weavers had cut down their production due to the high price of raw materials,” Kae Muny said.

In 2010, imported raw silk cost on average US$41 per kilogramme, $11 higher than in 2009. The cost of raw silk has continued to rise this year, with imported silk thread valued at $52 per kilogramme at the end of January this year.

Kae Muny said there was unlikely to be any relief for silk weavers if prices remain high, impacting on the quantity of silk imported from countries such as China and Vietnam.

“It is difficult to estimate the amount of silk thread that will be imported this year, as today the silk price has soared and we don’t know when it will go down.”

Men Sineurn, executive director of the Cambodian Craftsman Association, said rising silk prices in late 2010 signalled that raw silk imports would continue to decline.

Men Sineurn told The Post last year Cambodian silk weavers had little option but to use imported thread, as locally produced raw silk could only meet one percent of market demand. In August, industry sources said as many as half the Kingdom’s silk weavers had abandoned their jobs in the two months previous as prices rose.

Riverhouse guru nurses growth


Stephen Nyirady, CEO of S&A Enterprises, at Riverhouse on Phnom Penh’s Sisowath Quay. Photo by: Wesley Monts

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Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:00 Mary Kozlovski

TWELVE years ago Phnom Penh’s riverfront was a “strip of dirt with a few pubs like The Pink Elephant and Happy Pizza”, according to Stephen Nyirady, chief executive officer of venue management company S&A Enterprises.

In 1999, Nyirady was an NGO worker living in an upstairs apartment on Sisowath Quay, in a space now known as Riverhouse – the cocktail lounge and restaurant which forms part of the six-company strong S&A operation.

A registered nurse trained in the United States, Nyirady was an associate director in charge of health programmes at an NGO. He worked in six Cambodian provinces at a time when the Khmer Rouge was still active in the countryside, and military checkpoints and landmines riddled the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

His career change came unexpectedly in 1999, after he met his now wife at a Moroccan restaurant in the capital called Casablanca.

“The restaurant my wife was working at was closing down,” said Nyirady. “The staff were saying: ‘Why don’t you open your own place and we’ll come with you? Open your own restaurant’. She said, ‘Why not?’”

With an initial investment of US$12,000 they opened Riverhouse Restaurant in 2000, under the umbrella of S&A Enterprises.

“We didn’t have the money,” said Nyirady. “My wife sold her jewellery to pay for the bills to build the restaurant and when we opened it was all or nothing.

“We did so well within six months that we made back the initial investment plus another $10,000.”

The success of the venture led S&A Enterprises to expand by opening a cocktail lounge above the restaurant – in what was once Nyirady’s apartment.

Today S&A oversees the now popular nightclub, along with Lemongrass Restaurant, Noodle House, Sarika Garden Grill, and Harem Shisha Lounge.

Nyirady said Phnom Penh’s small size in comparison with other Asian capitals made it an ideal place to open new venues.

“If we had started off in Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur ... it would have been a big challenge. It would take a lot more money, a lot more capital. It would take a much higher standard of everything.

“Being in Cambodia 10 to 12 years ago, we could open up a family restaurant and be successful because it’s a small town and people come because they know you.”

The rapid development of Phnom Penh over the past decade has upped competition for S&A Enterprises in the food and beverage industry, leading Nyirady to shift his focus from an expat to a Cambodian target market.

The move, he said, is in part responsible for a 20 percent year-on-year growth in business.

“Cambodians are the ones who are going to be your clients forever. This is their country. Expats come and go,” he said.

“Khmers will spend, on average, about 20 to 30 percent more than foreigners will, per head. We’re not subject to the ups and downs of the tourist market.

“The [Riverhouse] Lounge, for example, when we first opened was about 80 percent foreigners. Now we’re about 80 percent Khmer.”

But the businessman has not forgotten his NGO roots.

Despite his departure from the sector, Nyirady argues that he still works in community development by nurturing his employees’ skill bases.

S&A Enterprises has a structured training program, requiring all staff to attend weekly sessions.

“We’re developing human resources,” said Nyirady, “I’ve got about 150 staff now working for me.”

“When you’re working in the NGOs, one of the biggest focuses is trying to be sustainable, so you’re doing capacity-building for your staff.

“Hopefully when your project ends, the staff will continue on, or the knowledge and skills that they’ve developed and learned will benefit them in the future.

“I enjoy developing people and projects and that’s what I’m doing in this business.”

ATM scam: Limit lower at ACLEDA Bank ATMs


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:00 May Kunmakara

ACLEDA Bank is halving the limit on the size of some withdrawals from its ATMs to US$500 per day in response to recent large cash transactions from some Vietnamese card holders, according to ACLEDA Executive Vice President So Phonnary.

Cardholders from Vietnam’s Techombank have been crossing into the Kingdom and withdrawing large amounts of US dollars.

They are taking advantage of the difference between the official exchange rate for the Vietnamese dong, and unofficial exchange rate offered in Cambodia and on the black market in their country.

The process has been a “bother” for ACLEDA, but has been manageable, according to So Phonnary.

ACLEDA President In Channy said the National Bank of Cambodia had advised the firm about the withdrawals, but added that the actions by individual Techombank cardholders were not strictly illegal.

Season to smoke fish in riverside villages


The skewered fish are laid on bamboo frames to be smoked for five or six hours. PHOTOS BY HENG CHIVOAN

Fisherman Mr Vouthy, 37, harvests fish ready for smoking.


Above, threading fish onto skewers. Below, tending the fire is a smoky task

Steady flames and smoke preserve the fish and lend a special flavour.


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Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:00 Ou Mom

FRESH, smoked, raw, dried and fermented fish of all kinds lends a special type of power to Cambodian cuisine. Fish in one of these forms can be found in most of the nation’s dishes.

This is the prime fishing season for communities living along the Tonle Sap river and lake. Families skewer the fish then lay them out on bamboo grills, to be smoked by a fire built beneath.

Fish stocks have declined over the past 10 years in his area, according to fisherman Sok Bros of Prek Khmeng village in Lvea Em district, downstream from Phnom Penh in Kandal province.

He blames shallower water, an increasing number of fishermen and higher costs for raw materials. However, his family is still busy between October and April, the prime fishing season, he says.

“We do not harvest as much as previously, we are not so busy, only from April to June, in low-water season. Most fish that my villagers can afford are small, priced from 1,200 riel to 1,500 riel per kilogramme,” says the fisherman.

He spreads his nets at midday and hauls them in to retrieve his catch around midnight, even through heavy rainstorms, he says.

Once the fish are gutted, the family threads them by the dozen on to skewers, then smokes them over an open fire – a task requiring all eight family members, says Sok Bros.

“We put the skewers on a bamboo frame over a low fire to dry out the fish. In the fishing season, my family can smoke about 200 or 300 fish a day, weighing about 30 kilogrammes,” he explains.

He sells most of his smoked fish to middlemen who buy skewers to sell to villages and markets. They sell for between 23,000 riel and 30,000 riel for 100 skewers of fish, he says.

Village Chief Soun Som Ouern says that 80 percent of villagers in Prek Khmeng are fishermen, while about 20 percent work as farmers.

Jump start


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Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:01 Heng Chivoan

A young equestrian rider guides her horse over an obstacle during the first session of the seventh annual Norodom Sihanouk du Cambodge Championship at the Cambodian Country Club on Sunday. Additional events will be held over the next two Sundays.

Twin Dragon breaks ground


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Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:01 Pha Lina

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema and city officials survey equipment that will be used in the construction of the US$2.5 million Twin Dragon bridge, which will connect the north side of Diamond Island to Hun Sen Park. The construction comes in the wake of the November 22 stampede on a suspension bridge leading to the island, which left 353 people dead.

byMinistry statement

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Published on February 1, 2011

The Foreign Ministry's statement concerning the Cambodian flag over Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda:

"With reference to the declaration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia dated January 28, 2011 regarding the issue of the flag of the Kingdom of Cambodia that is flying over the "Keo Sikha Kiri Svara" Pagoda, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand wishes to state the following:

1. According to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary of 2000, the 1904 and 1907 Treaties and "other documents relating to the application" of both treaties are the relevant legal documents to determine the boundary line. Thailand therefore does not accept the assertion by Cambodia that the 1:200,000 map is the basis for determining the boundary.

2. Cambodia also admitted in the aforementioned declaration that the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 1962 did not rule on the question of the boundary line between Thailand and Cambodia.

3. Thailand maintains that the "Keo Sikha Kiri Svara" Pagoda is situated on Thai territory, and demands that Cambodia remove both the pagoda and the Cambodian flag flying over the pagoda. This is a reiteration of the many protests that Thailand has submitted to Cambodia regarding the activities carried out in the pagoda and the surrounding area, all of which constitute violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Thailand.

4. The Ministry reaffirms Thailand's commitment to resolving all boundary issues with Cambodia in accordance with international law through peaceful means under the framework of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC). The determination of the boundary line in the area of the Temple of Phra Viharn [Preah Vihear Temple] is still subject to ongoing negotiation under the framework of the JBC."

Kicking poverty


via CAAI

Natalie Tims
1st February 2011

Christy Jefferson is leaving for Cambodia to help develop a football programme. Photo / Garry Brandon


Two Aucklanders kicking back in Southeast Asia. Nothing unusual in that? Natalie Tims explains why Ben and Kristy Jefferson will have to be at the top of their game.

It is one of those great conversation killers at dinner parties: "We're going to Cambodia for six months on our savings, to help out at a soccer school."

Ben and Kristy Jefferson, however, have complete faith their trip will be nothing short of an adventure. The 26- and 27- year-old leave New Zealand in March for the Battambang province of northwestern Cambodia where they will work with a community soccer school that offers free coaching to children and adults.

The Sport and Leadership Training Academy (SALT) is a small, non-governmental organisation giving something that's fun, active and positive to people weighed down by poverty.

The opportunity for the couple arose through a contact Ben made on a soccer tour of Cambodia eight years ago with the New Zealand organisation Soccer Plus.

"We wanted to take a trip overseas and I had been to Cambodia and really loved it."

Ben, a government policy analyst, and Kristy, a secondary school teacher, will help give shape to the academy's current programme while helping to secure funding.

A unique aspect of the academy is its development of soccer programmes for girls, who are often overlooked in Cambodian sport.

"SALT facilitates soccer leagues and equips teams, particularly teams for girls who are often faced with alternatives because of the poverty surrounding them," says Ben.

"It's about using football as a way to combat problems facing communities."

The couple's adventure has met mostly positive responses. "Mum and dad are still a bit wary for my safety," admits Kristy.

A teacher of te reo Maori and social studies, Kristy says she looks forward to learning and experiencing Cambodian culture.

The Jeffersons, who will return to New Zealand via the UK, acknowledge six months in Cambodia will be challenging.

"We're not going out to save the world," says Ben. "We'll be localised and relational and having an adventure, and if we can help people along the way - great."

For more information about SALT schemes, see http://www.saltacademy.net/

Thailand takes stand on pagoda

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By SUPALAK GANJANAKHUNDEE
THE NATION
Published on February 1, 2011


Thailand yesterday officially demanded that Cambodia remove Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda and the Cambodian flag flying over the structure from the disputed border area around Preah Vihear Temple, while reaffirming its vow to resolve boundary issues through "peaceful means".

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement maintaining its claim that the Buddhist pagoda erected by Cambodia in 1998 "is situated on Thai territory".
The statement was issued days after Phnom Penh rejected Bangkok's request to take down the Cambodian flag from the pagoda.

Phnom Penh insisted last Friday that it had the legitimate right to fly its flag over the pagoda, which it claimed was on its territory.

The area of 4.6 square kilometres adjacent to Preah Vihear has not yet been demarcated because of the overlapping ownership claims.

The area was delimited in line with the Franco- Siamese treaties of 1904 and 1907. Cambodia claims that the Franco- Siamese joint commission produced a series of maps from 1905-08 to indicate that the area in question is Cambodian territory.

Thailand, in the statement yesterday, said it did not accept the France-made 1:200,000-scale map to determine the boundary line.

Cambodia argues that the International Court of Justice, when it ruled on the Preah Vihear case in 1962, used the map as a basic document to make the judgement, which says "the temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory under sovereignty of Cambodia".

Phnom Penh said the memorandum of understanding on land-boundary demarcation signed by Thailand and Cambodia in 2000 also recognised the French map as the legal basis for boundary surveys and demarcation.

The border conflict has become a thorn in the side of the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration after the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy raised awareness of the issue among the public. The PAD accuses the government of ceding Thai territory to Cambodia ever since the MoU signed in 2000, during the Democrat Party-led administration under Chuan Leekpai, recognised the French map.

They called on the government to scrap the pact and use force to evict the Cambodian community from the area, along with the pagoda. Hundreds of PAD supporters and one of its splinter groups, the Thai Patriots Network, are camping out in protest around Government House.

Thai Patriots Network member Samdin Lertbutr yesterday sued Abhisit, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya for alleged criminal misconduct in causing the loss of territory.

The Thai Patriots Network has insisted that it has proof that the property belongs to Thailand.

Abhisit urged the protesters to share their information on the boundary with the government, rather than protesting and trying to force him to follow their way.

"We have the same goal to protect the national interest. I wonder why we don't share the information. We have a different stance because we have different information," he said.

The yellow-shirt demonstration as well as news of the deployment of heavy military hardware to border areas has exacerbated tensions in the relations of the two countries.

Cambodia boosted troops in the border area near Preah Vihear after a report that the Thai military would hold an exercise.

"They [Thai troops] are doing manoeuvres and we are also doing them - that is why we need to send tanks and other weapons to the border," Cambodian Military Division 3 Commander Srey Doek was quoted as saying by the Phnom Penh Post. "Our armed forces are on alert."

Abhisit said he did not want to wage any war with Cambodia.

"The two countries retain their same old stance on the issue to protect their respective rights but both sides insist on settling the problem by peaceful means through negotiation," he said.

The Foreign Ministry in its statement said Thailand was committed to resolving all boundary issues with Cambodia in accordance with international law through peaceful means under the framework of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC).

The determination of the boundary line in the area of Preah Vihear Temple is still subject to ongoing talks under the framework of the JBC, it said.

Abhisit's government also needs to provide assistance to release nationalist Veera Somkwamkid and his aide Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, who go on trial today in Phnom Penh. They have been detained on the charge of espionage.

The two, together with five other activists who have already been convicted and released, were arrested on December 29 while inspecting the disputed border area near Sa Kaew's Ban Nong Chan. Their colleagues from the Thai Patriots Network, who are to be in Phnom Penh today, want to ask the court to delay the decision, as they will submit more evidence to prove that the two Thais were arrested on Thai soil.

The neighbourhood in Sa Kaew is also in a grey area but Thai authorities said that in this case the yellow shirts had strayed too far beyond the frontier line claimed by Thailand.

runmizeThailand asserts Cambodia will remove flag from Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda


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BANGKOK, Jan 31 -- Thailand has demanded that Cambodia remove both the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda and the Cambodian flag flying over the pagoda while reasserting that the pagoda is in Thai territory.

The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday issued a statement asserting that Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda built by Cambodia in 1998 is situated on Thai territory and demanded that the neighbouring country remove both the pagoda and the national flag flying over the pagoda.

The statement said it is a reiteration of the many protests Thailand has submitted regarding Cambodian activities at the pagoda and the surrounding area, all of which constitute violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Thailand.

The statement was issued days after Phnom Penh rejected a Thai demand to remove the Cambodian national flag, saying that the Cambodian flag is legitimate at the pagoda as it is situated inside Cambodia.

The Cambodian government earlier reiterated that Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda, nearby Preah Vihear, is clearly situated within the territory of Cambodia according to the map drawn by the Franco-Siamese Commission in 1908.

The Thai ministry of foreign affairs added that according to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Thailand and Cambodia on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary of 2000, the 1904 and 1907 Treaties and “other documents relating to the application” of both treaties are the relevant legal documents to determine the boundary line.

Thailand therefore does not accept the assertion by Cambodia that the 1:200,000 Map is the basis for determining the boundary, it said.

The ministry also reaffirmed Thailand’s commitment to resolving all boundary issues with Cambodia in accordance with international law through peaceful means under the framework of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Demarcation for the Land Boundary (JBC). The determination of the boundary line in the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear is still subject to ongoing negotiation under the framework of the JBC. (MCOT online news)

Cambodia Struggling With Paddy Rice Flight

Pich Samnang, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Monday, 31 January 2011

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Photo: AP
A Cambodian man carries rice at a paddy rice farm in Bekpeang village, Kampong Cham province. The government wants to see a million tons of milled rice exported by 2015.

“They have their own capital, or can borrow more money from commercial banks.”

One recent afternoon, farmer Hem Preoung was discussing what to do about a small wooden barn full of paddy rice with a group of other farmers.

The 62-year-old farmer is a member of the Preah Theat village farm association, in Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district. For the past five years, she has kept 15 kilograms of harvested paddy rice in the small barn as a kind of bank.

“In the past, we didn’t have enough to eat,” she said in an interview. “But now we save our paddy here to improve our standard of living. The more we save, the better paddy we’ll get.”

Paddy rice, or unprocessed grain that which comes straight from the field, is a vexing question for Cambodia’s farmers and economic policymakers. Not only do farmers not earn as much as they can from it, but the nation has so far been unable to capture and produce it for a high-value product.

Along with 25 other families in the association, Hem Preoung earns about 20 percent interest on her paddy deposits once she decides to withdraw her grain from the bank. And there are five “paddy banks,” as they are called, in the district.

She can borrow seeds from the bank for seed plant or to feed her family, paying 20 percent annual interest herself, avoiding high-interest loans or low-price sales through middlemen.

That’s a change from the normal way of doing things for many farmers, who account for about 80 percent of Cambodia’s population. Typically, a glut of paddy is sold at low prices during harvest time, when farmers are also expected to pay back high-interest loans made during the growing season.

Chhay Meng, a program manager for Caritas Cambodia, who has helped farmer associations set up 17 paddy banks in Kandal province, said these innovations help prevent the whipsaw effect of middlemen and also regulate the flow of paddy to neighboring Thailand and Vietnam.

Nationwide, there are thousands of paddy banks across 18 provinces, according to Cedac, a development NGO. The number is growing as Cambodia looks to produce an abundance or rice for export.

Still, an estimated 70 percent of Cambodia’s paddy surplus finds its way over the borders, according to the Economic Institute of Cambodia. That’s because Cambodia lacks the capital and capacity to buy up the surplus of its own farmers. That informal outflow costs the country millions of dollars in added value, such as the husks.

In its monthly economic outlook for January, the institute suggests the more formal adaptation of the paddy bank system as a means to solve the problem, helping the government reach its goal of greater exports. The government wants to see a million tons of milled rice exported by 2015. In the first 10 months of 2010, it managed less than 380,000 tons.

Noeu Seiha, the EIC’s research manager, said many NGOs are helping farmers set up paddy banks, but these small-scale projects cannot handle the surplus. More formal, larger banks are needed to handle the massive surplus from farms following the harvest, he said.

“When farmers have an abundance of paddy rice, they don't have to hurriedly sell their grains,” he said. “They can deposit their paddies with these banks, and if they need money, they can borrow from the banks to pay their debts or for their own uses.”

The government has plans an “open paddy market,” where farmers can deposit rice in a community storehouse and withdraw it for sale during months of high price, said San Vannty, an undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Agriculture.

The government also hopes to stake more capital with millers to help them absorb paddy from farmers, he said, but he declined to specify an amount.

But the government so far allocates only $36 million, just 10 percent of what’s needed, to buy up paddy surplus. About $20 million of that is provided as loans to rice millers, said Sun Kunthor, president of the Rural Development Bank.

“We just provide them some loans as an incentive to invest more in this field,” he said. “They have their own capital, or can borrow more money from commercial banks.”

For their part, rice millers say they need more capital to buy the paddy and more modern equipment and facilities to produce and store high-quality rice.