Sunday, 27 April 2008

ECCC : Hearinjg of Khieu Samphan

Cambodia accepts


China UnionPay Co said yesterday that UnionPay cards can be accepted in Cambodia, which became the 27th overseas market for the card.

The UnionPay card can be accepted by 500 merchants and 28 ATMs, accounting for half of merchants which accept bank cards and 40 percent of the country's total ATMs.

(Shanghai Daily)

Thai And Finnish Scientists Will Soon Begin Examine Cambodia's Tonle Sap Lake

ScandAsia.Finland News

Global warming and economic exploitation destabilise key lake's ecosystem. The Great Lake of Tonle Sap has always been Cambodia's spring of life. Abundant fish stock and seasonal flooding to fertilise rice fields have blessed the region long before the builders of Angkor Wat arrived 900 years ago.

But economic development policies are having the reverse effect. Locals are finding it more difficult to survive, a trend that may only worsen as climate change continues to take hold.

Tonle Sap is Southeast Asia's largest lake, and the source of protein-rich food for Cambodia's 14 million people. As such, the government has sought assistance to aggressively exploit its fisheries under the banner of poverty reduction. But Cambodian sociologist Mak Sithirith of the Fisheries Action Coalition Team said it is not the poor who are benefiting.

Under the scheme, the Cambodian government built infrastructure and introduced market economy to Tonle Sap communities. This has resulted in the end of interdependence between fishing and farming communities, Mak said. The traditional barter system between those growing rice and those catching fish disappeared after an industry of middlemen evolved to wander from village to village, exchanging rice and fish for cash.

"Neighbouring communities who used to rely on one another now compete for material consumption and accumulation obtained by cash and loans," Mak said.

The traditional small-scale fishermen are losing out entirely. The Cambodian government sold fishing concessions to large fishing businesses, banning villagers from the waters that ensured their livelihoods.

Scientists also suspect that changes of water flows caused by dam construction on the lower Mekong River and tributaries may affect the delicate relationship between the Mekong and Tonle Sap. During the rainy season, water flows from the Mekong to fill the lake, with the reverse occurring as the dry season settles in.

Climate change is adding a new level of anxiety. A coalition of Thai and Finnish scientists will soon begin a project to examine the potential climate-change impacts that those around Tonle Sap might experience in the next 50 years.

"Tonle Sap's topography makes the lake very sensitive to changes," Suppakorn Chinvanno of the Bangkok-based Southeast Asia Start Regional Centre said. "A water-level rise of just 0.3 metres can mean a kilometre more flooding on land because of the flat landscape."

This article is based in part on a presentation by Mak Sithirith at the third International Conference of the Asian Rural Sociology Association in Beijing.

Cambodia to hold first ever Khmer Chess tournament

PHNOM PENH, April 27 (Xinhua) -- The Olympic Committee of Cambodia (OCC) and the Cambodian Chess Association (CCA) will jointly hold the First Khmer Chess Tournament from May 3 to 4 in order to standardize and highlight the national game.

Cash prize for champion is 1,000 U.S. dollars, and those for the second place and the third 700 U.S. dollars and 500 U.S. dollars, said CCA chairman Ly Hout here on Sunday.

Other top 10 winners can respectively win 100 U.S. dollars as well as trophies, he added.

Participating teams can be established on provincial or municipal basis and each team should include no more than five members, two or three of them chess players, he said.

Meanwhile, he raised 10,000 U.S. dollars to mobilize all the Cambodians to find and submit historical relics that can tell the real origin of the centuries-old sport.

Khmer Chess is a popular game among the Cambodians, but there had been no national match for it the its rules not officially certified until OCC and CCA got them done recently, said Ly Hout.

With these actions, OCC and CCA want to preserve and develop the national gem and thus benefit the coming generation, he added.

Editor: An Lu

Kara Lightman '09: 'Peace scholar' aims to help women in Cambodia

Kara Lightman '09

Kara Lightman '09 with So Dany and Prom Savada of Harpswell Dormitory

Children of Tramung Chrum

Cambodian women are pictured in the Harpswell Dormitory.

The Chronicle
April 24, 2008: Volume 73, Number 4

Kara Lightman ’09 took her first trip to Cambodia in 2005 after graduating from high school. The Concord, Mass., native traveled there with her family, who had started a foundation to help the villagers of Tramung Chrum.

“The first time I went, I didn’t quite grasp it. Everything was so different and frightening,” Lightman said. “The second time, I had an overwhelming sense I needed to do something. The country has been so heavily destroyed. You walk down the street and see people whose faces have been burned off.”

This summer, Lightman, who was particularly taken by the plight of the women of Cambodia, will travel alone to the Southeast Asian village. Her mission: to help Cambodian girls escape lives of poverty, ignorance and domestic violence by introducing them to the importance of education.

Lightman’s efforts are being supported by the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Projects for Peace. She is one of 100 students from more than 85 American colleges and universities who will receive $10,000 to help promote world peace.

An interdepartmental major in Anthropology and Political Science, Lightman is the daughter of Jean, an artist, and Alan Lightman, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of the 1999 international bestseller, “Einstein’s Dreams.”

In 2006, Alan Lightman created the Harpswell Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO), after helping a friend build schools in Tramung Chum, about 50 miles from the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.

“We became very close with this village,” said Kara. “They have no plumbing, no running water, no electricity; they tell time by when the sun rises.”

Upon learning that many women can’t go to college because there is nowhere safe for them to live (men can stay in monasteries, but Buddhist rules bar women from taking shelter there), Alan Lightman raised money and bought land, and in 2006, Harpswell built the first women’s dormitory in Cambodia, in Phnom Penh. The more than 30 young women who live there also receive room and board and leadership training.

“I have been greatly inspired by this project, and now I want to do my own work to help the women of Cambodia,” Kara Lightman said.

She noted that thousands of women suffer from domestic violence and marital rape, and that by 13, many girls are often sent away to work in the rice fields or as prostitutes to support their families.

“I would like to encourage girls to stay in school and become educated, which will allow them to get reputable jobs and eventually give money back to their families and villages. I want to use education as a tool to given women a voice.”

One of the poorest countries in the world, Cambodia saw almost its entire educated class destroyed when the notoriously brutal government, the Khmer Rouge, took power in the 1970s.

Lightman will spend about six weeks traveling around the country with three women from the Harpswell dormitory who will share their struggles and their stories. Ultimately, she wants her efforts to embody what is inscribed in both Khmer and English on the brass plaque in the Harpswell dormitory: “Our mission is to empower a new generation of Cambodian women.”

Lightman will leave for Cambodia in July. After spending her fall term in Fiji, she will return to campus with a photojournalistic account of her work in Cambodia.

“I’ve been there four times, and I have far more cultural shock now coming back to the States than I do when I go there,” she said. “It’s hard to go and not do anything. The people are so generous, and the thing that is so amazing is that even though they have so little, they have hope.”

At Union, Lightman is a member of Sigma Delta Tau, the Young Democrats Club and the Model UN Club. She credits her Political Science advisor, Darius Watson, and the Anthropology Department for sparking her passion to study other cultures.

Lightman is the second Union student to be named a “peace scholar.” Last year, when the awards were created, Karyn Amira ’08 received funding for her efforts to curb landmines in Cambodia.

For more information about 100 Projects for Peace, visit

Cambodia's poor are hard hit by cutbacks in relief agency food aid

Business Report & Independent Online
April 27, 2008

Pin Oudam (13) gets a free breakfast of rice, fish and yellow split peas every morning at his school in Kampong Speu, Cambodia's poorest province. Next week he won't.

The World Food Programme (WFP) cut off rice deliveries to 1 344 Cambodian schools last month after prices doubled and suppliers defaulted on contracts. Schools will run out of food by Thursday, depriving about 450 000 children of meals, the WFP estimates.

"Over time, this will result in higher malnutrition rates and lessen the physical and mental development of these children at a critical period in their lives," says Paul Risley, a Bangkok-based spokesperson for the UN agency.

Record rice prices are forcing some relief agencies to cut rations. The WFP, which helped feed 960 000 people in Cambodia in January, is limiting aid to the neediest people in the country, including tuberculosis and Aids patients, pregnant women and babies. This week, the agency said its representatives in 78 other countries were facing similar choices.

That may leave Pim with an empty stomach. His grandmother, Nov Yim, estimates she will need 180kg of rice to feed a family of nine until the next harvest begins in September. A 50kg bag costs about 150 000 riel (about R290) and may rise further, she says.

"At those prices, I can only afford half of what I will need," says Yim. "Without the extra rice, my children and grandchildren will go hungry.

"The WFP had to end the Cambodian school programme because suppliers did not honour contracts to deliver 4 000 tons of rice at $390 (R2 965) to $450 a ton, says Thomas Keusters, the agency's representative in Cambodia.

Other local dealers quoted prices of $620 a ton that were out of the agency's reach, he says. A year ago, the WFP paid about $260.

The programme aims to keep children in primary school and prevent them being dragged into the workforce or prostitution.

About 69 percent of the children in Kampong Speu province, 50km west of Phnom Penh, leave school before completing the sixth grade.

Te Huoy does not want that to happen to the two grandchildren, ages four and 14, she is raising in a Phnom Penh slum.

Huoy earns 3 000 to 5 000 riel a day selling empty beer cans and other refuse from the streets of the capital and says it is barely enough to pay for rice, fish and sausages. She spends three-quarters of her income on food, up from half six months ago.

"I'm already old and will die soon," says Huoy, who never received an education. "My hope is that my grandchildren can continue to go to school."

The WFP originally budgeted $3.4 billion to feed 73 million people worldwide this year.

Last month, it appealed for an additional $500 million to cover higher food costs. That shortfall was revised to $756 million this week.

In Sri Lanka, two of the Rome-based aid agency's suppliers defaulted on contracts in the past two weeks, Risley says.

In East Timor, where the government supplies rice to the WFP, authorities have not been able to purchase the cereal from Vietnam because of a ban on exports from that country.

Other relief agencies are also feeling the pinch.

Net food aid flows have been declining for more than a decade, and subprime mortgage losses that led to 1.5 million home foreclosures in the US last year may reduce cash donations, says Chris Conrad, a director of World Vision International's food programming group in Johannesburg.

Global food aid deliveries dropped to 6.7 million tons in 2006 from a high of 17 million tons in 1993, according to a 2007 report from the WFP.

"The pie is getting smaller," Conrad says. "For years, everybody was saying the US or other developed economies could feed the world. I don't think they can any more."

Massive Monkees B-Boy Heading To Cambodia

April 26, 2008

It's an absolutely gorgeous day outside, and Seattlest put in some good hours at the park. The sunshine has coaxed our shriveled, hardened, wintry walnut of a soul to begin expanding and warming up in preparation for bona fide Springtime. So forgive us if we're a little over-emotional when it comes to directing your attention to a story in this morning's Seattle P-I about a Massive Monkees crew member named Phanna Nam (Peanut, to friends and fans) who is moving to Cambodia to teach kids break-dancing.

Says Peanut:

"I always had this calling, this sense of destiny to go back to Cambodia. My mom thinks I'm crazy and my dad just tells me to stay safe. But I'm tired of the American dream. It's a fantasy. I feel more real living in the 'hood," said Nam, who's going to Alaska this summer to make money fishing, then making the big move abroad.

"I don't know how to do anything else but break dance. If I'm gonna shed tears, blood and sweat, it might as well be for Cambodia. I can't change Cambodia, but these kids can. ...Through dancing, these kids are going to be inspired to do more."

We often feel powerless in the face of imminent environmental disaster, famine, war, and devastating poverty in the world. What can we possibly do to effect change when it seems like we're at the whim of forces far beyond our control? This story is a reminder that all is not lost, that redemption is possible, and that we do still have choices about how we respond to the grim realities that face us both personally and as global citizens.

And when everything else seems hopelessly desperate? It's time to dance. That is a springtime message worth shouting from the rooftops.

There's a benefit tonight for Peanut and company at the Greenwood Collective, if you're interested.

Tiny Toones B-Boy Benefit for Cambodia // Greenwood Collective // 6pm // $5 donation
B-Boy getting his dance on at the Baltic Room by Life As Art. Thanks!

Cambodia's paradise beach ( Sihanouk Ville Beach )

The Tourism Development in Sihanouk Ville

As Sihanouk Ville takes off as a tourism hub, Cambodia tourism authority and developers say that preserving the natural harmony and health of its beaches and coastline is the a priority. Officials in Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism have echoed concern about pollution as tourism grows in Sihanouk Ville, and say they are trying to take more thoughtful approach to development.

With funding from Asia Development Bank (ADB) the government has advised a wastewater treatment project that will be implemented in coastal area currently under development to make sure water does not become polluted and that waste form development project does not reach the sea. 'We have to develop these beaches with proper environmental protection,' says Dr Thong Khon, Secretary of State of Tourism Ministry. The ADB funding will also go toward training lifeguard and building Watchtowers along popular beaches. Prime Minister Hun Sen himself lunched the project in Sihanouk Ville, on 2 August.

Development plans for the region go well beyond the beach. To make Sihanouk Ville a more attractive destination for tourist the government is working for revamp Sihanouk Ville Kang Keng Airport so tourist can travel a circuit between Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanouk Ville. The Air port would also make a transit to the airport in Rattanakiri Province, in Cambodia north's east.

According to the Cambodia Travel Agent Association, cruise to Sihanouk Ville are already popular, and carrying passenger from China, Europe and the United States dock at Sihanouk Ville's port at least one each week. Tourism officials are also optimistic that a recent agreement reach by ASEAN to exempt member countries from paying visa fees when visiting other member countries will increase regional visitor traffic.

Kun Kam Eng, a father of two, spent a recent weekend with his family on Ochheuteal Beach ( ..). 'We are rich in having so many beautiful places to visit,' a 45 old was please to report as he looked out to the water. 'I love the beaches in Sihanouk Ville, so I hope they always stay clean and fresh. Our Seawater is so clean, the sand is very white and the view of the sea is totally paradise.

Sihanouk Ville Governor Say Hak is optismistic that Sihanouk Ville develop will help improve people lifestyles of people living in Sihanouk Ville municipality. As a part of this effort Prime Minister Hun Sen has strongly encourage people to engage in 'home stay' business, renting local home to tourists. With the huge influx of visitors during national holidays, the home stay policy could help put money directly into villagers' pockets.

Sihanouk Ville is not only the paradise on Cambodia coast. Many islands have yet to see development for tourism and the beach in and around Kompot ( and Kep are idyllic. Several hotels Mangers in Sihanouk Ville say their businesses base on the beaches and as long as beaches remain the main attraction for domestic and foreign tourists, the hospitality industry will continue to grow.

(Cambodia, Official Magazine of Ministry of Tourism)Prepared by : Samnang

Rove and Tasma, the orphan cubs
Matthew Benns
April 27, 2008

TV COMEDIAN Rove McManus and partner Tasma Walton have had two tiny orphan bear cubs named after them in a Cambodian sanctuary.

The TV host, who has been named as a contender to take Conan O'Brien's Late Night chair in the US, visited the Free The Bears Fund Inc sanctuary as a part of a recent wildlife tour.

"Being able to see the amazing work that Free The Bears does in Cambodia first-hand personalised the issue of wildlife trade for me," he said yesterday.

"The people at Free The Bears are passionate and personal advocates for these amazing animals. They need and deserve our support."

The Asiatic black bear cubs were confiscated from a wildlife trader and taken in by the Australian-funded sanctuary. The bears were saved from a trade that cuts off their paws for use in soup.

McManus and Walton visited the Cambodian sanctuary during a tour to prepare for his role as an ambassador for Fauna and Flora International.

Source: The Sun-Herald

A Growing Seedling of Religion

Cambodia News
by seiha

Six o’clock in the morning, National Road number 5. Rush hour in Chrang Cham Ress district. A motor-tricycle slows down to pick up commuters. Students crowd on the back. Their destination is Eas Ya Oak Tin School, a language-training and cultural center of the Cambodian Cham. Eas Ya Oak Tin means: seedling of religion.

Every day except Fridays and Sundays, 400 students arrive at the old buildings behind the mosque on National Road 5, about ten kilometers north of Phnom Penh. “The school was established in 1998 by the Cham of the region. Today it is one of the oldest Muslim schools in Cambodia,” says the director Mr. HarChei Zakariya Asmat. “The original idea was to keep up the Cham traditions and language.”

Fifteen years ago, there were no Cham schools in the country. Those Cham who wanted to learn their language and study religion, had to go the mosque. Now, Cham schools up to high school level are found everywhere. Students learn the Arabic language and gain an introduction to the Koran - like how to salute Allah, the Muslim God, which they do five times a day during prayers. However, Cham students also have to attend public school.

“I will not drop out of the Cham school,” says fourth grader Mous Slimin. “My teacher told me that only the Koran can give me happiness after I die.” That’s why he squeezes into the motor-tricycle twice every day first to go to the public and later to the Cham school. “It makes me tired”, says Slimin. He fears that one day he will drop out of the state school and run a business like his brother.

Mar Koctry, an 18 year old student, has chosen another direction. “I want to be a religious teacher because I am afraid that the next generation will ignore the Islamic religion and it will disappear in Cambodia.” Koctry studies at the Muslim secondary school An Ni’mah, also on road number 5. Next year he will have finished the second level of Cham studies. “After that, students are able to teach religion, but they can also find work in Islamic countries,” says religious teacher Seat Fin. This might be an option for Koctry.

The educational system of the Islamic schools which operate free of charge - is divided into three levels. If students pass the first level after five years, they can be selected into the second level, which takes another four years. Almost 70 percent of the students who start will make it into the second level.

In second and third level, students have to study hard: The Koran, which includes Allah’s teachings; Hindis, which is the word of Muhammad; Tarhit or Archida knowledge on Muslim belief; Vichock, the practice and Cham children go to two schools in one day to the public and to the Islamic school.

Ahab, the morality of Islamic people along with See Ross, the history of Muhammad, subjects which most ethnic Khmer have never heard of “All nationalities can study here, this school is not only for Cham”, says the religious president. He claims that many ethnic Cham do not even believe in Islamic religion. “Here, no one is forced to study the Koran and to believe.”

Cham Schools in Cambodia

An Ni’mah School and the Highest Council For Islamic Religious Affairs in Cambodia, responsible for Cham-Khmer students, say that in the year 2006, 2,700 students in the country went to a second level Cham school. In 2002, theywere only 150 officially registered Cham students.

Today, around 500 Cham schools exist in Cambodia, 440 villages are registered in which Cham residents hold a strong majority. According to official regulations, each village should have a Cham school. If more than 100 Cham families live there, it should be more than two schools.

The Author: Chey Sambath.

More Than US$100,000 Wasted on ECCC Monitoring

Posted on 26 April 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 557

“On the morning of 25 April 2008, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [ECCC] held a conference to release the result of the special monitoring over an accusation of corruption in the tribunal of the former Khmer Rouge leaders; it is asserted that there is no fault as had been raised in the accusation.

“The United Nations Development Program [UNDP] Country Director for Cambodia Mr. Jo Scheuer, who participated in the press conference this morning, said that about a year ago, because of different irregularities and accusations, the UNDP pushed for an internal audit of the process of staff recruitments for the tribunal of former Khmer Rouge leaders, to respond to points which were considered to be weaknesses in the management of human resources.

“He continued that all weak points were reviewed, in the reports and in the ongoing audits in the ECCC, and some recommendations continued to be raised to be solved. While the audit was continuing, the ECCC had already begun different measures of improvements, such as creating a staff work books and a code of ethics.

“The UNDP Country Director said that in late February 2008, the UNDP hired an independent monitoring team to monitor the management of human resources. This renewed monitoring aimed to assess the management of human resources so far. Among the monitors, two were management experts from India, another team member is Khmer, an expert on human resources. The monitoring took four weeks to be finished.

“The director of the Office of Administration of the ECCC, Mr. Sean Visoth, told reporters that this special monitoring was initiated by the Project Council, and it was implemented since late February 2008 by an independent expert team from the Deloitte company in India. This renewed monitoring aimed mainly to finish the reports of the previous audits of the ECCC.

“Mr. Sean Visoth went on to say that the monitoring is to show clearly whether there is transparency and accountability in the management of human resources, and in the implementation of human resources policies in the ECCC, and whether these are in line with international standards, and whether or not the responses satisfy what was raised by the Project Council. The director of the Office of Administration of the ECCC said that although not everything can be done perfectly, it had been possible to achieve what had been intended. Mr. Sean Visoth claimed that more than US$100,000 was spent on the monitoring team.

“The European Community Charge d’Affaires in Cambodia, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno, said that the community has strongly vowed to fight different the culture of impunity and crimes. The ECCC work in the last two years was processed under the strict monitoring of the donor community.
However, what regrettable is the management of human resources in the ECCC. At the same time, the European Community also called for the monitoring on the accusation in order to use the finance correctly. The European Community is also satisfied with the most positive reports by the monitoring team. Nonetheless, the European Community asked for further efforts to promote the management of human resources. Meanwhile, the European Community declared to support the ECCC with both policy and finance.

“According to the monitoring reports, after the evaluation at place within two weeks at the ECCC, the Project Council is pleased to announce that no essentially weak points were found, and the implementation of human resources at this stage meets acceptable standards.

“Although the monitoring did not shows any irregularity, the tribunal still has a problem – funding; on that morning, the ECCC and the European Community did not show to have any extra funds.”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1625, 26.4.2008

Who’s your Zimbodian?

The Times
Apr 26, 2008

It’s a shame that the entire South African media seems to think that the challenge for Zimbabwe is how to remove Robert Mugabe and replace him with Morgan Tsvangirai.

While Bob is portrayed as a villain, no attempt is made to assess whether Tsvangirai is “fit to govern”. What happened to fair reporting?

And is it out of disrespect or xenophobia that Hogarth calls us Zimbodians? And who’s the Zimbodian? Is it the black Zimbabwean? Let me guess: Zimbabwe plus Cambodia equals Zimbodia.

It’s enough that we have to put up with violent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, but a slur in a respectable paper like the Sunday Times is disgusting, to say the least.

Fire of Cambodia-registered cargo vessel in south China river put out

GUANGZHOU, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese maritime vessels put out a fire of a Cambodia-registered cargo ship anchoring at the Pearl River mouth in south China.

The Guangzhou Maritime Bureau received a report at 11:08 a.m. Saturday that a fire broke out on a Cambodia-registered cargo ship when workers were doing repair work in its dining hall. The vessel had 15 crew and 37 repair workers aboard.

After contacting the crew, the vessels dispatched by the bureau helped transfer 13 crew and 37 workers to nearby anchored ships. The captain and another crew member stayed on the vessel to report fire situation.

The fire was put out at 1:45 p.m. by several vessels of the bureau.

No casualties were reported. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Editor: Yan Liang

Cambodia : Thai ex-convict defends WBC women's light flyweight title

Convicted Thai drug dealer Samson Sor Siriporn is declared the winner during the WBC light flyweight title fight against Kayoko Ebata from Japan in Phnom Penh April 26, 2008. Siriporn walked out of prison three years early for winning the WBC light-flyweight title earlier this year. Siriporn retained her World Boxing Council by winning against the Japanese challenger in 10 rounds.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Convicted Thai drug dealer Samson Sor Siriporn (L) is declared the winner during the WBC light flyweight title fight against Kayoko Ebata from Japan in Phnom Penh April 26, 2008. Siriporn walked out of prison three years early for winning the WBC light-flyweight title earlier this year. Siriporn retained her World Boxing Council by winning against the Japanese challenger in 10 rounds.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Siriporn Thaweesuk, right, of Thailand, beats onto the head of Kayoko Ebata, left, of Japan, during their WBC light flyweight title match in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Saturday, April 26, 2008. Thailand's Siriporn Thaweesuk, former female drug dealer from Thailand retained her World Boxing Council crown Saturday in a 10-round bout against the Japanese challenger. In a 2-1 decision, Thailand's Siriporn Thaweesuk beated Ebata in the third defense of her light-flyweight belt, which she won while serving a prison term for selling amphetamines.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Siriporn Thaweesuk, left, from Thailand, beats onto the face of Kayoko Ebata, right, from Japan, during a WBC light flyweight title in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Saturday, April 26, 2008. Siriporn Thaweesuk, the former female drug dealer from Thailand retained her World Boxing Council crown Saturday in a 10-round bout against the Japanese challenger. In a 2-1 decision, Thailand's Siriporn Thaweesuk bested Ebata in the third defense of her light-flyweight belt, which she won while serving a prison term for selling amphetamines.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Convicted Thai drug dealer Samson Sor Siriporn (L) punches Kayoko Ebata from Japan during their WBC light flyweight title fight in Phnom Penh April 26, 2008. Siriporn walked out of prison three years early for winning the WBC light-flyweight title earlier this year. Siriporn retained her World Boxing Council by winning against the Japanese challenger in 10 rounds.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Convicted Thai drug dealer Samson Sor Siriporn (L) punches Kayoko Ebata from Japan during their WBC light flyweight title fight in Phnom Penh April 26, 2008. Siriporn walked out of prison three years early for winning the WBC light-flyweight title earlier this year. Siriporn retained her World Boxing Council by winning against the Japanese challenger in 10 rounds.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Convicted Thai drug dealer Samson Sor Siriporn (R) punches Kayoko Ebata from Japan during their WBC light flyweight title fight in Phnom Penh April 26, 2008. Siriporn walked out of prison three years early for winning the WBC light-flyweight title earlier this year. Siriporn retained her World Boxing Council by winning against the Japanese challenger in 10 rounds.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Convicted Thai drug dealer Samson Sor Siriporn (R) fights with Kayoko Ebata from Japan during their WBC light flyweight title fight in Phnom Penh April 26, 2008. Siriporn walked out of prison three years early for winning the WBC light-flyweight title earlier this year. Siriporn retained her World Boxing Council by winning against the Japanese challenger in 10 rounds.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

The Associated Press
Published: April 26, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Thailand's Siriporn Thaweesuk, who won her WBC light flyweight title in prison while serving time for drug offenses, made her third successful defense by beating Japan's Kayoko Ebata on Saturday.

On the day of her 25th birthday, Siriporn won by split decision in the 10-round bout on neutral ground in Cambodia. Two judges gave her the decision and another scored it a tie.

In an evenly contested bout, Ebata fought through swelling around both eyes from early in the fight, with both boxers noticeably fatigued in the later rounds fought in the tropical heat.

Siriporn, also known as Samson Sor, first took the vacant WBC light flyweight title when she outpointed Japan's Ayaka Miyano in a bout at Klong Prem Prison in April last year. She was serving a sentence for selling amphetamines.

She received a pardon after winning the title and was freed from the women's prison in Pathum Thani province, 32 kilometers (20 miles) north of Bangkok, three years before the end of her 10-year sentence.

Saturday's bout was the third time Siriporn had defended her title with decisions over Japanese opponents, having oupointed Anri Nakagawa in August and Momo Koseki in November last year.

Last month she signed a contract selling rights to her story to an independent producer from Los Angeles, who said he would turn her story into a movie.

Siriporn grew up in a poor family in Bangkok, where her family made a living by selling clothes on the roadside.

Sacravatoons : " The terrorist of Cambodia "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Red number is not a cause of death

Picture from Koh Santepheap Newspaper
April 26 2008

Phnom Penh - Cambodian officials have moved to quell growing hysteria sparked by a rumour that a ghostly red number was appearing on mobile phones and killing people, local media and police said Saturday.

Officials have urged calm in the mobile-phone-crazy country, where rumours spread nationally like wildfire thanks to cheap calls and text messages, and have denied any red number exists.

Posts and Telecommunications Minister So Khun said the rumour was probably due to growing tension prior to scheduled national elections in July, the English-language Cambodia Daily reported.

"Anyone can make this up. In a moment we will hear that fish will grow legs and run away," the paper quoted the minister as saying.

Rumours such as this are not new to Cambodia, where people are deeply superstitious and believe in sorcerers and spirits but have nevertheless embraced texting technology as a national passion.

At the height of the SARS outbreak in 2003, a story circulated that people who did not eat a sugar palm dessert before midnight would die, sparking nationwide mass panic-buying of palm sugar that resulted in several market stalls being damaged.

In January of the same year, a false rumour that a Thai soap actress had claimed the national icon, Angkor Wat temple, was Thai led to an angry mob torching the Thai embassy and businesses.

Police warned Saturday that if the culprit for this latest text- message-fuelled scare was found they would be prosecuted, but admitted Chinese whisper investigations of this nature were virtually impossible to trace. - Sapa-dpa

Cambodia hosts opportune investment property

24/7 Press Releases
April 26, 2008

NOTTINGHAM, UK, April 26, 2008 - Situated in the chic riverside French Quarter of Cambodia's capital, its wealthiest city of Phnom Penh, these properties are available now through overseas property specialists David Stanley Redfern Ltd from 29,151 with only 1,000 reservation fee.

There is plenty of leverage as the 65% balance isn't payable until completion and approval of the finished property and an initial 35% post due diligence payment. There are no construction risks whatsoever and this foolproof opportunity to own a highly desirable apartment in an equally alluring region offers all the benefits of any higher risk market, just without the worry.

Rental: Despite democracy and property ownership issues restricting the development of Cambodia's real estate sector, it's somewhat reassuring to know that Phnom Penh is at the centre of it all. Here, the developer is offering a net rental guarantee of 10% for the first 2 years so, along with Cambodia's capital growth hovering around 15% to 20% per year, this investment opportunity is undeniably attractive.

Costs: Cambodia's tax administration is split between registered businesses that are required to submit a monthly tax return and individual taxpayers who do not submit tax returns (though tax on employment income is withheld by their employers), so do not pay income tax on rent. Theoretically, up to 20% income tax is payable by residents from their net rental profits, whilst non-residents will pay 20% flat rate. Administrative practice dictates that companies must pay income tax and deduct 1% turnover per annum. Profit tax is 15% on net profits with the usual depreciation and deductions being allowed. Individuals are not VAT registered either and so are not liable for VAT on rental income. 10% withholding tax is payable by the lessee if the landlord is resident, and 14% if the landlord is non-resident. This tax is increasingly written into new leases. VAT is payable on rental income at 10% in corporate situations. Capital gains tax is currently non-existent, though it is imminent and likely to come into effect by 2008 at around 20%.

Buying: As foreign ownership of land isn't allowed in Cambodia, investors must take 1 of 4 routes around the problem. Buy through a local company, lease the land, acquire governmentally encouraged Cambodian citizenship and land ownership rights as you do so.

Tenancy: Rent is freely negotiable between landlord and tenant in Cambodia, with a deposit of 1 month's rent and 2 months' advance rent for the last two months of tenancy are commonplace. The security deposit is usually refunded 3 days after the tenancy term and all applicable maintenance deductions. Long-term renewable leases that usually last for 1 year are commonly written, though verbal agreements are acceptable for shorter term rentals. Only the law of contracts and the improved revised land law governs the tenant/landlord relationship.

Access: Phnom Penh hosts 2 international airports that offer daily flights along with all the major regional airports in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Taipei and Laos too, though the nearest is just 11km away from central Phnom Penh.

The Guns May Be Silent But for Some, There Is No Cease-Fire

By DeNeen L. Brown
The Washington Post
April 26, 2008

'The soldiers walked around the neighborhood, knocking on all the doors, telling people to leave. Those who refused were shot dead right on their doorsteps,' Loung Ung wrote in her book 'First They Killed My Father.'

Ung escaped Cambodia as a child when Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975. She fled with her family.

"Yesterday," she wrote, "I was playing hopscotch with my friends. Today we are running from soldiers with guns. . . . Pa whispers that from now on we are to give the soldiers anything they want or they will shoot us. We walk from the break of day until the dark of evening. When night comes, we rest by the roadside near a temple. We unpack the dried fish and rice and eat in silence. Gone is the air of mystery and excitement; now I am simply afraid."

Ung now lives in Cleveland, where she owns a Belgian beer bar and an Italian restaurant. So far from war, you say. But she says no. "When I hear politicians talk about war ending or not ending, my first thought is, it is really too bad so few of them have personally experienced war," Ung says. "We are ruled by a group of many armchair soldiers. War doesn't end."

The idea for a second book she wrote was prompted by Bush's 2003 "mission accomplished" announcement. At that moment she thought, " 'Oh my gosh, there are people who believe this and think this is true.' But I know 25 years after my war, it doesn't end just because the guns have fallen silent, doesn't end just because peace treaties have been signed. It doesn't end in my life. It is too bad so many people talk about it without having firsthand experience of it."

Her war goes on, living as if it were a close relative who remembers what you remember, someone who was there when the most horrible thing in your life happened, and knows all the details.

"The thing I still feel on my skin and in my heart is the experience of hiding in a bomb shelter," Ung says. "The fear that invades your body, that sets your mind ablaze even when the bomb doesn't hit. Fear. When I was hiding in a bomb shelter, everything is quiet except for the whizzing of cannons and rockets overhead. We are all counting under our breath, hiding from the bombs that were thrown by invisible people. They don't know you. You don't know them. You are counting and counting and waiting.

"When it doesn't hit, there is a moment of disappointment. You know it won't stop. . . . When you are in war, there is no relief."

Last Breakfast in Cambodia

The New York Times
April 26, 2008

Angkor, Cambodia

CAMBODIANS and other Theravada Buddhists celebrate their New Year in mid-April. They were not always able to do so. Under Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese rule, those ancient traditions were forbidden, impossible. But now Cambodia is free again and the festivities are in the open. As I wander the country of my youth, I see people spending the long holiday praying at temples and visiting relatives.

And I remember. My family used to hold a reunion on April 13 to mark both the New Year and my mother’s birthday. In 1975, we had no idea that it would be our last. We were all apprehensive about the future, and my mother was distraught because I had missed the American evacuation.

The day before, an officer of the United States Agency for International Development had told me that I had to be at the embassy within an hour if I wanted to be airlifted out of Cambodia. (I was a manager for the American relief agency CARE and had been selected for the evacuation.) Instead, I went to a meeting to find a way to help 3,000 families stranded in an isolated province.

“Maybe I can make the meeting and get to the embassy in time,” I thought.

But as I returned to Phnom Penh, the traffic became heavily congested. Thousands of people on ox carts and overloaded bicycles were making their way to the capital to seek shelter and safety.

When I finally reached the American Embassy and gave my name to the security officer, he looked puzzled.

“They are not coming back — they are gone!” The guard shouted his answer to emphasize the hard truth. And he added: “The war is over. We will have peace!”

Speechless, I went to the riverbank and looked at the horizon to see if I could spot the helicopters. The sky was blue and cloudless. I saw nothing. Years later, I learned that I had been looking in the wrong direction. The helicopters had flown westward toward the Gulf of Thailand. And I was looking east.

I was 30 minutes late. My life was going to change forever.

Everyone in the city was in a very somber mood. We prayed that our beloved country would return to the peaceful and stable life of the 1960s. What would happen to us now that the United States had closed its embassy? Two days earlier, President Gerald Ford had announced: “The situation in South Vietnam and Cambodia has reached a critical phase requiring immediate and positive decisions by this government. The options before us are few, and the time is very short.”

Five days later, on April 17, I stopped at a street-side restaurant to have a bowl of Phnom Penh noodles. A waiter took my order in Khmer and shouted in Cantonese loudly enough to be heard all the way to the kitchen: “One bowl of Kuytiev Phnom Penh, no MSG, no fat, blanched bean sprouts, hot tea for the skinny guy with glasses, white shirt, dark pants, table 13!” A different waiter brought my noodles in less than three minutes. Not once had they got the order wrong. It was going to be my last proper breakfast in Cambodia.

I had read gruesome descriptions of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge against enemies of their revolution: babies thrown into the air and caught with a bayonet, children smashed into trees, villagers having their throats cut with the thorns of palm branches, merchants clubbed to death with the back of a hoe. I did not believe them.

The street was lined with city residents, a few still wearing the kramas and sarongs they had slept in. One was brushing his teeth. But all were looking north, waiting for something. They looked fearful.

I spent all day in a temporary emergency room in the Hotel Le Royal doing what I could to help. I came out for fresh air and saw the Khmer Rouge being welcomed. People seemed genuinely happy that the war had ended.

Later that day, the first day of “peace,” I and 15 of my family members left our home after the Khmer Rouge had ordered all cities immediately emptied, and walked to Pochentong, the village where my siblings and I were born. Our house was occupied by strangers, so we went to the temple. The monks were already gone and there were bodies lying around. Mother was sobbing.

The women and girls in our family were choking back tears. The boys and men were all silent.
Shortly thereafter, I was separated from my family by the Khmer Rouge. After a year in slave labor camps, where I survived two death sentences, I escaped to Thailand. Following a few months in a Thai jail, in a Buddhist temple and in a refugee camp, I arrived in Wallingford, Conn., with $2 in my pocket. I later learned I was the only survivor in my close family. The Khmer Rouge had killed everyone else.

Cambodia today is not unlike the Cambodia of my youth — there is deep poverty and enormous wealth, side-by-side. There is unrest beneath the surface, the unrest that helped to make the horrors of the last century possible. And so, as I walk from one memory-filled place to another, I pray for a new year in which Cambodia’s leaders will find a way to bring about peace and stability. And, of course, I pray for my family.

Sichan Siv, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations, is the author of the forthcoming “Golden Bones.”

Cambodian-Americans are changing their parents' homeland

Tiny Toones performs most Sunday afternoons in the parks along Phnom Penh’s riverfront. The events draw curious onlookers as well as street kids to see the group perform. Such events are used as outreach to the city’s poor and young. ©2007 Stuart Isett. All rights reserved

They're giving at-risk youth a break with dance lessons

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Next time the Massive Monkees mesmerize you with their break dancing, check out the lanky boy with the waves of curly hair, nicknamed Peanut, the one known for his windmills.

He's also the one moving to a country he never visited before last year, the country his parents fled during the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror.

Peanut, whose real name is Phanna Nam, is following a dream to dance in Cambodia and teach poor kids the moves that have been second nature to him since he was a child growing up in Mount Baker. The Franklin High School grad, 23, was born in Tacoma and visited Cambodia for the first time in 2007, for a month.

Behind the moves of Massive Monkees, one of Seattle's top B-boy groups (B-Boy is hip-hop slang for break dancer), is the story of how Cambodian-Americans like Nam are changing their parents' homeland. Although Nam is going back by choice, others forced back by deportation are finding redemption in a country torn apart by genocide, war and violence.

Nam and his crew -- the tight-knit 19 or so young men and women of Massive Monkees -- perform Saturday night at the Greenwood Collective. Proceeds will go toward Tiny Toones, an organization in Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh that reaches out to about 600 at-risk and street children through break dancing.

Tiny Toones uses any donations it receives to provide food, shelter and education to these kids, who learn about HIV, sex and drugs -- and how those things can't fit into a life of dancing. Kids also meet with other volunteers/deportees and the group's founder, Tuy Sobil (nicknamed KK) every day after he gets off work to practice moves, which can last all night. Nam met Sobil in January on his second monthlong visit to Cambodia -- and they hit it off.

Sobil is an ex-Crips gang member from Long Beach, Calif., who, after a felony conviction for armed robbery at 18, spent a decade in jail and immigration detention centers. He wasn't even born in Cambodia, having come into the world in a Thai refugee camp.

His story isn't so different from that of Many Uch, 32, a local Cambodian man whose life has been in limbo as he waits to be deported. He served 40 months in prison because, at 18, he also was involved in an armed robbery -- as a getaway driver -- and also was running in a local gang. Uch spent an additional 28 months detained by immigration officials after his release from prison in 1997.

"I regret making poor choices, but not that I went to prison. Prison changed my life, in a way that it saved me," said Uch, who will speak at Saturday's fundraiser. "Not religiously, but mentally, in growing up."

Uch is no longer in custody, but his situation hangs over his head daily. As coordinator for the Seattle-based Refugee Justice Project, he works closely with other Cambodian-Americans facing deportation.

The father of a 21-month-old daughter, Uch is engaged to be married and has a full life in this country with all the family he has ever known. He arrived in the U.S. when he was 4, and says he has no memory of Cambodia.

"I feel for KK. He mentioned one time that he would be hanging out in the streets if he was in America and would likely fall back in jail," Uch said. "I admire people that try to make a difference in children's lives. Most deportees are not really making it in Cambodia, and KK tries really hard to change his life and others.

"We made poor choices when we were younger and that's what I can relate to. I spent time in prison and now changed my life. But Immigration doesn't understand that and won't give me another chance. What else can you do but make the best out of it?"

Although he's never been in the kind of trouble that sent Sobil back to Cambodia, Nam knows what it's like to grow up in a rough neighborhood, and is able to relate to the kids in Phnom Penh.

"It's just like the projects, but a lot worse. You gotta be street smart," he said. "I realized I was more Cambodian than American. I don't go to McDonald's. I eat pho or Thai food. I always prefer Asian food. When I was in Cambodia, I ate like a Cambodian, went to the bathroom like one, rode mopeds like one."

Growing up surrounded by other Cambodians, Nam retained his culture and traditions, kept them close. The oldest of four children -- all of whom dance -- he set an example for his siblings by staying out of gangs and finding work taking care of mentally disabled clients. But dancing has always been in his life and being part of Massive Monkees has exposed him to other crews around the world. They've even been world champs, once, in London, in 2004. But Nam jokes, "We're like the Seahawks, we're the masters of second place."

"Seattle B-boys and girls are world class, there's no doubt about it," said Charles Peterson, a counterculture photographer best known for capturing grunge. Later this year a new book on break dancing, "Cypher," comes out. Peterson will be at the fundraiser Saturday, showing his work.

"A large part of the scene are Asian and Hispanic-Americans, and we have such a big Asian-American community here," he said. "There's always a Seattle contingent. They definitely hold their own."

Stuart Isett, another Seattle photographer, who's been working on a 15-year photo essay about Cambodian gangs in the U.S. and the deportation of young Cambodian refugees to Cambodia, also will be showing his work.

Isett's work has concentrated more on B-boys like Sobil, and not as much on B-boys like Nam who choose to go back.

Nam says he will miss his crew in Seattle, but he feels his place is halfway around the world.

"I always had this calling, this sense of destiny to go back to Cambodia. My mom thinks I'm crazy and my dad just tells me to stay safe. But I'm tired of the American dream. It's a fantasy. I feel more real living in the 'hood," said Nam, who's going to Alaska this summer to make money fishing, then making the big move abroad.

"I don't know how to do anything else but break dance. If I'm gonna shed tears, blood and sweat, it might as well be for Cambodia. I can't change Cambodia, but these kids can. ...Through dancing, these kids are going to be inspired to do more."

Cambodia takes steps to rein in infaltion

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Phnom Penh, Apr 25, 2008 (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) -- -- ? Cambodia?s Prime Minister Hun Sen has said that his government is taking appropriate measures to hold back fast price rises, including raising salary and reducing import tariffs on some of the consumer goods.

He told the 13th Government Private Sector Forum (GPSF) opening on April 23 in Phnom Penh that salary levels of government officers will be increased by 20 percent while those for teachers will enjoy a 10 percent rise. The allowances for families of government officers and army servicemen will be doubled.

The Cambodian government has also called on the public sector to curb oil and gas expenses and announced a ban on rice exports for two months in order to stabilise domestic food prices.

PM Hun Sen said he had asked the Finance Committee to cut down import taxes on some of the consumer goods and consider maintaining or raising tariffs on luxury goods such as automobiles, motorbikes and cigarettes to ensure a healthy state budget.

PM Hun Sen said the current price rises in Cambodia are mainly attributed to increasing domestic demand on goods, food, houses and construction due to robust economic growth, a surge in world oil and gas prices and strong economic development in China, India and other Asia.

The US dollar depreciation is also an inflation-causing factor, he added.

The GPSF is annual forum funded by the International Finance Corporation and the Government of Australia through AusAid, its official development assistance agency.