Thursday, 10 January 2008

Cambodia-based Acleda Bank assigned 'B+/B' CCR with stable outlook - S&P

January 10, 2008

BANGALORE, Jan. 10, 2008 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) -- Standard & Poor's (NYSE:MHP) Ratings Services said it assigned its 'B+/B' counterparty credit ratings (CCR) to Cambodia-based Acleda Bank PLC with a stable outlook, citing the bank's adequate balance sheet strength and satisfactory asset quality.

The agency also assigned its 'D' bank fundamental strength rating on the bank.

S&P said it believes that the bank's asset quality on a long-run steady state basis might be weaker than that indicated by the current very low reported NPA levels due to portfolio seasoning.

An upgrade will hinge upon its ability to maintain good asset quality upon stabilization of its loan portfolio and improvement in core profitability through greater income diversity and an upgrade in Cambodia's sovereign rating, the agency said.

S&P said, however, substantial asset quality slippage from rapid loans growth or major economic deterioration will pose downward pressure on the ratings.Copyright Thomson Financial News Limited 2007.

All rights reserved.The copying, republication or redistribution of Thomson Financial News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial News.

Sacravatoons: The verballize Dictators

Cortesy of Sacravatoons:

Sacravatoons: Xmer-Terrorist

Courtesy of Sacravatoons:

FBI Has Helped Police Understand Terrorism, Chief Says

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer Original report from Washington
09 January 2008

Listen Sok Khemara reports in Khmer

Since cooperation with a new FBI office began last year, Cambodian police have learned more about the strategies and tactics of terrorism, the chief of national police said in a recent interview.

Cambodian police have updated their expertise in the fight against terrorism, thanks to a series of meetings and exchanges of information with FBI agents, Gen. Hok Lundy said in a rare interview last week.

There remains no terrorist threat in Cambodia, he said.

"How those tactics and strategies of terrorists have so far developed is included in the meetings and exchange of information with the US FBI representatives in Cambodia, so that we can be updated on the development of the terrorists," he said.

The FBI opened a legislative attaché office in the US Embassy in March 2007, drawing criticism from human rights groups for its close work with Hok Lundy, who has denied accusations of involvement in drug or human trafficking.

FBI officials in Washington said cooperation with Hok Lundy was necessary to better work in the region, assessing terrorist threats and conducting other law enforcement.

"We think that there has been significant knowledge gained from the cooperation in order to strengthen the security of the country," Hok Lundy said.

2 Opposition Members Arrested in Sihanoukville

By Heng Reaksmey,
VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh
09 January 2008

Listen Heng Reaksmey reports in Khmer

Sihanoukville police arrested two members of the Sam Rainsy Party Wednesday, in what party officials called an act of political intimidation.

Chan Keng, 37, and Ngin Sat, 42, were arrested at their office, party members said, though they did not outline the charges against the men.

Human rights workers said the men were likely arrested for participation in several land disputes stemming from the ouster of 50 families from a Sihanoukville neighborhood in November.

Taiwan Request for Commercial Office Denied

By Chun Sakada,
VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh
09 January 2008

Cambodian authorities have denied a request from the Taiwanese Overseas Commercial Development Council to open an office in the country, officials said.

Cambodia does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state, but follows a “one-China” policy. China considers the island a renegade province.

“I completely turned the request down,” Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong said. “There can’t be any official representative or commercial or cultural mission or whatever from Taiwan. Cambodia permanently adheres to its one-China policy.”

Taiwan has no diplomatic representation in Cambodia, though many factories in the garment and textile sectors are Taiwanese owned.

The commercial office could have been used as an “unofficial embassy,” government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said. “It's better for these Taiwanese small business owners in Cambodia to establish their own association to coordinate their businesses.”

US Christian Group Plans Phnom Penh Hospital

By Mean Veasna,
VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh
09 January 2008

Listen Mean Veasna reports in Khmer

A Christian group from Colorado is hoping to build a large humanitarian hospital in a suburb of Phnom Penh, officials said Wednesday.

Under a plan that is now being studied for feasibility, Korean and American staff would run a hospital for the Christian Medical Ministry to Cambodia, also called Jeremiah’s Hope.

Chheum Uy Konnary, a representative of the organization, said it wanted to open the hospital in the Phnom Penh suburbs.

But Ouch Borith, secretary of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Wednesday the government was looking for suitable land further in the countryside.

"I will raise the request to the organization to find any location in the countryside, which is easier and more convenient for both the hospital staff and the poor,” Ouch Borith said.

Government delegation concludes Cambodia visit

Nhan Dan
January 9, 2008

The repatriation of fallen soldiers’ remains was in the spotlight during a freshly-concluded week long visit to Cambodia by a delegation of the Governmental Ad-Hoc Committee.
The delegation was led by its Deputy Permanent President Lieutenant General Bui Van Huan, who is also a member of the Party Central Committee and Deputy Director of the Vietnam People’s Army General Politics Department. He was accompanied by Bui Hong Linh, Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs and many other senior officials from ministries and army officers.

The Vietnamese guests had a working session with Cambodian counterparts led by Gen. Pol Saroun, Deputy Commander in Chief of the Cambodian Royal Army and President of the Cambodian Governmental Ad-Hoc Committee.

Their talks focused on progress made in locating and repatriating remains of Vietnamese volunteers who were killed in the Cambodian soil during the war time.

Under the spirit of a relevant agreement signed by the two Governments, the Cambodian side pledged to make greater efforts and give bigger support to speed up the work.

During their stay from January 2-8, the Vietnamese officials made field trips to Siem Reap, Prek Vihia and Kongpong Chhnang provinces, to inspect the excavations sites for this purpose. They also had working sessions with Cambodian provincial taskforces on this issue.

From 2002, close to 10,000 sets of remains of Vietnamese volunteers who sacrificed their lives in Cambodian battlefields have been repatriated home. (VNA)

Thursday morning Phnom Penh time

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 541

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #51, 9-15.1.2008 Government Rejects Attempt to Open Taiwanese Trade Representative Office in Cambodia, but Opposition Politicians Support the Attempt Samdech Chea Sim Calls for International Community to Provide More Funds to Khmer Rouge Tribunal Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Orders Engineering Unit and Bodyguards to Build Roof of [Sihanoukville’s] Market for the Vendors Which Was Destroyed by Fire. Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1540, 9.1.2008

Funcinpec Vows Not to [verbally] Attack Critics [those who leave Funcinpec and then criticize Funcinpec] [Prime Minister Hun Sen urges] International Finance Center in Phnom Penh Which Costs $1.1 Billion Should Be Built Soon [by the] South Korean construction company GF (phonetic - ?)]. Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #544, 9.1.2008

If There Was No 7 January 1979 [when Cambodia was liberated from the Khmer Rouge regime], There Would Also Be No Illegal Yuon [Vietnamese] Living All over Cambodia Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #88, 9.1.2008 Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls for Khmer Citizens to Vote for the Sam Rainsy Party in Order to Win Over Cambodian People’s Party [CPP] Parliamentarian Ky Lum Ang [from Battambang] and Parliamentarian Than Sina [from Kampot] Plan to Leave Funcinpec and Join Sam Rainsy Party. Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3359, 9.1.2008

Sam Rainsy Party Proposes that Citizens Should Have the Right to Elect Provincial and Town Governors That Many Illegal Yuon Immigrants Live in Cambodia These Days Is Achievement of CPP [mocking] Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4484, 9.1.2008 New ASEAN Secretary-General Expects to Have an ASEAN Human Rights Organization Swedish Assembly Delegates Come to Strengthen Relations with Cambodian Assembly Dey Krahom Community Area: Confrontation [between dwellers and 7NG Company] Results in a Truck Being Destroyed by Fire [by unknown persons – Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh]

Ancient water system could save Cambodia’s sinking Angkor

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Radio Australia has reported that a 1000-year-old water system could be the answer to preventing the nation’s Angkor temples from sinking.

Cambodia welcomed two million tourists last year and with figures expecting to reach three-million this year, authorities are growingly concerned with the area's underground water reservoir. Scientists also believe that if unregulated pumping of water from beneath the temples continue, the ancient ruins could be destroyed forever.

Cambodia's Minister for Commerce, Cham Prasidh said that by reviving the ancient water system, pressure from the temple’s underground water supply could be alleviated.

Banking industry country risk assessment on Cambodia assigned Group 10

The Asian Banker
January 10, 2008

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that Cambodia's banking industry has been categorized in Group 10 in its Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment (BICRA). This reflects the country's nascent stage of development with deficiencies in the structural, institutional, and legal frameworks, it said in a report titled "Banking Industry Risk Analysis: Cambodian Banks Poised For Growth, But Structural And Institutional Vulnerabilities Exist."

Other countries in Group 10 are Bolivia, Jamaica, Ukraine, and Venezuela. (For a list of Asian BICRAs see "Banking Industry Risk Analysis: Asian Banking Systems," published April 23, 2007. For an introduction to BICRAs see "Banking Industry Country Risk: These Are The Good Old Days," published June 6, 2006.)

Cambodia's economic prospects are good due to political stability and liberal economic and trade policies. As a result, banks in Cambodia are poised to benefit from strong growth opportunities as the economy gathers momentum. However, the Cambodian banking system is fragmented and lacks financial depth with poor access to credit. There are a wide variety of structural distortions that prevent the optimization of financial intermediation by banks in Cambodia. Key ones are inadequate legal framework for secured transactions, developing institutional framework, and information asymmetry arising from poor disclosure standards.

As Cambodia transitions to a market economy and credit growth picks up, its main challenge is to rectify these deficiencies. Cognizant of this, the country's central bank, National Bank of Cambodia, has taken steps to restore confidence and improve banking and business regulations articulated in the Financial Sector Development Blueprint. The recent entry of international players has also brought a much-needed infusion of best practices and expertise. All said, the reform process is in its early stages and proper execution is crucial.The BICRA reflects the strengths and weaknesses of a country's banking system relative to those in other countries. BICRAs classify countries into one of 10 groups ranging from the strongest banking system (Group 1) to the weakest (Group 10) from the perspective of country risk.

Standard & Poor's analyzes the credit standing of financial institutions in the context of broad economic, regulatory, legal, and competitive environments in which they operate. This sectoral analysis is integral to estimating the probability of a banking crisis, the potential severity of fallout in the event of a crisis, and the fundamental strength and creditworthiness of individual financial institutions.The report is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect, the real-time Web-based source for Standard & Poor's credit ratings, research, and risk analysis, at If you are not a RatingsDirect subscriber, you may purchase a copy of the report by calling (1) 212-438-9823 or sending an e-mail to Ratings information can also be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site at; under Credit Ratings in the left navigation bar, select Find a Rating, then Credit Ratings Search. Members of the media may request a copy of this report by contacting the media representative provided.Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker

Water program has global reach

Chapel Hill project trying to bring safe water to Cambodia

By Prashant Nair, Special to The Chapel Hill News

Editor's note: This is the first of two articles on the Carolina Global Water Partnership.
Ka Har, a mushroom grower from the Angkor Ban village in Cambodia, lives on the banks of one of the world's longest rivers, the Mekong river of Southeast Asia.

One of Har's biggest concerns was getting safe drinking water for his family. Harvesting rainwater and boiling water from the river kept Har and his family disease-free.

That was until June 2006, when Har, 55, heard a radio ad for a newly developed water filter and saw a demonstration in his village. Ever since he bought one for his home, he has stopped worrying.

Har is one of 11 million rural Cambodians whose lives may be changed by an initiative conceived several thousand miles away in Chapel Hill.

The Carolina Global Water Partnership is a collaborative project to prevent children in Southeast Asia from dying of water-borne diseases by bringing safe water to their homes. Diarrhea accounts for more than 80 percent of the deaths among Cambodian children under 5 years of age.

Mark Sobsey, an environmental scientist at the UNC School of Public Health, heads the project, which is trying to bring inexpensive, household water purifiers to rural Cambodia.

3 Americans, 1 Briton drive Trabant cars to raise money for charity work in Cambodia

John Lovejoy, a 26-year-old American who is the team leader of the Trabant Trek, talks to the press in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008. Lovejoy was among four young foreign travelers who arrived in Phnom Penh on a quest to raise money for street children in this impoverished Southeast Asian nation, after traveling through 21 countries by means of two unlikely vehicles, the much maligned Trabant cars produced by the former East Germany.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Anthony Perez of the U.S. pushes his Russian Trabant Trek before Daniel Murdoch of Britain can start their 1987 car in front of the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh January 9, 2008. The duo, along with John Drury and John Lovejoy of the U.S., end their road trip in Cambodia, after having started last July from Germany. They have since travelled across 21 countries within six months in a bid to raise $300,000 for Cambodian street children as well as to increase awareness for child poverty worldwide.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)
John Drury (L), John Lovejoy (2nd R) and Anthony Perez (R) of the U.S., as well as Daniel Murdoch of Britain pose on their Russian Trabant Treks in front of the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh January 9, 2008. The team ends its road trip in Cambodia, after having started last July from Germany. They have since travelled across 21 countries within six months in a bid to raise $300,000 for Cambodian street children as well as to increase awareness for child poverty worldwide.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Trabant cars produced by the former East Germany, drive past Cambodia's main capital of Phnom Penh, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008. Three Americans and a Briton, after traveling through 21 countries, have arrived in Cambodia by means of the two unlikely vehicles. Throughout their six-month journey, their cars broke down some 320 times. But despite the odds, they reached Cambodia in their quest to raise money for street children in this impoverished Southeast Asian nation.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - Three Americans and a Briton, after traveling through 21 countries, have arrived in Cambodia by means of two unlikely vehicles _ the much maligned Trabant cars produced by the former East Germany.

Throughout their six-month journey, their cars broke down some 320 times. But despite the odds, they reached Cambodia in their quest to raise money for street children in this impoverished Southeast Asian nation.The Trabant, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, is made mostly of plastic and has a top speed of 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour. Its considerable deficiencies have long been the butt of jokes.John Lovejoy, a 26-year-old American who is the team leader, said Wednesday that the journey has so far raised US$16,000 (¤10,880), still far short of the original target of US$300,000 (¤204,000).

He said the money will be given to Mith Samlanh and M'Lop Tapang, two non-governmental organizations working with street children in Cambodia.«We're passionate about this cause and knew we'd have to take an unusual spin on traditional fundraising tactics to really get the word out,» said Lovejoy, from Washington, D.C.The trip started out in Germany in July last year.

It initially included eight people from Europe and the United States, but four dropped out along the way due to problems with the vehicles.He said that on some days the cars had to be fixed up to 10 times.The group traveled the cities of Europe, the desert of Turkmenistan, the mountains of Tajikistan, the Kazakh steppe and Siberia during winter, said Dan Murdoch, a 25-year-old Briton from London.

Last month, his team made it across China, spent Christmas and New Year in Laos before arriving in Cambodia via Thailand on Monday, Murdoch said.«The last few weeks have been really challenging, the cars have been giving us a lot of grief,» he said.After traveling more than 26,000 kilometers (16,100 miles), the group left Phnom Penh Wednesday for Sihanoukville, Cambodia's coastal city, to continue their fundraising and enjoy the beach after the tough trip.

7NG Company and Phnom Penh Authorities Intent on Inciting Disorder in Cambodia's Capital

Published on January 9, 2008

Since the night of Saturday January 5, 7NG company workers and police have persistently attempted to place roadblocks on the two main public streets leading to Dey Krahorm village in Phnom Penh, repeatedly provoking confrontations with community residents which culminated on the night of January 7 with the burning of a truck used in one of the roadblocks. Residents claim that it was 7NG workers themselves who set the truck alight, in order to accuse the community of doing it.

Tensions have escalated since 7NG workers, protected by numerous police and military police, began blocking the two roads with empty gasoline drums at 3.30am on Saturday night. Residents, fearing that access in and out of their homes would be cut, reacted by pushing the drums to the side of the road and preventing the workers from filling them with water to weigh them down.

Police maintained a loose cordon of the area throughout the night and most of Sunday. About 9.30pm on Sunday night, 7NG workers again tried up to fill the drums with water.

A crowd of residents once more prevented this, and pushed the drums out of the way. Later that night, company workers re-positioned the drums, along with a parked truck, across the road to block access to Dey Krahorm from Sothearos Bvld.On Monday, company workers or police in civilian clothes who were manning the roadblocks prevented people from delivering supplies to Dey Krahorm market - an apparent attempt to cut off the livelihoods of many community residents who make an income selling goods at the market.