Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Cambodia opposition leader loses final appeal

via CAAI

PHNOM PENH, Tuesday 1 March 2011 (AFP) - Cambodia's exiled opposition leader on Tuesday lost a final appeal against a two-year jail term imposed in absentia -- a sentence his lawyer denounced as politically motivated.

Cambodia's Supreme Court upheld Sam Rainsy's conviction early last year for inciting racial discrimination and intentionally damaging wooden posts denoting the boundary with Vietnam in an incident in October 2009.

"The decision by the Supreme Court is not fair and it is not justice for my client. I always tell the court that this is a politically-motivated case, not a penal case," Sam Rainsy's lawyer Choung Chou Ngy told AFP.

"I have not yet consulted with my client about our next step," he added.

The outspoken opposition politician, who lives in France, had already lost his first appeal against the sentence.

He now faces a total of 12 years in prison if he returns to Cambodia, after a court late last year also sentenced him to 10 years in jail for publishing a false map of the border with Vietnam in a separate case.

The Sam Rainsy party and rights groups have in the past said the convictions were an attempt to keep Sam Rainsy from taking part in Cambodia's national election in 2013.

He is the main rival to Prime Minister Hun Sen, 59, who has ruled Cambodia since 1985 and has vowed to remain in power until he is 90 years old.

Sam Rainsy has repeatedly accused Vietnam of encroaching on Cambodian territory.

No formal map has ever been agreed between the two countries.

The neighbouring nations officially began demarcating their 1,270-kilometre (790-mile) border in September 2006 after decades of territorial disputes stemming from French colonial times.

Hun Sen's government has for its part been embroiled in a bitter border dispute with Thailand which has claimed lives on both sides.

Taiwan foundation establishes shelter for sex victims in Cambodia


via CAAI

Taipei, Mar. 1 (CNA) A Taiwanese group dedicated to fighting human trafficking and sexual abuse has established a women's shelter in Cambodia, a country known for commercial sex exploitation, one of the organization's executives said at the launch ceremony Tuesday.

The Pleroma Home for Girls in Phnom Penh will serve as both a shelter and school for girls under 18 and offer sex trafficking victims counseling and career training, said Lily Lee, the project manager and a board member of the Taipei-based Garden of Hope Foundation's branch in New York.

Citing a study done in 2007, Lee said an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 women -- 80 percent of whom are under 18 -- are involved in the sex trafficking trade in Cambodia, a problem that required attention.

"Most girls are involved in the sex business because of poverty, and statistics show that 31 percent of the girls are illiterate, " the project manager said, highlighting education as an important means to finding a solution.

"The situation in Cambodia is like that in Taiwan 20 years ago when women's rights were trampled on and overlooked, " said Chi Hui-jung, the foundation's chief executive officer.

The foundation, which is dedicated to helping victims of the sex industry, sexual abuse, and family violence, has accumulated a wealth of experience in helping female victims in its 23 years, Chi said, and was willing to transfer the knowledge to help the women of Cambodia.

The Pleroma Home, run by staff members trained by the foundation, is expected to take in 10 to 15 girls in the near future.

The long-term goal would be to establish a local girls' school, Lee added.

Though Cambodia has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the government is working closely with local NGOs to promote international exchanges, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), which is funding the transnational shelter project.

A representative of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) who was present at the ceremony applauded the foundation's effort in battling sexual exploitation and called for everyone to act against it.

The U.S.-based Chinese Christian Herald Crusades and Fullness in Christ Fellowship in the United States are also participating in the project.

(By Nancy Liu)

Fringe Dwellers: Life on the Edge in Cambodia

http://www.prlog.org/

via CAAI


Photographer Eva Sutton documents population displacement in Cambodia

PRLog (Press Release) – Feb 28, 2011 – Nearly 1 million hectares of land in rural Cambodia have been granted to private companies as economic land concessions in favor of foreign businesses or political figures, disregarding the human rights and negatively impacting the lives of local rural communities, so dependent on their land for survival. The alienation of indigenous land has compromised the cultural and spiritual life of the Cambodian people. In her series and virtual exhibit Fringe Dwellers, photographer Eva Sutton documents the lives of those Cambodians unrooted from their land, drifting aimlessly in search of a new home.

"It is a nation of wanderers," says Sutton. "From rural villagers, evicted by government land grabs, to those migrating to the city in the fragile hopes for a better life, Cambodia is a poignant example of a global phenomenon of displacement. Rural migrants becoming the urban poor, living in makeshift squatter communities, are an increasing part of the global population, now numbering over one billion, according to recent United Nations estimates. War, genocide and the current climate of government corruption have displaced much of Cambodia’s people, a population of fringe dwellers perpetually on the move."

Sutton's images, taken over the course of the last half decade, do more than just document one of the most ardent issues of modern history. They capture Cambodian people's hope and will to thrive, despite the precarious living conditions they find themselves in.

Fringe Dwellers is available for view on the Forward Thinking Museum site.

UNESCO Rep Meets Cambodian Officials over Preah Vihear Temple Dispute

http://english.ntdtv.com/

via CAAI



Cambodian leaders met with a special representative from UNESCO on Monday. On the agenda… damage to the Preah Vihear temple from recent clashes between Cambodian and Thai troops.

The two countries are facing growing diplomatic pressure to end an armed standoff there. For decades, there’s been a border dispute as to which country the temple belongs to. Recent fighting has left 10 people dead.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his deputy prime minister requested the meetings resume between both countries' world heritage committees.

[Sok An, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister]:
"UNESCO and the World Heritage committee must take action to show they are active in fulfilling their duty, and their duty is to actively take part in saving the Preah Vihear temple. The Preah Vihear temple is not only for Cambodia, it is the world's heritage. That means it is for the whole world."

Cambodia has accused Thailand of firing about 400 artillery rounds at the temple.

[Sok An, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister]:
“It is called a war crime or a crime against religion because they destroyed the pagoda, a crime against the culture through the destruction of the Preah Vihear temple. These are real crimes that were committed by Thailand."

Both sides are continuing a ceasefire they started on February 8.

The area is now empty of civilians, as most have fled the area.

Cambodia court rejects opposition leader’s appeal

via CAAI

By AP News Mar 01, 2011

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia’s top court has rejected an appeal by the country’s exiled opposition leader, who was sentenced to two years in jail for uprooting border markers with Vietnam.

Sam Rainsy, who is living in exile in Paris, was convicted in January 2010 for leading a political protest to pull up the border markers to garner public support and boost his claim that Vietnam is encroaching on Cambodian territory.

Judge Khim Pon rejected his appeal Tuesday, saying the verdict reached earlier by a lower court was valid.

Rainsy was also sentenced separately last year to 10 years in prison for spreading false information about the border dispute.

Critics say the issue is an example of the intimidation of opponents by the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Cambodia positively responds observation TOR on dispute with Thailand: Indonesian minister

via CAAI

JAKARTA, Mar 01, 2011 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Cambodia has positively responded on terms of reference (TOR) on observation about its dispute with Thailand, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said here on Tuesday.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters that on behalf of chairman of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations, Indonesia will send observation teams to both sides to assess the border situation. "We have sent the TOR last week and Cambodia has responded positively. Now, we are waiting for Thailand's response," said Natalegawa.

According to him, Indonesia has established two teams consisting of 30 officials.

"We prepared 15 officials to observe in situation in Thailand' s side, namely the Indonesian Observer Team-Thailand and to the other side, we will send the Indonesian Observer Team-Cambodia," he said.



Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs & Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.
Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs & Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.
Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs & Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.
Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs & Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.
Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs & Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.
Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs & Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.
Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs & Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.
Find Solutions for Enterprises, SMBs & Service Providers at the ITEXPO East, February 2-4, 2011 Miami Beach Convention Center, FL.

He said that the team will move after any agreement made by the two sides.

The two countries have the border conflict just a week after Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008, since then periodic clashes between both sides' troops happened, resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.

The latest clashes, on Feb. 4-7, killed and wounded many soldiers and citizens of both sides, and caused tens of thousands of the two countries' villagers nearby the disputed areas fleeing for safe shelters.

Bird flu on Cambodian border


via CAAI

Published: 1/03/2011 
Online news: Local News

Health authorities are on high alert for bird flu along the Thai-Cambodian border after two Cambodians were reported to have died of the avian virus, Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Paijit Warachit said on Tuesday.

The two confirmed cases were a 21-year-old mother and her 11-month son.

They were sent for hospitalisation at Mongkolburi Hospital in Cambodia’s Banteay Meanchey province after they showed flu-like symptoms after eating a chicken that had bird flu.

The mother died on Feb 13 and the son died on Feb 15, Mr Paijit said .

Thai health authorities were closely monitoring the outbreak along the border. So far there was no report of any poultry having died of the H5N1 strain of the virus in Sa Kaew province, close to the Cambodian outbreak, he said.

Three Cambodians are now reported to have died in the latest outbreak of bird flu, according to the World Health Organisation report as of Feb 28.

There has not been a human bird flu case in Thailand since July 2006. A total of 27 cases were confirmed, with 17 deaths reported, during a series of bird flu outbreaks from 2004 to 2006.

USS Essex Embarks Royal Cambodian Navy Officers

http://www.c7f.navy.mil/

via CAAI

GULF OF THAILAND (Feb. 27, 2011) - Royal Cambodian Navy officers observe flight quarters during a ship tour aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). Essex, commanded by Capt. David Fluker, is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is participating in Cambodian Maritime Exercise 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Greg Johnson)

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Greg Johnson

Posted: February 28, 2011

GULF OF THAILAND – The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) embarked 60 officers from the Royal Cambodian Navy (RCN) Feb. 27-28, to participate in shipboard operations training as part of Cambodia Maritime Exercise 2011.

The training was designed to support the exercise’s goals of enhancing U.S. and Cambodian military interoperability. Throughout the visit, Essex Sailors conducted training on shipboard systems and equipment, damage control and engineering.

“It was an honor to have the opportunity to host our Cambodian counterparts,” said Capt. Dave Fluker, Essex’s commanding officer. “Not only was it a chance for us to learn a little bit more about how each other operates, but it was also a chance to help build important relationships between Sailors of both our navies. I hope exchanges like this will continue to have a positive impact on our ability to work with the Kingdom of Cambodia.”

Throughout their stay, the officers observed how U.S. Sailors train. They also participated in their own damage control fire drill, where they used Essex shipboard equipment and procedures to fight a simulated fire in the ship’s hangar bay.

They adapted quickly, employing first responders, a rapid response team and a hose team that employed repair locker equipment, said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Myers, Essex’s training officer.

“They did very well,” he said. “They asked a lot of questions and were very eager to learn about our damage control methods, and DC3 Acosta did a great job with presenting the damage control training material.”

RCN Capt. Pich Try expressed his satisfaction with the training and said it was extremely effective in accomplishing its goals.

“Training together is very important,” he said. “It is essential to know how to do damage control, and we can take what we learned today back to the many other Sailors who did not have the opportunity to attend this course.”

RCN Sailors also had a chance to see the ship’s bridge, well deck, main machinery room, medical ward and flight deck, where they observed helicopter flight operations.

“I was really surprised to see a lot of equipment and material that I have never seen before,” said Try. “I was very impressed with the inside of the helicopters.”

While familiarization and training on shipboard equipment was an essential part of the visit, the relationships forged between the Sailors of both countries was equally important, said RCN Cmdr. Im Sokhemra.

“On behalf of the Cambodian navy, I can say that we look forward to developing a tighter relationship between the U.S. and Cambodia,” said Sokhemra. “This was the second time I've been on board and everything has always gone very smooth. Everything the Sailors here share with us is very good. I hope to have many future exchanges between our navies.”

Sailors of both countries will not have to wait long for those exchanges, as a number of projects are scheduled throughout the weeklong exercise, including multiple English exchanges, a petty officer leadership course, two community service projects and a sports day.

Cambodia's highest court rejects appeal by exiled opposition leader

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/

via CAAI

Mar 1, 2011

Phnom Penh - Cambodia's Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a two-year jail sentence against exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy for tampering with demarcation posts on the border with Vietnam.

The ruling confirmed the judgement of a lower court last year, which convicted Sam Rainsy of racial incitement and damaging public property after he uprooted several border markers.

Sam Rainsy's lawyer, Choung Chou Ngy, condemned Tuesday's ruling.

'It is not fair - I think this is a political case, not a penal case,' he told the German Press Agency dpa.

Sam Rainsy currently lives in exile in France.

Mu Sochua, a prominent parliamentarian with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), said Tuesday the ruling was predictable since it had come from a judicial system 'totally shaped to silence the opposition.'

'We continue to condemn the form and quality of justice in Cambodia, because the courts are used as a political tool against Mr Sam Rainsy as well as other activists who are not in favour of the policies of the government,' she said.

Mu Sochua, who lost a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen last year, has yet to have her parliamentary immunity restored.

The SRP has charged that the land rights of Cambodian farmers living near the Vietnam border were not being respected in the ongoing process to demarcate the 1,270-kilometre border. The process is scheduled to be completed by 2012.

The incident riled Hanoi, which is a close ally of Hun Sen's government. Vietnam has significant interests in agribusiness, aviation, telecommunications and banking in Cambodia.

The judiciary has long been criticized as being a pawn of the ruling party.

Last June, the United Nations human rights envoy, Surya Subedi, said some judges were not interested in upholding the law. The courts faced 'tremendous challenges in delivering justice for the people of the country, especially the poor and marginalized,' he said.

Damage Caused by Thai Aggression

via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 01:11 DAP-NEWS

In just four days of aggression (4-7 February 201107), Thai military forces inflicted great damage to and around the Temple of Preah Vihear, and to inhabited areas of Cambodia up to 20 kilometres from the temple.

In the Thai attacks with both infantry and artillery, four Cambodian soldiers and one policeman were killed and 30 were wounded. The Thai shelling killed two civilians and wounded one.

The Thai artillery appeared to be deliberately targeting both civilian areas and Cambodian cultural and religious works.

As a result of the attacks, civilians were forced to flee from Svay Chrum, the Preah Vihear Eco-Village, Techo Bossabov Village and Sen Chhey Village. If the intention was to create large numbers of refugees who would complicate the Cambodian authorities' response to the Thai attacks, that was the result. Some over 10,000 Cambodian villagers - 1000 of them children and 500 of them elderly - were forced to flee their homes.

Harm to cultural and religious property included serious damage to Wat Keo Sikha Kiri Svara, which was the first object of the Thai attack on 4 February. Damage included destruction of statues of the Buddha and other religious objects. Even more criminal was the systematic shelling of the Temple of Preah Vihear, in clear violation of the 1954 Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property during Armed Conflict, to which both Thailand and Cambodia are signatories. The temple which received incoming artillery along its entire length, damaging all five gopuras or entrance pavillions. Many of the shells carried cluster munitions, meaning that the Temple itself and much of the surrounding area will now be contaminated with unexploded bomblets. To add insult to injury, Thai bullets even damaged the Convention's internationally recognised sign indicating that this is a site at risk and deserving special protection, and the flag of the Cambodian National Commission for UNESCO was shot through and felled from the flagpole alongside the Cambodian national flag and that of UNESCO.

There is no way in which either Wat Keo Sikha Kiri Svara or the Temple of Preah Vihear could be considered legitimate military targets. The Thai military's deliberate damage seems designed to deliver a threat: If we don't get our way, we can destroy the Temple. That is, the Thai Government threatens to destroy what is the cultural property of all humanity.

The deliberate damage to the Temple also explains the Thai Government's repeated insistence that no representative of UNESCO, including special envoy Koichiro Matsuura, should visit the Temple to assess the destruction.

The extensive use of cluster bombs in the Thai attacks has been documented by independent observers. While neither Thailand nor Cambodia have signed the Convention preventing such munitions, their use against non-military targets is clearly a violation of the laws of war. The large number of unexploded bomblets is of course especially dangerous to children, who do not understand their danger. A similar contempt for civilian welfare was evident in Thailand's use of shells containing a still unidentified toxic gas against peaceful villages.

Commentary by Press and Quick Reaction Unit
of the Office of the Council of Ministers.

AKP - The Agence Kampuchea Press


via CAAI

More Operating Licenses Granted to Operators of Securities Exchange in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, March 1, 2011 AKP – The Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia (SECC) has given operating licenses to many operators of securities exchange in Cambodia.

A licensing presentation ceremony was held at Phnom Penh Hotel on Feb. 28 under the presidency of Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Keat Chhon, Minister of Economy and Finance and SECC Chairman.

In the ceremony, SECC granted the accreditations to the operator of a securities market, operator of a cleaning and settlement facility, and the operator of a securities depository, and the accreditation of the cash settlement agents, securities registrars, securities transfer agents, paying agents, and professional accounting firms and independent auditors providing professional services in the securities sector.

Cambodia Securities Exchange’s licenses play a role as the operator of a securities market, the operator of market, the operator of a cleaning and settlement facility, and the operator of a securities depository, said the minister of economy and finance. –AKP

By THOU Peou

______

DPM Yim Chhay Ly Asks Japan to Further Help Clean Water Project in Northeastern Provinces

Phnom Penh, March 1, 2011 AKP – Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Yim Chhay Ly has asked Japan to further help clean water project in two northeastern provinces of Cambodia.

Access to clean water is one of the national development goals. The royal government has set 2025 for all the people to have access to clean water and sanitation, and the Japanese government through JICA has also approved around US$33 million for this project, he said last week in Memut district, Kampong Cham province, at the closing ceremony of Clean Water Supply Program-Phase III supported by Japan.

Clean water is very vital for our ethnic minority groups in Rattanakiri and Mondulkiri provinces, he said. –AKP

By KHAN Sophirom

______

Cambodia-U.S. Military Medical Teams Provide Medical Health Care to Cambodians

Phnom Penh, March 1, 2011 AKP – Cambodian and U.S. military medical teams have jointly provided free medical check-up and treatment to Cambodian people at Prey Nup district of Preah Sihanouk province.

Gen. Bird Song, medical doctor of U.S. marine said that the three-day humanitarian works would provide medical check-up and treatment up to some 3,000 people.

The joint voluntary mission focused on elderly people and children who had eye problems and other related diseases. –AKP

By CHEA Vannak

______

2,000 Cambodian Children To Receive Free Dental Treatment

Phnom Penh, March 1, 2011 AKP – Some 2,000 Cambodian children are expected to receive free dental care from Kids International Dental Services Organization.
The treatment will be conducted for two weeks in Phnom Penh capital city, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng and Kampong Cham provinces.

On Feb. 28, children at NGO Riverkids and Tuol Sangke Community of Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh were benefited from the free treatment.

According to Dr. Purobi Phillips, president of Kids International Dental Services, 28 dentists from the U.S., Japan, Holland and the UK have been joining the mission conducted in three countries including the Philippines, Guatemala and Cambodia. –AKP

By LIM Nary

______

UNESCO Special Envoy: The Delisting of Preah Vihear Temple Is Impossible

Phnom Penh, March 1, 2011 AKP — UNESCO Special Envoy Mr. Koichiro Matsuura said he told the Thai prime minister and foreign minister that the delisting of Preah Vihear Temple is impossible because the temple is of outstanding universal value, Ieng Sophal├Ęt, assistant to the Cambodian premier told reporters.

During a meeting here yesterday with Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura agreed with the premier’s request concerning the repair of the Khmer Temple of Preah Vihear, stressing that UNESCO’s experts will oversee, protect and safeguard this heritage, said the assistant.

For his part, Samdech Techo Hun Sen said the management of UNESCO World Heritage should not be abandoned because of the threat from Thailand.

He also hoped that UNESCO will send its experts to examine, assess and rehabilitate the temple listed as a World Heritage Site in July 2008.

The Cambodian prime minister further urged the special envoy to examine the source of Cambodia-Thailand dispute and tension whether it was due to the listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site or to Thailand’s aggression against Cambodia.

Following on the same day, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers H.E. Sok An.

The UNESCO special envoy underlined that the purpose of his visit to Thailand and Cambodia was to hear the reports from both sides and he had not expressed his position whether he is for or against any side. He added that his delegation would not visit the Temple of Preah Vihear, but a group of experts is planning to visit the temple after the arrival of observers from Indonesia for the Cambodia-Thailand ceasefire.

For his part, Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sok An presented Mr. Koichiro Matsuura about the serious damages of Preah Vihear Temple due to the recent war between Cambodia

______

COMMENTARY: Damage Caused by Thai Aggression

Phnom Penh, March 1, 2011 AKP – In just four days of aggression (4-7 February 2011), Thai military forces inflicted great damage to and around the Temple of Preah Vihear, and to areas of Cambodia up to 20 kilometres from the temple.
In the Thai attacks with both infantry and artillery, four Cambodian soldiers and one policeman were killed and 30 were wounded. The Thai shelling killed two civilians and wounded one.

The Thai artillery appeared to be deliberately targeting both civilian areas and Cambodian cultural and religious works.

As a result of the attacks, civilians were forced to flee from Svay Chrum, the Preah Vihear Eco-Village, Techo Bossabov Village and Sen Chhey Village. If the intention was to create large numbers of refugees who would complicate the Cambodian authorities’ response to the Thai attacks, that was the result. Some 10,000 Cambodian villagers — 1000 of them children and 500 of them elderly — were forced to flee their homes.

Harm to cultural and religious property included serious damage to Wat Keo Sikha Kiri Svara, which was the first object of the Thai attack on 4 February. Damage included destruction of statues of the Buddha and other religious objects. Even more criminal was the systematic shelling of the Temple of Preah Vihear, which received incoming artillery along its entire length, damaging all five gopuras. Many of the shells carried cluster munitions, meaning that the Temple itself and much of the surrounding area will now be contaminated with unexploded bomblets.

There is no way in which either Wat Keo Sikha Kiri Svara or the Temple of Preah Vihear could be considered legitimate military targets. The Thai military’s deliberate damage seems designed to deliver a threat: If we don’t get our way, we can destroy the Temple. That is, the Thai Government threatens to destroy what is the cultural property of all humanity.

The deliberate damage to the Temple also explains the Thai Government’s repeated insistence that no representative of UNESCO, including special envoy Koichiro Matsuura, should visit the Temple to assess the destruction.

The extensive use of cluster bombs in the Thai attacks has been documented by independent observers. While neither Thailand nor Cambodia have signed the Convention preventing such munitions, their use against non-military targets is clearly a violation of the laws of war. The large number of unexploded bomblets are of course especially dangerous to children, who do not understand their danger. A similar contempt for civilian welfare was evident in Thailand’s use of shells containing a still unidentified toxic gas against peaceful villages.

Commentary by
Press and Quick Reaction Unit
of the Office of the Council of Ministers

Police Blotter: 1 Mar 2011


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:01 Phak Seangly

Smoker sparks blast at petrol station
A 23-YEAR-OLD woman was burned in a petrol explosion in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district on Friday. Police said that the victim is the owner of the gas station and was filling up a customer’s car, when the owner lit a cigarette that caused the explosion. The driver of the car escaped before he could be identified. The gas station was badly damaged, and the victim was sent to hospital.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Snake smugglers snared but slither away
22 KILOGRAMS of wild snakes were confiscated by police in Battambang city on Friday. Police said the snakes were packaged in a box labelled “oranges” that was to be sent to Phnom Penh by bus. Yet when the bus driver was loading the box, he felt something moving inside and filed a complaint to the police. Police discovered the wild snakes and freed them into the jungle, but did not arrest the suspects.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Man killed in gruesome tour bus crash
A 31-YEAR-OLD man died in a traffic accident in Siem Reap on Friday after he was struck in the head by a tour bus while driving home on his motorbike. Witnesses caught the driver while he tried to escape. Police have impounded the vehicles and detained the driver to try to find a solution.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Drunk attempts rape of underage girl
A 28-YEAR-OLD man was arrested after he attempted to rape a 12-year-old girl in Banteay Meanchey’s Thmar Pouk district on Friday. Police said that the suspect is a friend of the victim’s brother, and the two went to drink together. The suspect asked to sleep at the home of the victim because he was afraid to face his mother while drunk. He then attempted to rape the victim but she shouted for help, and her brother delivered the suspect to police.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Body pulled out of Stung Treng pond
A FISHERMAN found a woman dead in a pond in Stung Treng city on Friday. Police concluded that no crime had taken place and that she died of drowning. Her brother said that she suffered from a mental illness and she frequently wandered out of their home, to the point where he often kept her confined in a room. She had been missing for two days when her body was discovered.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Drug addicts busted in Dangkor without drugs
POLICE in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district arrested two men suspected of drug distribution and drug using. Police did not manage to find any drugs, aside from paraphernalia and concluded the men were drug addicts. They have been detained for further questioning.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Road accidents kill 4 soldiers


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:03 Kim Yuthana and Thet Sambath

Four Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldiers were killed and 31 injured in two separate traffic accidents in Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear provinces on Sunday, according to provincial police and civil officials.

“Two soldiers died and 30 were injured in a traffic accident in [Oddar Meanchey],” Pich Sokhin, Oddar Meanchey governor, said yesterday, adding that two of the 30 were severely injured.

“They were on a truck coming back from getting aid from a government official, but their truck collapsed when the driver tried to turn away from another vehicle Sunday night,” Pich Sokin said.

“They were sent to Siem Reap province for treatment.”

Nhil Vuth, deputy police chief of Oddar Meanchey province, said yesterday that the truck lost control and drove off of a main road on Sunday night in Trapaing Prasat district.

On the same day another traffic accident occurred in Preah Vihear province.

Two RCAF soldiers were killed and another was critically injured on Sunday in Preah Vihear province’s Choam Ksan district.

Ban Yin, district police chief in Choam Ksan, said the soldiers were riding on a motorbike when they were struck by a truck carrying construction materials.

He identified the two dead soldiers as So Hoeun, 31, and Kim On, 20. The injured soldier was identified as Mean Meng, 24.

All three were from Brigade 7’s Battalion 372, said Ban Yin.

“The accident was caused by the truck because it was driving without its lights on,” he said yesterday.

“It is regrettable that our soldiers were killed and injured. It was an unintentional mistake, but we will do an investigation,” he said.

Srey Doek, commander of RCAF Military Division 3 forces stationed at the Cambodian-Thailand border, said yesterday that he had not received a report about the accidents and was busy with maintaining border security.

Khmer Krom group calls for probe


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:03 Vong Sokheng

A Khmer Krom association yesterday submitted a letter to the Ministry of Interior urging investigation of the killing of Sok Thoeun, believed to have been murdered in February 2007.

Sok Thoeun, 32, was found dead with his throat cut at the Tronom Jring temple in Kandal province following his participation in a protest at the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh.

Thach Sitha, president of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association, said yesterday that nine members of the group had signed the letter to seek justice for the deceased.

He said that several questions have yet to be answered in connection with the death of Sok Thoeun, adding that the body was cremated quickly by local authorities, and family members and fellow monks were denied permission to conduct a proper funeral.

“Four years after [his death], there is still no justice for the victim. Therefore, we would like to encourage the Ministry of Interior to conduct a thorough investigation,” Thack Sitha said.

Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said yesterday that he had not seen the group’s letter but that the ministry had never closed the investigation of the monk’s killing.

“The investigation … has remained ongoing, and we have never closed it before bringing justice to the victim,” he said. “I will send a letter again to the National Police and encourage them to investigate as soon as I receive the letter from the Khmer Krom group.”

Motorbike taxi driver charged with rape of widowed beggar


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:03 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A 35-year-old motorbike taxi driver was charged yesterday with the rape of a 39-year old female beggar in Banteay Meanchey’s Sisophon district, according to Deputy Provincial Police Chief Chan Kosal.

Yimros Dara Reatrey, 35, was arrested on Sunday after a complaint was filed with police by the victim, who was identified as a widowed beggar with two children living in Sisophon district’s Phum 4 village.

“This man was officially charged yesterday with rape of a female beggar in Banteay Meanchey province,” Chan Kosal said.

“He was arrested based on a complaint filed by the victim, who said that she was forcibly raped by the man on Saturday night while she was sitting alone at a pagoda.’

Chan Kosal added that according to the complaint, the victim was sitting under a Bodhi tree located inside Wat Sama Thiphal in Preah Ponlea commune, when the suspect drove by her on his motorbike and attacked her.

The suspect stopped his motorbike and used his hands to cover the woman’s mouth while he raped her under the tree, according to the complaint.

The victim said in her complaint that after the rape, the man gave her 10,000 riels (about US$2.50) before leaving the scene on his motorbike.

The woman then filed a complaint with Preah Ponlea commune police on Sunday, Chan Kosal said.

“He was arrested at his house in Phum 4 village after police had received the complaint,” Chan Kosal said.

“He is now being detained at the provincial prison in Banteay Meanchey awaiting trial.”

PCCS ordered back to work


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:02 Tep Nimol

The Arbitration Council issued a letter ordering a garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district to reinstate jobs to more than 1,000 garment workers on Friday, after the factory suspended its production in December last year.

The meeting was called in response to a December 11 complaint filed by worker representatives, who had become concerned that PCCS Garments Ltd might be closed down after orders began drying up, production at the factory became irregular and equipment was shipped out.

The letter stated that after two separate meetings at the Arbitration Council in January and February, they reached a conclusion that the company must provide employment for its workers within the next two months or provide ample wage compensations.

PCCS suspended its production in December of last year but did not close, which prompted more than 1,000 garment workers to demand the closure of the factory to get wage benefits expected to total more than US$1,000 per worker.

Worker representative Tep Somaly said yesterday the letter came too late for workers, most of whom had received meagre compensation from the factory, contrary to stipulations in the labour law.

Chhun Ny, a worker who stayed on at the factory, said yesterday nearly 60 workers refused the compensation package, which totalled between $300 and $700.

You Meng Try, the PCCS factory representative could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Moeun Tola, head of the labour programme at the Community Legal Education Centre, said yesterday that the order from the Arbitration Council is legal, but that the inspectors working for the Labour Ministry did not take proper measures to uncover the real reason the factory had stopped production.

River crash claims three lives


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:02 Sen David

Three family members died and one was injured during a boat crash on the Mekong River in Kandal province on Saturday night, according to Kim Vanna, Kien Svay district’s deputy police chief in charge of the penal bureau.

The deceased included a father, mother and their 4-year-old daughter.

The family’s 6-year-old son survived the crash.

“After two days, relatives began to wonder why the family was missing,” Kim Vanna said.

“A neighbour found the boy on the river bank on Monday and noticed many pieces of a wooden boat floating on the water.”

The boy told the police that another boat had crashed into his family’s boat while they were fishing, Kim Vanna said.

He added that police are searching for the second boat and its crew.

Three charged after raid on brothel


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:02 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Three people were charged with the illegal operation of a brothel in Phnom Penh yesterday, according to Ek Chheng Huot, deputy prosecutor of Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

Gove Vuoch Leang, 29, the guesthouse owner, and two accomplices were arrested on Saturday in Veal Vong commune, Prampi Makara district, along with 11 male sex workers.

“Gove Vuoch Leang was charged with the illegal operation of a business, by providing sexual services to gays and old women in Phnom Penh. The other two people were charged as accomplices,” he said, declining to identify the accomplices.

He added that all 11 sex workers were being sent for education at the youth rehabilitation centre in the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation in Phnom Penh.

Keo Thea, director of the municipal Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Office in the Ministry of Interior, said on Saturday police raided the guesthouse operating illegally as a brothel on Street 115 in Veal Vong commune.

“This is the first time we have found and cracked down on the illegal operation of sexual service providers for gays and old women in Phnom Penh. We are now working hard in researching and cracking down other illegal sexual service operations as well as anti-human trafficking activities,” he said yesterday.

Drug trafficking: Two held for carrying meth pills


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:02 Buth Reaksmey Kingkea

Drug trafficking

Two men were arrested yesterday on suspicion of drug trafficking activities in Stung Treng province, according to Major Duong Vichet, deputy chief of the Stung Treng military police. Duong Vichet said the men were apprehended yesterday in Thala Barivat district’s Sam Ang village in possession of more than 30,000 methamphetamine pills. “These two drug traffickers were arrested while they were driving a motorbike and carrying amphetamines from Preah Romkil commune on the Cambodian-Laos border to Thala Barivat district in Stung Treng province, Duong Vichet said. “They planned to carry these drugs from Stung Treng to sell them in Phnom Penh.” he said police also confiscated the suspects’ motorbike during the arrest. “[The suspects] are now being held in detention at the provincial police headquarters for further investigation,” he said, adding that they would be sent to provincial court to face charges today.

Forest land dispute clarified


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:02 May Titthara

Kampong Thom provincial authorities ruled yesterday that forest at the centre of a disputed between local residents and a private company was government land.

Last week about 400 villagers from Preah Vihear, Stung Treng and Kampong Thom provinces entered Prey Lang forest, one of Cambodia’s largest at about 200,000 hectares, and demanded that the CRCK Rubber Development Company stop clearing land they described as community land that they depended on for their livelihoods.

Kampong Thom deputy governor Uth Sam An said yesterday that the forest is not community-owned land, but belonged to a previous company that purchased a land concession, adding that villagers were confused about the borders of their community-protected land.

“Villagers spoke about the [community] land in Prey Lang forest, but they did not know where the location was,” he said.

He added that CRCK Rubber Development Company, which is Vietnamese-owned, had requested a 10,000 hectare land concession to develop rubber plantations in Kampong Thom’s Sandan district in May of last year, but received only 6,044 hectares after careful consideration by the government of the effects on the environment, economy and local population.

“If it was a community forest the government would not touch it whatsoever and would leave it for the community to protect,” Uth Sam An said yesterday, adding that villagers stopped protesting after authorities clarified the confusion around the land concession.

Nguon Nhel, first deputy president of the National Assembly, said that villagers had not complained to the National Assembly about the development of the disputed land at the time, so the Council of Ministers allowed the company to proceed.

“When I get complaints from the people, I always appoint officials to solve the problem and some people are pleased with the solution … but we must find an acceptable solution for them,” he said.

Vietnam in Kingdom tourism push


A man-made mountain at a resort managed by Dai Nam Resorts Area, in Binh Duong province, Vietnam. The company is looking to attract more Cambodian visitors to its attractions. A company official said 5 million people visited the site last year. Photo by: Soeun Say

via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:00 Soeun Say

VIETNAMESE tourism companies are linking up with Kingdom firms in order to attract Cambodian tourists to the country’s resorts and health care facilities, whilst boosting cross-border visitors.

During 2010, while the numbers of Vietnamese tourists arriving in Cambodia surged by 48 percent to 466,695 compared to 2009, some businesses within Vietnam also spotted an opportunity for growth by forging new alliances.

One such company was state-run Vietravel Co, valued at US$76 million last year, which now holds 49 percent in a joint venture called Indochina Heritage Travel (Cambodia) with Cambodian and Vietnamese partners.

While its capital investment in the new company has not been detailed, after opening two months ago it plans to lead 100,000 Vietnamese tourists to the Kingdom during 2011 and to promote cross-border tourism.

Nguyen Quoc Ky, general director of Vietravel Co, said: “I feel confident about tourism sector growth in Cambodia, that’s why I decided to put capital forward.”

While Tran Duc Hai, director of Indochina Heritage Travel (Cambodia), added: We try to promote tourism for both countries and will bring tourists to both sides.”

Monthly package tours are on the venture’s agenda, with trips tailored to the health tourism market also planned.

Cambodia’s Minister of Tourism, Thong Khon, acknowledged yesterday that Cambodian citizens visit Vietnam for health consultations and treatment and that at the moment “Vietnam is trying a lot to promote tourism in Cambodia”.

While the ministry did not have specific visitor data for Vietnam, he stated: “We have a strong relationship and cooperate together on tourism for both sides benefit.”

In Vietnam, health care providers are hoping to tap into a potential market of Cambodian nationals. Chief operation officer of Victoria Healthcare VietNam, Binh Pham Cobb, said that her private clinic in Ho Chi Minh City received 200 patients a day, some of whom came from Cambodia.

“We saw that Cambodian patients came to check their health a lot at the state hospital in Vietnam.”

Through cooperation with firms such as Indochina Heritage she hope to “get more and more Cambodian clients to come here”.

While 25-year-old Cambodian tourist, Sout Vanny, a visitor to Dam Sen theme park in Vietnam, said that while on holiday she had a health consultation as “services in Vietnam are cheaper that Cambodia and they also make me confident.”

But along with health care demand, vacationing tourists are also boosting trade for Vietnam’s holiday resorts according to businessmen.

Hoafng Van Ba, deputy general director of Saigontourist, the parent company of Dam Sen Resort in Ho Chi Minh City, said that 5 percent of visitors to his resort – which includes a theme park – were now Cambodian.

It has incorporated Cambodia into its future, as the company has plans to build a similar complex in the Kingdom with negotiations with its Cambodian partner underway.

Dai Nam Resorts Areas, the biggest resort in Vietnam which lies on 450 hectares of land in Binh Duong province, is also looking for Cambodian visitors. Tran Thanh Hai, director of its parent company Dai Nam Joint Stock Corp, said: “Last year, 5 million tourists came to our resort, most of them were local tourists. Now, we are promoting ourselves to neighbouring countries, especially Cambodia.”

According to the Ministry of Tourism, outbound Cambodian tourists increased by around 49 percent in 2010.

Tech links: Local IT firm signs deal with NEC


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:00 May Kunmakara

JAPANESE technology giant NEC has signed an agreement with Cambodia’s PTC Company to sell its products and platforms in the Kingdom.

Taing Vouch Lay, vice president of PTC, said during a signing ceremony in Phnom Penh on Friday that the agreement reflected the firm’s successful business operations, carried out for more than 14 years in Cambodia.

“PTC will bring more high-tech and modernised computers and IT solutions into the country,” she said.

“This is not only to serve our business but also to enhance development of ICT industry for the country.”

David Ooi, Regional Director of NEC Asia Pacific Pte, said that it viewed the company as a sector leader in Cambodia.

Deputy Secretary General of National Innovation and Development Authority Chun Vat, who witnessed the signing, added: “The presence of NEC in Cambodia is very good signal [of Japanese investment] in Cambodia.

“This is a starting point for improvement of the sector as private companies contribute to ICT development in the country.”

Taing Vouch Lay said that her company intends to expand its reach nationwide in the future.

Crown appoints new Cambodia manager


via CAAI

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 15:00 Ellie Dyer

CROWN Relocations has appointed Frank Kursteiner as its new country manager for Cambodia. According to a press release, Kursteiner has worked in the relocations business in Asia since 1998. In 2004, he joined Crown Beijing to develop the business in northern China, later moving to Kuala Lumpur to head the corporate services team. He is set to expand Crown’s relocations, records management and arts services in the Kingdom.

Police beat Boeung Kak protesters


Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Kong Chantha, 45, a community representative from the Boeung Kak lake area, is taken into custody yesterday after police broke up a protest outside City Hall. Kong Chantha, of Village 24 in Phnom Penh’s Srah Chak commune, was arrested along with two other Boeung Kak residents when about 200 protesters blocked Monivong Boulevard to call attention to evictions.

via CAAI

Monday, 28 February 2011 21:16 Khouth Sophakchakrya

A violent crackdown by the Daun Penh district police on a protest by about 200 people today in Phnom Penh concerning the controversial Boeung Kak lake development project led to the arrest of three activists, while 10 others suffered injuries from beatings.

The protesters descended upon Phnom Penh Municipal Hall to ask Governor Kep Chuktema to reconsider their alternative plan for the lake, which would set aside 15 hectares for families who would otherwise be displaced.

Kep Chuktema recently dismissed the proposal and did not show up to discuss the issue.

Ouch Leng, land programme officer for the rights group Adhoc, said no officials arrived to meet the protesters, who then attempted to block traffic along Monivong Boulevard in front of City Hall.

About 100 district police dispersed the villagers and arrested Suong Sakmai, 52, Ros Sreyneang, 45, and Ouch Phana, 42, following a 15-minute fight.

They were released from the Daun Penh district police station after signing contracts agreeing to stop causing public disorder.

“In the crackdown, many villagers were beaten and wounded with electric batons, and some were dragged to police cars and sent to Daun Penh district hall,” Ouch Leng said.

Tep Vanny, a 28-year-old from Village 22 near the lake, said several district police grabbed her by the hand and neck and dragged her to a police car.

“Those [district police] pressed my neck and hit me against the car like an animal,” Tep Vanny said.

She said she shook loose, however, with the help of other protesters.

Another lakeside resident, Kong Chantha, had been beaten unconscious, Tep Vanny said.

“Refusing to solve the problem and cracking down makes the villagers lose trust in the government more and more,” Ouch Leng said. “They also suspect that the present government is the company government, not the government that serves the citizens’ interests.”

Kim Heang, communications officer for the Housing Rights Task Force, said police briefly confiscated her camera, returning it only after deleting her photographs.

“We do not know how much those authorities know about the law, but their action for me is a violation of rights and law,” she said.

In January, city police temporarily confiscated the camera of Post photographer Sovan Philong during an eviction at Boeung Kak lake and deleted his photographs.

Sok Sambath, deputy governor of Daun Penh district, declined to comment at the scene.

Temple assessment call


via CAAI

Monday, 28 February 2011 21:12 Cheang Sokha

Prime Minister Hun Sen called for a team of experts to assess the damage sustained by Preah Vihear temple during fighting along the border last month in a meeting today with UNESCO special envoy Koichiro Matsuura.

The premier today met Matsuura, who is in town for a three-day visit to meet government officials and diplomats in the wake of fighting last month near Preah Vihear that left at least 10 people dead and displaced thousands of civilians.

He is set to depart today.

Speaking briefly to reporters following the meeting today, Matsuura said he had a “very lengthy but very good meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen”.

“We covered lots of things. UNESCO is a mediator, UNESCO does not take the side of any country,” he said. “UNESCO is neutral [and] objective.”

Eang Sophalleth, assistant to Hun Sen, said the prime minister had recommended that UNESCO send experts to assess the damage at the 11th century temple and to restore the site.

Matsuura “agreed” with Hun Sen’s recommendations, Eang Sophalleth said. UNESCO representatives could not be reached to corroborate this account.

Preah Vihear was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for Cambodia in 2008.

Matsuura travelled last week to Thailand, where he met officials including Thai premier Abhisit Vejjajiva to discuss the dispute.

Thai officials have implored UNESCO not to accept Cambodia’s management plan for Preah Vihear until the border conflict is resolved.

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said UNESCO would send a team of experts to the temple following the arrival of Indonesian observers who will be in place to monitor the situation at the border following an agreement reached between Thailand and Cambodia last week.

This team, Sok An said, would discover the harm inflicted on the temple and a nearby pagoda by Thai troops.

“It is a war crime or a crime against religion because they damaged the pagoda, and it is a crime against culture because they damaged the temple,” Sok An said.

Thai troops have denied targeting the temple and have accused Cambodian forces of using it as a base in violation of international obligations.

CMAC to look for cluster bombs


Photo by: Michael Hayes
Saem Ponnreay, CMAC Unit 3 director in Sa Em village in Preah Vihear province, displays the remains of a 155mm cluster bomb, which he claims was fired by the Thai military and landed in Svay Cherum village on February 6.

via CAAI

Monday, 28 February 2011 21:22 Vong Sokheng

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre is preparing to dispatch a team to search for cluster munitions allegedly used by Thai forces during military clashes along the border last month, CMAC director general Heng Ratana said today.

Thousands of families were displaced last month during clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops near Preah Vihear temple that left at least 10 people dead.

As these families return to their homes, Heng Ratana said they are still at grave risk of being injured by cluster munitions.

“We are very concerned about the upcoming rainy season,” Heng Ratana said.

“Villagers will need to go out and do farming, but now the area is full of cluster bombs.”

Thai officials have denied using cluster munitions in the fighting, alleging that Cambodian troops had in fact deployed the weapons.

Cambodian forces have rejected this claim.

Cluster bombs are designed to split open before impact to scatter multiple bomblets over a wide area.

Such bomblets often lie dormant for many years before exploding and maiming or killing the civilians who happen upon them.

Much of eastern Cambodia has been affected by the weapons as a result of American bombing in the 1970s.

Neither Cambodia nor Thailand are among the 51 countries to have ratified the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which seeks to outlaw the weapons, however.

Heng Ratana said today that two Cambodians had been killed and eight injured as a result of cluster bombs deployed near Preah Vihear.

Following the four days of clashes last month, CMAC announced that it had dispatched an “emergency response” team to the border area to instruct local residents on how to identify and avoid the weapons.

CMAC also plans to send weapons experts to the area to find and clear cluster munitions before they harm unsuspecting villagers, Heng Ratana said.

“We are waiting until the situation returns to normal and then we will deploy a large search team, because the cluster bombs may remain on the ground or in the forest,” he said.

Chum Puy, governor of Kulen district in Preah Vihear province, said posters had been put up throughout the border area to remind the 2,678 families displaced in the fighting about the dangers of cluster munitions as they return to their homes.

Huot Senheang, 22, of Kulen’s Thamacheat village, said residents understand the risks of cluster munitions but may find them difficult to avoid as they return to their daily lives.

“Villagers are afraid of cluster bombs, but they have no choice because they need to return home for farming,” he said.

Stock exchange licensed to operate


Photo by: Sovan Philong
Finance Minister Keat Chhon shakes hands with Hong Sok Hour, CEO of Cambodia Securities Exchange, today.

via CAAI

Monday, 28 February 2011 20:43 Chun Sophal

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia today certified the Cambodian Stock Exchange as a market operator while accrediting several companies for roles on bourse.

Cambodia Securities Exchange chief executive officer Hong Sok Hour said the licences were an indispensable element for the exchange, which is due to launch in July this year.

“We are optimistic about the opening of the securities market in Cambodia, but we are not sure whether it will be successful or not as we don’t have all the components in place yet,” he said.

Today the bourse was approved as a securities market operator, operator of a clearing and settlement facility and operator of a securities depository.

SECC Director General Ming Bankosal confirmed today it had certified the Cambodia Securities Exchange, meaning another hurdle has been cleared before its launch.

Meanwhile, firms received certificates at Phnom Penh Hotel to act as cash settlement agents, securities registrars, and accountants and auditor firms today.

Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon said the firms that were chosen for these roles would play important roles in allowing the exchange to operate.

He also called upon private firms to consider mobilising capital by listing securities on the exchange, and announced that companies that did so would receive benefits from the state.

“The government will encourage issuers of public securities with tax incentives,” he said at the conference today.

Keat Chhon is also chairman of the SECC.

Canadia Bank Vice President Dieter Billmeier said the bank had been approved to operate as a cash settlement agent, which meant it can handle clients’ cash settlement accounts and resolve cash transfers to buyers and sellers involved in stock transactions.

“We have already prepared ourselves technically and organisation-wise for the new business challenge … though our subsidiary Cana Securities,” he wrote today.

Acleda Bank and BIDC have also been approved for the role as cash settlement agents.

Three firms were accredited to act as securities registrars, transfer agents, and paying agents.

These firms are involved in areas such as paying dividends, and maintaining security owners’ books, according to an SECC prakas outlining the roles released last year.

A further three firms were approved as accounting firms, including global giants KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Last month, a representative of Telecom Cambodia, one of the three state-run firms set to float on the exchange said its shares may not become tradeable until year end.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JEREMY MULLINS