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  1. The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has detained a policeman from the Interior Ministry’s anti-economic crime department after he demanded monthly payments from companies. According to a press release from the ACU on Thursday, the man detained was Huy Hoeun, a deputy in the intellectual property section of the anti-economic crime department. He was arrested on Tuesday at a coffee shop allegedly in the process of committing crimes. The ACU added that Mr. Hoeun demanded companies, enterprises and some individuals in Phnom Penh in about 100 locations pay him monthly or annually from $5 to $1,000. The ACU said he had been demanding the money for 10 months since he was appointed to work in Phnom Penh. “This action came to the attention of the ACU, which investigated, researched and collected evidence,” said the statement, adding that the ACU arrested him at a coffee shop in the process of committing a crime. The ACU confirmed that Mr. Hoeun had been demanding money illegally from companies and added that his actions harmed the reputation of the national body. read more -- © Copyright Khmer Times 25/03
  2. Cristina Maza Almost one in every 100 children in Cambodia is living in a residential care institution, a number far higher than previous estimates, according to a new report in the British Medical Journal. Around 70 percent of the children in Cambodia’s orphanages are estimated to have at least one living parent, and the government has pledged to return 30 percent of orphanage residents back to their families by 2018. The new study – conducted by Cambodia’s National Institute of Statistics, together with researchers from Columbia University and the consulting firm Moulathan – aimed to produce more accurate data to help the government track its progress towards reaching the reintegration goal. But the researchers found that around 48,775 children live in residential care, a number far higher than the figure of 11,453 children the government previously presented. Of those children, more than half are between the ages of 13 and 17. read more -- © Copyright Phenom Pen Post /25/03
  3. I did a double take at the temple’s empty guestbook as it was handed to me from the small, wooden ticket booth. Nope, no visitors yesterday. And just two the day before that: one German, one Thai. What a difference a two-hour drive can make. I had spent the previous day at one of the world’s greatest tourist sites, the largest religious temple in the world, Angkor Wat. There, I’d had to use my guide’s local intel to get the best views before the crowds descended. And yet here we were on day two, just 160km up the road, with another temple all to ourselves. I had taken a detour to the 12th-century Banteay Chhmar, which was also built during the reign of the almighty Khmer king Jayavarman VII. It is believed to have been a tribute to the Buddhist ruler’s son, who died in battle, but historians can’t be sure. It remains one of the most mysterious of all the Angkorian temples. Tourism in Cambodia is focused on a few hotspots – those grand Angkor temples. When the country reopened its borders in the 1990s, after years of civil conflict, it welcomed just 100,000 visitors a year; by 2016, that figure had ballooned to five million, and it is forecast to rise again this year. Although barely 2,000 of those visit Banteay Chhmar, numbers were boosted slightly by the paving of the main road from Sisophon and Siem Reap in 2015. read more
  4. AN elderly woman was killed when a firecracker she was filling exploded yesterday afternoon in Kampong Chhnang province. The woman was a firecracker vendor and usually bought pre-assembled stock from Phnom Penh. She had recently decided to try packing her own firecrackers and was working at home in Rolear Paear commune when the explosion occurred. Commune police chief Thim Chom Reorn identified the victim as 67-year-old Ek Ny. “She had bought the powder and other ingredients from the market to package the firecrackers herself,” he said. “We think the spoon she was using with the powder might have been too hot and caused the explosion. Her body was thrown out of the house onto the road. read more -- © Copyright Khmer Times 24/03
  5. South Korea has given more than 200 military vehicles to Cambodia and nearly 200 more will arrive in July. The first batch were handed over yesterday at a ceremony at the Techo Hun Sen Military Technical Institute in Kampong Speu province. The trucks, light utility vehicles, excavators, bulldozers, buses, ambulances and cars were deployed in rows in the area where the ceremony took place. General Chao Phirun, the director-general of the Defense Ministry’s materiel and technical services department, said it was the third time Cambodia had received military aid from South Korea. He said the 222 vehicles included 208 vehicles of all kinds and 14 pieces of engineering machinery, along with spare parts. Gen. Phirun said military aid amounting to 145 vehicles, including two patrol boats and eight pieces of engineering machinery, would arrive from South Korea in July. read more -- © Copyright Khmer Times 24/03
  6. The Interior Ministry has notified the opposition CNRP that their extraordinary congress to elect a president and new vice-president was illegal, stoking fears the government will prevent the party from standing in June’s commune elections. The ministry also reiterated its demand that the CNRP change its controversial slogan for the upcoming election campaign, saying it contradicted the spirit of the 1993 constitution. A statement from the ministry on Wednesday, signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, was sent to the head of the CNRP’s executive committee and party spokesman Yim Sovann. It said the extraordinary congress to elect Kem Sokha as party president and Pol Ham, Mu Sochua and Eng Chhay Eang as vice-presidents was carried out contrary to article 47 of the party’s internal regulations. Article 47, the ministry said, required the CNRP to wait 18 months before electing a new president. Former party president Sam Rainsy resigned on February 11. However, the CNRP announced it had amended article 47 at its extraordinary congress on March 2, which allowed them to assign a new president within 30 days of Mr. Rainsy’s departure. read more -- © Copyright Khmer Times 24/03
  7. by Philip J. Cunningham Special To The Japan Times ITHACA, NEW YORK – It’s the height of hypocrisy, arrogance and amoral audacity for the United States to demand Cambodia — target of one of the most brutal bombing campaigns in world history — to pay back war debt accrued by the pro-U.S. puppet regime in pre-1975 Phnom Penh, but it is very much in keeping with the hypocritical, arrogant and audaciously amoral tone in Washington these days. The $500 million bill that Uncle Sam has come knocking for is not small change, but it is a pittance compared to the destruction the U.S. wreaked on Cambodia by incessant B-52 bombing during the Vietnam War that left hundreds of thousands left dead in its wake, including countless children. How does one even begin to recompense for a cratered land littered with lost lives? How does one account for the fact that U.S. President Richard Nixon, who ordered the invasion of Cambodia, and his right-hand man, National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, who was the architect of the bombing, never saw a day in jail? Guilty of war crimes, the dynamic duo were not only not prosecuted but continue to be lauded as great men of American politics. Is there no justice with a capital “J”? Does the law only apply to the weak, badgered and unconnected? Must the bookkeeper’s ledger trump decency and common sense? Cambodia is at peace now, a country that has come back to life from a chillingly real year zero, and the zombie years that followed. Its political system leaves much to be desired, in part because it still carries the scars of the intense cycles of violence set off by the indiscriminate U.S. bombing in the first place. read more
  8. Siv Meng When it comes to floating markets, the first image that comes to mind is of those in Thailand. Nevertheless, with a master plan in the last stages of completion, Cambodia will soon see the debut of a floating market invested by property investment firm Sky Land in cooperation with a specialised company from Thailand. Srey Chanthon, CEO of Sky Land, told Post Property yesterday the floating market was set to commence construction within two months. Occupying a total of about 20 hectares of land – inclusive of water from the Mekong river that runs through it – in Vihear Sour commune, the part of the floating market itself could very well cover 12 hectares of the entire land area, which includes the river water. The remaining area will be constructed such as to accommodate parking lots. read more -- © Copyright Phenom Pen Post 23/03
  9. -- © Copyright Reuters 23/03 By Prak Chan Thul | PHNOM PENH A Cambodian court on Thursday jailed a man for life for killing prominent government critic Kem Ley, in a murder case that raised suspicions of a political motive though the convicted killer testified that it was over a debt. Kem Ley, 46, was shot in Phnom Penh in broad daylight last year and his death drew tens of thousands of protesters onto the streets against a backdrop of growing political tension with veteran Prime Minister Hun Sen gearing up for elections. Chuop Somlap, 45, a former Khmer Rouge soldier and Buddhist monk whose name means "meet to kill", said during his trial that he had killed Kem Ley over a $3,000 debt, a statement disputed by the victim's family and human rights groups. "The accused did really kill Kem Ley," judge Leang Samnath said, delivering the verdict against Chuop Somlap, who is also known as Oeuth Ang. "The killing was premeditated and the accused carried a weapon without permission." Human rights groups and Kem Ley's supporters remain skeptical of the motive. The family said the activist did not owe any money. Kingsley Abbott, the senior international legal advisor at the International Commission of Jurists human rights group, called for the investigation to be reopened. "Until there is an independent, impartial and effective investigation to establish whether anyone else was involved in the killing, the victims of this terrible crime, including Kem Ley's wife and children, will be unable to obtain justice," said Abbott, who observed the trial. The investigation had not established whether Chuop Somlap had the means to lend the money to Kem Ley or to purchase a handgun, he said, adding that it had also not drawn on footage from all the CCTV cameras near the crime scene. Kem Ley founded an advocacy group called "Khmer for Khmer" and had been a frequent critic of Hun Sen, who opponents accuse of strong-arm tactics ahead of local elections this year and a general election next year. Chup Somlap said during his trial that he had met Kem Ley once, a year before the crime, through a friend in Thailand. The critic had promised him a job and a house worth $20,000 if he gave him $3,000. He said he had reacted out of anger when he got nothing in return for his money. (Editing by Matthew Tostevin & Simon Cameron-Moore) source
  10. Martin de Bourmont and Niem Chheng When Van Phearon, 32, was swept up on the afternoon of January 24 by a group of Daun Penh district police officers as part of a drug crackdown that began on the first of that month, he quickly discovered the price of freedom. Phearon says police initially asked him for $1,000, encouraging him to call family members or friends who could contribute money for his release. When he told them he had no one to call, the officers allegedly asked if he had any money himself. “If you can bring us the money before we get to the station, we will let you go,” Phearon says he was told. With little to offer them, he says, the police took his Nokia 1280 cell-phone, his wallet and the $7.50 tucked inside, but it wasn’t enough to secure his release. read more -- © Copyright Phenom Pen Post 23/03
  11. Sen David and Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon A wood-fired boiler exploded at a Chinese-owned garment factory that supplies Levi’s brand trousers, hurtling through the air and crashing into a group of workers, killing one and wounding seven others in the capital’s Sen Sok district just before noon yesterday. A Ministry of Labour statement said the explosion occurred at 11:40am, and that the body of the deceased – identified as Kor Samon, 48 – was being returned to her hometown in Svay Rieng province, with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to ensure compensation is paid. “They were almost done having lunch and were walking back to the building to continue working, but unluckily, the machine exploded and flew with hot shrapnel to where the workers have lunch,” said Kem Sokpet, a worker and representative for the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit. read more -- © Copyright Phenom Pen Post 23/03
  12. A wild elephant has died in Sihanouk province after getting electric shocks at a power grid tower. The adult male had been rubbing up against the tower in Kampong Seila district. The pylon then collapsed and the elephant trampled it, receiving a fatal shock. Kong Kim Sreng, a director of conservation at the Environment Ministry, said: “We regret to confirm the death of an elephant on Tuesday night. “A post mortem report showed the elephant was shocked twice. Once before the tower fell and again when it trampled the wires. “It had burn marks on its head and back legs.” He said the elephant came from a forest herd of up to six elephants that had come to rub their bodies against the high-voltage tower. The herd lives near the Stung Chral stream in Kirirom National Park. read more -- © Copyright Khmer Times 23/03
  13. Police are seeking the whereabouts of three foreigners, suspected to be Nigerian nationals, who are wanted on suspicion of stealing more than $30,000 from a jewelry vendor in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on Tuesday night. District penal police officer Kong Buntha said that on Tuesday at about 11:30pm, three Nigerian men parked a Toyota Camry in front of 35-year-old Meng Vanly’s villa in Teuk Thla commune while she and her family were away from home. “Two of the foreign suspects climbed the victim’s fence and proceeded to enter the house while another suspect was sitting inside the car to watch for police,” he told Khmer Times yesterday. “They destroyed the doors and windows and stole many valuables in the house before fleeing in the car at about midnight.” Mr. Buntha added that Ms. Vanly said the suspects stole money and jewelry worth more than $30,000. District police chief Colonel Mak Hong said police have yet to identify the suspects. read more -- © Copyright Khmer Times 23/03
  14. Cambodia’s improvements on human development are the biggest in the region, but standards of living still lag behind neighboring nations, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) figures have shown. The UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) in 2015, which was published yesterday, showed Cambodians’ health, education and standards of living made the highest increase rate in East Asia and the Pacific at a rate of 1.84 percent, outpacing the regional average of 1.35 percent. However, Cambodia’s 2015 HDI value of 0.563 was still below the average for East Asia and Pacific countries, which stood at 0.721. Cambodia ranked 143 out of 188 countries in its 2015 HDI rankings, putting it in the medium human development group. The group also includes Laos, which ranked 138, and Myanmar, which ranked 145. The HDI calculates citizens’ life expectancy, education and per capita income indicators. This is then used to rank a country into four tiers of human development. Higher scores indicate longer lifespans, improved education levels and a higher per capita GDP. “We celebrate the gains that the country has achieved, but we are looking ahead at strategic ways in addressing the remaining challenges that impede human development,” Nick Beresford, country director of UNDP in Cambodia, said in a statement. Cambodia’s improvement was also reflected in its Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) rankings, which declined compared with 2011. Its MPI decreased from 0.211 in 2011 to 0.150 in 2014, while “the headcount ratio of people in multi-dimensional poverty declined from 46.8 percent to 33.8 percent within the same period.” Life expectancy rates measured at birth also improved compared with 1995. “Cambodia’s life expectancy at birth increased by 15.2 years, mean years of schooling increased by 2.0 years, expected years of schooling increased by 4.2 years and its GNI [Gross National Income] per capita increased by about 277.9 percent,” the statement read. read more -- © Copyright Khmer Times 23/03
  15. BY Peter Amsel Cambodia’s newest casino is causing a political firestorm in neighboring Thailand, prompting the head of Thailand’s National Parks Department to intervene. Recently, Thai nationalist Veera Somkwamkid alerted his roughly 35k Facebook followers about a casino being built near a checkpoint on the Cambodia-Thailand border. Veera claimed the unnamed casino straddled Ta Phraya National Park in Thailand’s Buriram province, a protected area which features some ancient Khmer temple ruins. The Nation reported that Veera was arrested a week ago for violating the Computer Crime Act, an action that Veera blamed on an earlier post in which he alleged that former Thai politician Newin Chidchob, who remains influential in Buriram province, was involved in the casino’s development. Newin, who is chairman of the Buriram United Football Club, filed a complaint with the police following Veera’s original post, and Veera’s subsequent posts on the subject omitted Newin’s name, instead making veiled references to Cambodian political aides. read more