Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Japan visits grow

via CAAI

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 15:00 Soeun Say

Japanese tourists to the Kingdom rose in the first quarter compared year on year despite the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the island nation in March, Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism said yesterday, while continued fighting kept Thai visitors away.

The total number of foreign tourists between January and March increased 14 percent year-over-year to about 778,000, with Japanese visitors climbing 2.1 percent to just over 49,000, according to Ministry statistics.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon said that given the strong Japanese numbers – and the country’s status as the second-largest point of departure to the ASEAN region – local tour and travel operators should continue to market to Japan going forward.

“Japanese tourists are the main target that we must attract, and we hope that through our promotions more and more of them will visit this year,” he said.

He called on Japanese companies to invest in Cambodia, such as through direct flights between the two countries.

Thong Khon also said he hoped the Kingdom’s tourism sector would grow this year as a result of new flights from Europe, as well as other charter flights here, and visa exemptions with ASEAN countries.

Thai tourists should not be worried about visiting Cambodia, he added.

Ang Kim Eang, President of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, agreed that these would be the factors to boost tourism and said he was “optimistic” that visitor numbers would continue to rise as a result.

President of the Cambodia Hotel Association Luu Meng explained that occupancy rates were up in the first quarter year-over-year as well, saying that Japanese and Americans are increasingly spending more and more time in Cambodia.

Economic impact on stocks

via CAAI

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 15:00 Anthony Galliano

The price of stocks is set by the marketplace, where investors meet to fix prices, determined by supply and demand.

The demand side is represented by buyers, the supply side is represented by the sellers. The price buyers are willing to pay depends on many factors. The fundamentals of a stock such as its earnings per share, price to earnings multiple, future earnings stream and dividend yield are seen as influential long-term determinants.

Investors also closely monitor economic factors which can sway markets short-term and also impact general long-term market direction.

The main economic indicators that affect stock prices are inflation, unemployment and gross domestic product. Additionally, interest rates, bond prices, currency exchange rates, and commodity prices are also affected by these economic indicators, which in turn greatly impact the direction of the market.

Inflation is the rise in general prices of goods and services in an economy. The rate of inflation is measured by annual changes in price indexes such as the Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index.
The Consumer Price Index is a market basket of different types of consumer goods and services such as clothing, rent, food and energy.

The Producer Price Index measures price changes for goods and services at the wholesale level, from raw material to finished goods. Inflation erodes the purchasing power of money, as the value of goods and services increase it costs more dollars to purchase them.

Progressive inflation of 2-3 percent is generally viewed as acceptable, however if inflation is increasing rapidly, interest rates will increase to keep inflation in check.

Interest rates play a major role in determining stock market trends.

When interest rates are low or are falling, stock prices generally rise. Companies will have lower borrowing costs and thus it is cheaper to finance projects and operations. Lower borrowing costs should positively affect earnings and thus lead to higher stock prices.

Bond prices also increase when interest rates are declining.

Bondholders will hold on to their bonds in a falling interest rate environment because the rate of return they are receiving is higher than that being offered by newly issued bonds and the value of their bonds is also increasing.

With the increase of the supply of money in the economy due to lower interest rates and increased borrowing, commodity prices are also likely to increase. A rapid increase in commodity prices will affect the whole economy and lead to higher prices and inflation.

To temper inflation, interest rates will increase and lead to higher borrowing costs. This makes it more difficult and expensive for companies to raise capital leading, to a decline in stock prices as investors anticipate lower earnings.

Bond prices also decline as the current yields are adjusted upwards to keep pace with interest rates. Bondholders are concerned with the real rate of return which is the yield minus the rate of inflation. As inflation and interest rate increase, the market demands higher yields. Therefore, in an inflationary environment with rising interest rates, stock and bond prices typically both fall.

Movements in stock prices are not solely based on fundamentals, but are also greatly influenced by economic factors which can dictate overall market direction.

AKP - The Agence Kampuchea Press

via CAAI

PM Welcomes Cambodian-Thai Military Commanders’ Ceasefire Formula

AKP Phnom Penh, May 4, 2011 – Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, has welcomed the formula of both Cambodian-Thai frontline military commanders to put an end to the latest fighting.

Last night, they [Cambodian and Thai troops] slept together, said the Cambodian premier at an inauguration ceremony in Tuol Sangke pagoda on May 4 in Phnom Penh, praising both sides’ frontline military commanders for having built this mutual trust, so as to reach a permanent ceasefire.

The night of May 3 until early morning of May 4 was the “first night” without the sound of weapon explosion since Thai aggression on Cambodian territory from Apr. 22 to May 3 at Ta Moan and Ta Krabey Temples in Oddar Meanchey province, he said.

The remaining 200 evacuated families, whose houses are too close to the fighting zones, have all returned home as a result of this ceasefire, said the Cambodian prime minister.

According to a press release of the spokesman of Cambodia’s National Defense Ministry dated May 4, after their 30-minute meeting on Wednesday morning, Cambodian Maj. Gen. Chea Mon, commander of Military Region 4, and Lt. Gen. Sowatchai Samutsakorn, commander of Thai Army Region 2 agreed on six points – making the situation at Ta Moan and Ta Krabey Temples to return to normalcy as it was before Apr. 22, making the situation at Thmar Daun and Chup Koki as good as before, allowing all evacuated villagers to return homes, re-opening of O’smach and Anlong Veng border checkpoints from 10:00 am on Wednesday, having trust on each other, and avoiding dissemination of distorted information.

Article in Khmer by CHEY Phum Pul
Article in English by SOKMOM Nimul


International Red Cross-Red Crescent Day: Over US$8.5 Million Collected

AKP Phnom Penh, May 4, 2011 – More than US$8.5 million were collected at the meeting to commemorate the 148th Anniversary of the International Red Cross-Red Crescent Day held here on May 3 at Cambodian Red Cross (CRC)’s headquarters, according to the preliminary figure.

Last year, only over US$7 million were collected.

The event is celebrated annually to mobilize funds from national and foreign donors to support CRC’s humanitarian activities.

On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, who presided over the meeting, said more and more contribution from local and foreign charitable people clearly shows the “Culture of Sharing”, which starts from trust, said the Cambodian premier, adding that this contribution can be explained by CRC’s transparent and efficient use of financial resources.

He expressed his strong belief that under the wise leadership of Lok Chumteav Bun Rany Hun Sen, CRC President, CRC will double its efforts in strengthening and developing its institution to be more comprehensive and gain more support from the national and international institutions, development partners, national and international donors.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen further praised the CRC for its achievements in the past year and for its assistance to the victims of disasters and recently to the frontline soldiers and war refugees.

“Taking this opportunity, I would like to sincerely praise H.E. Dr. Bun Rany and wives of other members of the Royal Government who always pay visit to our armed forces, especially remote and island-based armed units to provide relief assistance to our soldiers and their families and to ignite their patriotism to protect national sovereignty. In particular, the management, all levels of officials, and volunteers of the Cambodia Red Cross have recently paid visit to and provided aids to frontline soldiers and war refugees,” he said.

“I strongly believe that Cambodian Red Cross, which is a strongly leading National Association Organization in humanitarian acts will continue to play role as a significant agency of the Royal Government on humanitarian sector in order to help solve issues for the interest of the nation, people as well as upgrading the dignity, virtue, value of humankind and participate in the process of poverty reduction of our people,” he added.

Premier Techo Hun Sen also reaffirmed the government’s continued support to all CRC’s endless humanitarian activities to rescue victims and fulfill other humanitarian activities.

Article in Khmer by CHEY Phum Pul
Article in English by KHAN Sophirom


Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry Sends Diplomatic Note to Thai Embassy

AKP Phnom Penh, May 4, 2011 – The Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has sent a diplomatic note to the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh over Thai armed forces’ aggression on Cambodian territory from Apr. 28 to May 3.

The following is the full diplomatic note dated May 4:


France Supports Indonesia’s Role in Cambodia-Thailand Border Dispute

AKP Phnom Penh, May 4, 2011 – The government of France has voiced its support to ASEAN’s role in resolving the Cambodia-Thailand border issues and urged Indonesian observers to be in place soon, according to a statement of the spokesman of French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

France has also called on Cambodia and Thailand to cease fire and urged both countries to exercise utmost restraint and to continue to resolve the problem by peaceful means, said the statement released by the Embassy of France on May 2.

The remarks were made known by French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs during the meeting with Cambodian Minister of Foreign affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Hor Namhong in France on Apr. 27, it said.

By LIM Nary


Information Minister Presides Over a Celebration of the World Press Freedom Day

AKP Phnom Penh, May 4, 2011 – A celebration of the World Press Freedom Day was held at the Korean Cultural Center in Phnom Penh on May 3 in the presence of Information Minister H.E. Khieu Kanharith.

In his remarks at the ceremony, H.E. Khieu Kanharith, also spokesman of Cambodian royal government reaffirmed that the royal government has no intention of closing up or controlling Internet home pages, referring to an issue dealing with the closing down of KI-Media website being criticized recently.

As a principle, the royal government encouraged the public to be given an access to the information, he said.

The government has ordered the provincial authorities in the country to establish a public relation group or spokespersons so as to enable them to deal with the media reporters, he said.

The public relation group or spokespersons is composed of a deputy provincial governor, an information official and a provincial official, he said.

He was also disappointed that the spokespersons of most government institutions trained by the government have not carried out the exercise of their profession well yet, he said.

In the last few years, Cambodia has had the development of the traditional and electronic media. The internet has much power to promote democratic discussion and civic participation in Cambodia. Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs allow for content generation and sharing, encouraging user participation and rapid flow of user-generated content and exchange of perspectives.

The celebration of the World Press Freedom Day was conducted under the theme of “Broadening Press Freedom and Uphold Human Rights in Cambodia” through traditional and modern media with the participation of representatives from UNESCO, the Cambodian Communication Institute, the Press Council of Cambodia, the Club of Cambodian Journalists, the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists and the Cambodian Center for Independent Media and media students.

By THOU Peou


COMMENTARY: Thailand’s Expansionist Policy Gravely Threatened Peace and Stability in Cambodia and in the Region

AKP Phnom Penh, May 4, 2011 – The war waged by Thailand against Cambodia on 4-7 February 2011 has seriously damaged the World heritage site of Preah Vihear Temple and has gravely threatened peace and stability in the region.

Immediately, the Cambodian government urged the United Nations Security Council to hold an urgent meeting to stop Thailand’s aggression. One week later, on 14 February 2011, the UN Security Council urged the two neighboring countries to display maximum restraint and to establish a permanent cease-fire, and asked the ASEAN to work out a solution to this conflict.

At the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN in Jakarta on 22 February 2011, Cambodia and Thailand have agreed to the peace plan proposed by Indonesia, the current Chair of ASEAN, to have independent observers to assess the situation and monitor the ceasefire.

Cambodia has actively participated in the implementation of the above peace plan by accepting Indonesian observers, whereas Thailand has refused to accept them.

The above rebuff of the peace plan by Thailand is a negative response to the strong efforts made by Indonesia which has been mandated by the UN Security Council to play its role as a mediator. Cambodia and the international community are disappointed by Thai stand on this.

Moreover, Thailand in defiance of the international law and practice as well as the UN and the ASEAN, has launched a new war of aggression against Cambodia starting from 22 April causing much suffering to Cambodian people.

Now, the main question for us is that “Why Thailand has opted for war of aggression in its relations with Cambodia? The following remarks may give some answers to this question.

1. Military / warlike leaders

By the end of January 2011, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva stated that “The government will persist in pursuing peaceful means to settle border disputes with Cambodia, with war the very last option”. As a result, a war by Thailand against Cambodia broke out less than one week later.

The above statement by Thai Prime Minister, on the one hand reflects his arrogant attitude, and on the other hand, the warlike tradition of Thai leadership.

Military has played a central role in the territorial expansion of Thailand. According to several historians, Thai military has a history that dated back to the same period when the Kingdom of Thailand gained independence from the Khmer empire in the 13th century.
Since then, the Thai military top-brass have ruled Thailand. Military dictators dominated Thai politics from the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932. When the military elite were in power as a result of a coup d’etat, the armed forces expanded. As we can see recently, after the 2006 military coup in Thailand, there has been an escalation of tensions with Cambodia and other neighboring countries.

2. Leaders displaying defiance against the law

Fuelled by ultra-nationalistic sentiment, Thai leaders display their defiance against the international law.

As we know, in its judgment on the merits of 15 June 1962 of the International Court of Justice, by nine votes to three, found that the Temple of Preah Vihear was situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia and, in consequence, that Thailand was under an obligation to withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity on Cambodian territory.

However, Thai leaders drew a secret, unilateral map pushing the frontier line deep inside Cambodia, and claimed that there is an “overlapping area” of 4.6 sq.kms in the vicinity of the Temple of Preah Vihear. In fact, between Cambodia and Thailand there exists a clear international frontier line.

More interestingly, in July 2007 during the 31st Session of the World Heritage Committee in Christchurch, New Zealand, Thailand publicly revealed for the first time its secret, unilateral and internationally unrecognized map to protest against the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List. But this faked map was categorically rejected by the World Heritage Committee.

It is worth recalling that, in 2008, Milton Osborne, Professor at the Australian National University, published an article entitled “Preah Vihear: the Thai-Cambodia temple dispute”. In its sub-title “Thai ambition, Cambodian fear”, he wrote that “…it is fair to say that legal considerations are not always at the heart of Thai thinking on relations with Cambodia. From the time of Cambodia’s gaining independence in 1953 until the onset of the Cambodian civil war in 1970, relations between Thailand and Cambodia were marked by almost continuous difficulty… Throughout these years, Thai security services worked to undermine the government in Phnom Penh”.

At present, Thai electronic media ( continues to disseminate the so-called “A Chronicle of Siam’s 14 Boundary Losses”, and the content of point 14 is as follows:

“15th June 1962: Thailand lost 2 square miles of Khao Phra Wihaan temple to Cambodia. A bitter dispute arose when Cambodians came out from nowhere claiming the temple. The World Court relied on an inaccurate map drawn up by French colonial powers when Cambodia was part of their French Indo-China empire. The decision by the World Court to award this sacred site to Cambodia so angered by the then Prime Minister, Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, as well as the citizens of Thailand that he stated we should have refused to relinquish Khao Phra Wihaan. The temple is a world’s heritage which belongs to everyone. Due to geography and history, Siam or Thailand must have a perfect right to look after this particular temple”.

The above territorial claim, fuelled by Thai territorial ambition, is made in defiance of the judgment of 15 June 1962 of the International Court of Justice and posed serious problems to peace in Cambodia.

3-Thai Expansionist Policy: real threat to all neighboring countries

The so-called “A Chronicle of Siam’s 14 Boundary Losses” asserted that “Siam did suffer some fourteen boundary losses; eight of them to Britain and France, and the rest to neighboring countries”. So all neighboring countries including Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam may be the targets of Thai territorial claim from now on.

Most recently, on 26 April 2011, Thai government passed a three-part resolution including military retaliation against claimed Cambodian incursions. The Cambodian government on 27 April condemned Bangkok’s threat to use military action to force Cambodian troops from areas that Thailand considers in dispute.

As we can see above, Thai warlike and expansionist government is the real threat to peace and stability in our whole region. For that reason, all neighboring countries together with the international community should make joint efforts to put an end to this dangerous policy so that we can enjoy a lasting peace and stability in Southeast Asia.

Thai leaders should know that the world of the 21st century needs a new vision, a vision of peace rooted in justice, a vision of a world bound together in intentional community dedicated to the well-being of all people. Peace rooted in justice requires the nurturing of a culture of peace in homes, communities, nations and across the world.

Phnom Penh, 04 May 2011
The Press and Quick Reaction Unit
of the Office of the Council of Ministers


PM To Attend the 18th ASEAN Summit in Jakarta

AKP Phnom Penh, May 4, 2011 – Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, will lead a high delegation to attend the 18th ASEAN Summit on May 7-8 in Jakarta, Indonesia, at the invitation of President of the Republic of Indonesia H.E. Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The delegation will include Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H.E. Hor Namhong, Senior Minister and Commerce Minister H.E. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Permanent Vice Chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia H.E. Sun Chanthol, and other high-ranking officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia, said a press release of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued on Tuesday.

The Meeting will discuss a wide range of issues including the Implementation of the ASEAN Charter and Roadmap for ASEAN Community, the Implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, the ASEAN External Relations, the ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations, and the Exchange of Views on Regional and International Issues, especially the situation at the border between Cambodia and Thailand.

At the end of the meeting, H.E. Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Chairman of the 18th ASEAN Summit will hold a Press Conference, and an Agreement on the Establishment of ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center) will be signed by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers.

On the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, Samdech Techo Prime Minister will have a bilateral meeting with President of the Republic of the Philippines.


OVOP Expo in Kampong Cham Province Closed

AKP Phnom Penh, May 4, 2011 – The One Village, One Product (OVOP) Expo was wrapped up on May 2 in Kampong Cham province, some 124 kilometers north of Phnom Penh capital city.
Silver products, souvenir items, mats, food, etc. from Phnom Penh and different provinces throughout the country were put on display on 50 stands.

This three-day expo was organized by OVOP National Committee in cooperation with provincial authorities and Brandsing Co., Ltd. and sponsored by Smart Mobile.

By CHEA Vannak

Revisiting the reign of TERROR

via CAAI

With the Khmer Rouge trial in progress, a new documentary on Pol Pot's top aide sheds light on Cambodia's dark past

Published: 4/05/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Life

To make a movie about Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge is to hear the cries from the graveyards. To revisit the Pol Pot era, even three decades later, is to walk among the ghosts. And to walk among the ghosts _ especially the Cambodian ghosts now that the word "Cambodia" rings with an awkward tinge to some Thais _ is to remember what makes us not Thai or Cambodian, but human all the same.

Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge’s number-two commander, opens up in new documentary, Enemies of the People.

To international viewers, the best-known film about Cambodia and the tragedy of the mid-1970s is The Killing Fields (shot partly in Bangkok itself). But the most chilling and historically valuable account on that subject is not the 1984 Western-produced drama: it is, in 2003, the documentary S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine by Rithy Panh, and now, in 2011, it is another doc Enemies of the People, in which the ghosts walk and talk perhaps in the hope of making themselves heard once again.

Directed by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath, Enemies of the People scores an unusual feat and it's scheduled to open in a Bangkok multiplex, on one screen, on May 19. As the border throbs and uncertainty rules relations between Thailand and Cambodia, a re-examination of a bloodied chapter in Khmer history seems not an irrelevant matter; rather it is a lesson for both sides on how madness and violence, how knives and guns and arrogance, can easily spiral out of control and plunge everybody into hell.

"I do this not for journalism," says Thet Sambath, co-director and protagonist of the film, "I do this for history."

Among other things, Enemies of the People is a documentary about an unlikely friendship. In the film, we follow Thet Sambath, a reporter at the Phnom Penh Post, as he recounts the 10 years he's spent researching and getting acquainted with Nuon Chea, a top Khmer Rouge commander who's also known as "Brother Number Two" (in old news footage, Chea is the slightly chubby man who walks right behind Pol Pot everywhere he goes, including on a trip to China).

Now in his 80s, frail yet articulate, Chea is the last surviving Khmer Rouge leader who at this moment _ and this adds another urgency to the film _ awaits UN trial for crimes his regime committed 35 years ago.

Sambath's father, mother and older brother were killed during 1974 to 1977, and for years the young man was consumed by the need to understand why such atrocity, which left two million dead, was even possible (see box). ''I never really understood what happened under the Khmer Rouge. I read history books _ almost all by Westerners _ but it still didn't make sense to me: why were so many people killed?'' Sambath says in a note. ''It could not be just because the Khmer Rouge were 'bad people'.''

In early 2000s, Sambath got to know Nuon Chea, and the bulk of Enemies of the People shows Sambath's weekly trip to visit the old communist at his house _ like a son visiting his grandfather. The irony of life contributes to the accidental drama here: Sambath didn't tell Chea that his family were killed by the Khmer Rouge, and the two men seem to like each other's company enough that Chea allows the journalist to film him. Initially, Sambath didn't dare ask the questions he'd been meaning to ask, while Chea kept saying the usual lines, ''I was low ranking, I'm not a killer''. But slowly, the old Red grew to trust the young man and opens up, and everything is captured on his video camera.

Thet Sambath  Rob Lemkin

''One day he said to me 'Sambath, I trust you, you are the person I would like to tell my story to. Ask me what you want to know','' Sambath recalls.

Nuon Chea, tired, regretful and defiant, is not the only subject in Enemies of the People. Throughout the years Sambath also befriended at least two other former Khmer Rouge soldiers, both of them now in their 60s and residing in a village not far from the mass graves where they once buried people. Looking tired and weathered, as if the weight of history has caught up with them, the two soldiers answer Sambath's questions, point him the site where they once killed people, and in one harrowing scene, demonstrate with a knife how they slit a man's throat. Not a single drop of blood is seen, but it's one of the scariest things you'll see on a screen in a long time.

''My sources are country people. The Khmer Rouge were all country people,'' Sambath wrote. ''They don't talk to people from the city, let alone foreigners. I am a country person. I think that's why, in the end, they talked to me. I am one of them.

''In 2005 I started to plan a book. But I worried no one would believe me. So I began tape-recording all my interviews. Then I worried they still might not believe. So, in 2006, I began videotaping my interviews and meetings.'' That same year, Sambath met Rob Lemkin, a documentary filmmaker who visited Phnom Penh, and Enemies of the People was the result of that meeting.

''I see Sambath as a man trying to make sense of the nightmare of his childhood,'' says Lemkin in his notes. ''I also see him as a representative of the Second Generation, working to ferret out the truth from the First Generation, in order to convey the meaning of history to the Third Generation. In this sense this story could be from Germany, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Iraq, Sudan.''

A former Khmer Rouge soldier talks about the crimes he’s been living with for three decades

A reconciliation, if not morally then socially at least, is possible only when the wrongdoers confront the wronged. The meeting between the victims of Khmer Rouge ultra-violence and the Khmer Rouge perpetrators was captured in the documentary S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, a 2003 film that would make a perfect double for Enemies of the People. Made by the Paris-based filmmaker Rithy Panh, who fled Cambodia to France in 1979, S21 revisits Tuol Sleng, the notorious prison in downtown Phnom Penh in which 17,000 people were ''processed'' and ''destroyed'' between 1975 to 1979, sometimes by guards as young as 12.

The movie brought these guards back to the prison, and they were asked to re-enact their routine of torture, abuse and murder _ to the empty cells and invisible prisoners _ but the cold shiver is intensified by the sense of history being relived, the sense of self-exorcism by these men who, either valid or not, also see themselves as helpless victims of a demon that terrorised the nation. In the film, two survivors of the prison meet their tormenters, because pain can probably be cured by confronting pain itself. Panh, perhaps the most well-known Cambodian filmmaker, has just completed a new doc focusing on Duch, the ruthless warden of Tuol Sleng who's also being tried before a UN tribunal.

While S21 has been screened at small conferences and academic seminars, Enemies of the People will open in a cinema at a time when Cambodia is grabbing the headlines of Thai newspapers, though in a different circumstance from the Khmer Rouge and its aftermath.

''First of all, Cambodia is our neighbour, and to learn the history of our neighbour is always important, because that's how we understand them,'' says Pimpaka Towira, whose company Extra Virgin has acquired the rights of the film. ''But also, I think Enemies of the People is a fair portrait; there are no clear bad guys in it. The story in the film can also serve as a lesson on how a conflict can escalate and how ideology can drive you to see whoever thinks differently as your enemies. It fits the situation in Thailand very well.''

Enemies of the People will open on May 19 at SF CentralWorld. The directors, Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath, will answer audience questions at the 7pm screening.


What first drove you to take up this project? You explained in the film, but what really drove you on this mission to find the answer to the question that many people thought was impossible to answer?

After my family were killed, I grew up wondering why all this took place. But everywhere I looked I found accusation and rumour. I don't like rumour. So I resolved to get the story from the people who did it.

Do you think you have found the answer finally? The answer to why the killings took place? Is it very important to you to find out the answer?

Yes, it is important to find out. I think I have found out. But I think it will only come out in our sequel film Suspicious Minds [that he and Lemkin are making].

Your friendship with Nuon and the two killers from the village is the most striking thing. What did it feel like when you genuinely grew close to Chea?

I was surprised that I became close to him like that. But I am a very genuine and sincere person and so I think it was inevitable that so long as he told me the truth that we would become close.

In your view, why did Nuon, Soun and Koun (the two former killers in the village) decide to open up to you and let you film them extensively?

I think I have a way of making people talk to me. Even Nuon Chea and the killers often used to say, "Sambath, I don't know why I am telling you all this."

Has the film been shown in Cambodia? What was the reaction?

The film has been shown at one cinema in Phnom Penh many times. The government does not allow it a wide release. We hope they will change their minds soon. But it's still very controversial history. But for the audiences who have seen it, they have been amazed. They tell me they have been waiting for 30 years for this story to come out.


When did you start collaborating with Sambath?

I first met Sambath in 2006 when I went to make my own film on the Khmer Rouge trial. The Khmer Rouge leader I really wanted to meet was Nuon Chea, but I was told the only person who could really talk to him was Sambath. So I hired Sambath as a fixer/translator but soon I realised the extraordinary relationship between them was the story and that Sambath was already well-advanced on the road of investigation and discovery. I asked him if we could join forces as equal partners. He said yes and we got started.

When you met him in person, what was your impression with Nuon Chea?

I think on one level our film is about the nature and process of research. To get important and secret information from someone who has been denying it for many years involves relating to them in a very human way. By the time the information has been obtained or released, the human aspect of the relationship has already developed irrevocably. There is an interesting tension and contradiction in this.

Why did Nuon Chea decide to open up to Sambath and let you and him film him extensively?

Nuon Chea did not open up in front of me _ this was for Sambath alone. But Nuon Chea was happy to answer our joint questions (put by Sambath when I wasn't there) because he trusted Sambath. I think he believes he has not been treated fairly by historians and journalists, and that he saw in Sambath someone who was prepared to allow him to put his point of view extensively. I think he realised this chance would not come again for him.

Will the film be used as any form of evidence in the upcoming trial?

There has been some controversy over our and the film's relationship with the trial chamber. We declined to give the film to the ECCC (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia) following requests from the prosecutors' office and the investigating judges. That was because the contributions were given on the basis that we were not officers or agents of the court. However, the court has plenty of opportunity to obtain the film from the public domain now and, according to their own court order of April 9, 2010, it seems they will do so and use it as they see fit in the trial of Nuon Chea and other members of the CPK central committee.

The most well-known film about the Cambodian tragedy was The Killing Fields, and the most well-known documentary on the subject is S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine. To me, Enemies of the People allows the voices of the killers to be heard. How do you see the role of documentary filmmaking as a tool or journalistic/historical invention?

I think through the power of film storytelling you can connect people and politics, history and emotion that you cannot quite do in any other medium. That is because voiceless people can speak for themselves in a film and become central to the process in a way that is more direct than in a literary work. We are working on a second film Suspicious Minds, and a book, but we see the entirety of our work as part of a much bigger process of Cambodia starting to interrogate its own history. This way we hope the film may be part of a first step towards a genuine truth and reconciliation process.

Cambodia to respect ceasefire despite alleged Thai mortar fire

via CAAI

Phnom Penh - Cambodia on Friday said that Thailand had broken a ceasefire agreed the day before by military commanders and endorsed by politicians in both countries, but that it would respect the deal.

Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said Thai artillery fired a number of mortars early Friday near Ta Kwai temple on the north-western border. The temple is one of a half dozen sites that have seen exchanges of fire since April 22.

He said six shells landed on Cambodian territory.

"We are very sorry that Thailand has broken the agreement," he said. "It is a provocative act, but we restrain ourselves and we don't return fire. Cambodia is abiding by the (ceasefire) agreement."

Phay Siphan said Thai and Cambodian military commanders on the ground would meet to assess what had happened. //DPA

Prayuth insists troops must vacate border

via CAAI

30 monitors to deploy after terms approved

Published: 4/05/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News

The Army chief yesterday reiterated the precondition set out by the army and government that Cambodia withdraw all of its troops from the 4.6 sq km disputed border area before Indonesian observers can be deployed.

"If they [Cambodia] do not agree, the battle will have to continue. We can keep fighting each other or we can end the battle with dialogue," army commander in chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya earlier met with Indonesia's foreign minister Marty Natalegawa, who is the current chairman of Asean, to discuss the terms of reference (ToR) for the deployment of 30 Indonesian observers along the Thai-Cambodian border near Preah Vihear temple.

The Foreign Ministry has proposed the ToR to the Cabinet, which it should consider carefully, Gen Prayuth said.

"If those observers were to be deployed, there must be no soldiers on the Preah Vihear mountain. It does not matter who comes in, the government will be the one to approve their presence. But if they want to come, there must be a ToR governing their presence," Gen Prayuth said.

The army chief added that the Foreign Ministry would lobby the Cabinet for approval of the ToR. He has personally gone through essential details of the proposal and insisted it states that there must be no troops present at Preah Vihear Temple in addition to nearby communities and Buddhist temples.

On Monday night, border skirmishes resumed between Thai and Cambodian troops near the Ta Kwai Temple in Tambon Bak Dai in Surin province. One Thai soldier was killed and three others injured.

The latest clash featured fighting with personal rifles, grenade launchers and hand grenades, according to Lt Gen Tawatchai Samutsakhon, commander of the 2nd Army.

About 500 residents of Tambon Bak Dai who had recently returned home again had to flee from their communities to Nikhom Prasat evacuation centre on Monday night.

Eight Thai soldiers have been killed and 120 others injured during the latest and deadliest round of Thai-Cambodian fighting, which started 11 days ago.

Gen Prayuth insisted that Thai troops had never fired first.

Lt Gen Tawatchai said small skirmishes had occurred on a daily basis since a ceasefire was declared last Thursday. The skirmish on Monday night broke out because Cambodian military leaders could not control some of their soldiers. The 2nd Army had tried to prevent further clashes by sending commanding officers to the frontline, so that they could talk to Cambodian military commanders and discuss plans to prevent further skirmishes between both sides.

Cambodia takes dispute with Thailand to U.N. court

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, troops of Cambodian Royal Armed Forces confer at a military camp in the border disputed area in Oddar Meanchey province, Cambodia. File photo

via CAAI

Cambodia has asked the United Nations’ highest court to order Thailand to withdraw troops and halt military activity around a temple at the centre of a decades-old border dispute that has flared into deadly military clashes.

Fighting in recent weeks along the disputed border region surrounding the Preah Vihear temple has left at least 16 people dead.

In a request filed April 28 and made available Tuesday on the court’s website, Cambodia asks International Court of Justice judges to urgently deal with its request “because of the gravity of the situation.”

Cambodia claims that according to a 1962 ruling by the court the temple on its territory.

International Court Expects Temple Hearing Soon

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Tuesday, 03 May 2011

via CAAI

Photo: AP
An overview of Cambodia's 11th century Hindu Preah Vihear temple, about 245 kilometers (152 miles) north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

“It will be an oral hearing, and it can be between a few days and a few weeks.”

The International Court of Justice is likely to hold a hearing on the Preah Vihear temple issue in a matter of weeks, an official there told VOA Khmer Tuesday.

Cambodia has petitioned the court to re-interpret a 1962 decision that gave Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia but left both Thailand and Cambodia claiming adjacent land.

Cambodia hopes a hearing will clarify the decision, which officials here say should include the land. Both sides claim a 4.6-kilometer stretch of land near the temple.

The disputed land has been at the center of a military standoff since 2008 that has killed dozens of people in a series of skirmishes over the years, including the deadliest clashes over the last week and a half. At least 18 have died in fighting that began April 22.

On April 28, Cambodia filed a request to the international court to clarify its 1962 decision, requesting “urgent” action to protect Preah Vihear temple, as Cambodian and Thai troops exchanged rocket and artillery fire along the border.

Biris Heim, a spokesman for the International Court of Justice, said the court will now “fix a date with all parties” so that they can appear before the court with arguments.

“It will be an oral hearing, and it can be between a few days and a few weeks,” he said.

Both Cambodia and Thailand have been notified of the case, he said, but the court will not send investigators to the field.

“Parties will provide evidence,” he said. “The court can only make an interpretation by hearing from both sides.”

Thailand, meanwhile, has begun preparing a group of experts to respond to the court, according to Thai media.

Request for interpretation of the Judgment rendered by the Court on 15 June 1962 in the case concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand)

Cambodia files an Application requesting interpretation of the Judgment rendered by the Court on 15 June 1962 in the case concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand) and also asks for the urgent indication of provisional measures

THE HAGUE, 2 May 2011. On 28 April, the Kingdom of Cambodia filed an Application requesting interpretation of the Judgment rendered on 15 June 1962 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand). The filing of such an application gives rise to the opening of a new case. Together with that Application, Cambodia submitted an urgent request for the indication of provisional measures. The latter opens incidental proceedings within the new case.
Request for interpretation

In support of its Request for interpretation, Cambodia invokes Article 60 of the Statute of the Court, which provides: “In the event of dispute as to the meaning or scope of the judgment, the Court shall construe it upon the request of any party.” It also invokes Article 98 of the Rules of Court.

In its Application, Cambodia indicates the “points in dispute as to the meaning or scope of the Judgment”, as stipulated by Article 98 of the Rules of Court. It states in particular that:

“(1) according to Cambodia, the Judgment [rendered by the Court in 1962] is based on the prior existence of an international boundary established and recognized by both States;

(2) according to Cambodia, that boundary is defined by the map to which the Court refers on page 21 of its Judgment …, a map which enables the Court to find that Cambodia’s sovereignty over the Temple is a direct and automatic consequence of its sovereignty over the territory on which the Temple is situated …;

(3) according to the Judgment, Thailand is under an obligation to withdraw any military or other personnel from the vicinity of the Temple on Cambodian territory. Cambodia believes that this is a general and continuing obligation deriving from the statements concerning Cambodia’s territorial sovereignty recognized by the Court in that region.”

Cambodia asserts that “Thailand disagrees with all of these points.”

In regard to the Court’s jurisdiction, the Applicant relies on Article 60 of the Statute of the Court, as cited above. Cambodia states inter alia that, in its view, “[a]s long as the dispute remains a matter of interpretation regarding the meaning and scope of the Judgment, the consent of the opposing Party is consubstantial with the initial consent given to the Court’s jurisdiction to settle the dispute in the present proceedings, as was established by [the initial Judgment rendered by the Court on its jurisdiction in] 1961.”

The Applicant explains that, while “Thailand does not dispute Cambodia’s sovereignty over the Temple — and only over the Temple itself”, on the other hand, it calls into question the 1962 Judgment in its entirety.
Cambodia contends that “in 1962, the Court placed the Temple under Cambodian sovereignty, because the territory on which it is situated is on the Cambodian side of the boundary”, and that “[t]o refuse Cambodia’s sovereignty over the area beyond the Temple as far as its ‘vicinity’ is to say to the Court that the boundary line which it recognized [in 1962] is wholly erroneous, including in respect of the Temple itself”.

Cambodia emphasizes that the purpose of its Request is to seek an explanation from the Court regarding the “meaning and … scope of its Judgment, within the limit laid down by Article 60 of the Statute”. It adds that such an explanation, “which would be binding on Cambodia and Thailand, … could then serve as a basis for a final resolution of this dispute through negotiation or any other peaceful means”.

Regarding the facts underlying its Application, Cambodia recalls that it instituted proceedings against Thailand in 1959, and that certain problems arose after the Court had given Judgment on the merits in 1962. It goes on to describe the more recent events which directly motivated the present Application (failure of endeavours aimed at achieving agreement between the two States on a joint interpretation of the 1962 Judgment; deterioration in relations following “discussions within UNESCO to have the Temple declared a World Heritage Site”; armed incidents between the two States in April 2011).

At the close of its Application, Cambodia asks the Court to adjudge and declare that

“The obligation incumbent upon Thailand to ‘withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity on Cambodian territory’ (point 2 of the operative clause [of the Judgment rendered by the Court in 1962]) is a particular consequence of the general and continuing obligation to respect the integrity of the territory of Cambodia, that territory having been delimited in the area of the Temple and its vicinity by the line on the map [referred to on page 21 of the Judgment], on which [the latter] is based.”

Request for the indication of provisional measures

On the same day, Cambodia also filed a request for the urgent indication of provisional measures, pursuant to Article 41 of the Statute. That Article provides that “[t]he Court shall have the power to indicate, if it considers that circumstances so require, any provisional measures which ought to be taken to preserve the respective rights of either party”.

The Applicant explains that “[s]ince 22 April 2011, serious incidents have occurred in the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear, …as well as at several locations along that boundary between the two States, causing fatalities, injuries and the evacuation of local inhabitants”.

Cambodia states that

“[s]erious armed incidents are continuing at the time of filing of the present request, for which Thailand is entirely responsible. Cambodia accordingly asks the Court to indicate such provisional measures as may be required pursuant to Article 41 of the Statute and Article 73 of the Rules of Court.”

According to the Applicant,

“[m]easures are urgently required, both to safeguard the rights of Cambodia pending the Court’s decision ⎯ rights relating to its sovereignty, its territorial integrity and to the duty of non-interference incumbent upon Thailand ⎯ and to avoid aggravation of the dispute”.

Cambodia further explains that,
“in the unfortunate event that its request were to be rejected, and if Thailand persisted in its conduct, the damage to the Temple of Preah Vihear, as well as irremediable losses of life and human suffering as a result of these armed clashes, would become worse”.

In conclusion, Cambodia
“respectfully requests the Court to indicate the following provisional measures, pending the delivery of its judgment:

⎯ an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Thai forces from those parts of Cambodian territory situated in the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear;

⎯ a ban on all military activity by Thailand in the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear;

⎯ that Thailand refrain from any act or action which could interfere with the rights of Cambodia or aggravate the dispute in the principal proceedings”.

Furthermore, “[b]ecause of the gravity of the situation, and for the reasons expressed above, Cambodia respectfully requests the Court to indicate these measures as a matter of urgency, and to fix a date as soon as possible for the subsequent proceedings”.


The text of Cambodia’s Application requesting interpretation, as well as its request for the indication of provisional measures, will be available shortly on the Court’s website (, under “Cases”. The Statute and the Rules of Court can be found under “Basic Documents”.

All the documents in the contentious proceedings relating to the case concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand), instituted in 1959 and concluded in 1962, are available on the Court’s website (, under “Cases”. Go to “Contentious cases”, then select 1959 (date of introduction) or 1962 (date of culmination). A detailed summary of the Judgment rendered by the Court in 1962 can be found at:

Information Department:
Mr. Andrey Poskakukhin, First Secretary of the Court, Head of Department (+31 (0)70 302 2336)
Mr. Boris Heim, Information Officer (+31 (0)70 302 2337)
Ms Joanne Moore, Associate Information Officer (+31 (0)70 302 2394)
Ms Genoveva Madurga, Administrative Assistant (+31 (0)70 302 2396

RFA Khmer Webcast-KHM-050211-M

Cambodia says Thailand shot 50,000 shells in clash

via CAAI

Associated Press

Cambodia's prime minister says Thailand fired more than 50,000 artillery and mortar shells in more than a week of border clashes.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday some shells that landed in Oddar Meanchey province have not exploded and must be disarmed before civilians return to evacuated areas. Thai comment on his claims was not immediately available.

The fighting that started April 22 has quieted in recent days. But Thailand's state broadcaster MCOT reported a Thai soldier was killed Monday night, bringing the death toll to one Thai civilian and a total of 17 soldiers from both sides.

Asean optimism on Thai-Cambodian row

via CAAI

Published: 3/05/2011 
Online news: Local News

Indonesia has remained positive that Thailand and Cambodia would resume its dialogue, either by themselves or with its presence, said its foreign minister at the sidelines of the Asean Civil Society Conference and the Asean People’s Forum.

The Asean chairman, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, told Bangkok Post that he has been having good communications with both Thai and Cambodian sides.

Mr Marty has faced recent embarrassment as the Indonesia-brokered border meeting between the two conflicting parties due to the Thai cancellation to show up at the General Border Committee and strong opposition to the term of reference for the deployment of Indonesian observers to the disputed areas.

"I’m not pessimistic about the conclusion of the TOR (despite the military pull-out) as I’ve tried to deal with the Thai government," said the Indonesian foreign minister.

Asked if he believed there were unified voices among the Thai officials, he smiled and responded that the Thai media should know more than him.

Mr Marty said he looked forward to taking advantage of the Asean summit to have communications with the Thai and Cambodian counterparts.

"There'll be a possibility for the two sides’ meeting but whether they need a trilateral among us (still unknown)," he said.

Diplomatic sources noted that the high global status of Indonesia has been recently tested as the U.S. has been publicly backing up India’s role in global peace-building and security-making, the area where Indonesia has been pitching itself globally.

The stalled Jakarta-chaired Thai-Cambodian dialogue has caused further blow to Indonesia stature, "Indonesia has succeeded initially in getting Asean face into the supportive efforts to resolve bilateral conflicts in February and alter on in hosting the Thai-Cambodian joint boundary committee," diplomatic sources said.

However, Cambodia’s last week move to petition to the UN Security Council and to the International Court of Justice to intervene on the bilateral conflict has bypassed and undermined further role of Asean, and particularly Indonesia, in this protracted border conflicts, sources said.

Diplomats predicted that foreign ministers of the two sides would rather talk while Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen might want to meet the future leader after the forthcoming election.

Meanwhile Ngin Saorath, executive director, Cambodian Disabled Peoples’ Organisation, said it was disappointment that border clashes still continued onto its second week.

"I grew up during the Pol Pot regime, We were fed up with wars, there should be no further war, either internally or with neighbours," said the 40-year-old disabled Saorath, a native of Ta Kaew province.

However, he did not believe the Thai border conflicts would give an edge to the Hun Sen administration, "After all, Prime Minister Hun Sen has already in power for a long uninterrupted period. He has already a good grip of power, so no need to wage war to strengthen his status," said Mr Saorath.

He said whenever the border erupted, it was the people alongside the border in sufferings, "The governments should think more about how to free people from hunger and from want," said the Phnom Penh-based activist.

Cambodia marks 148th anniversary of International Red Cross Day

via CAAI

PHNOM PENH, May 03, 2011 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Approximately 10,000 people gathered here on Tuesday to commemorate the 148th anniversary of the World Red Cross - Red Crescent Day which falls on May 8.

The celebration under the theme "volunteering-humanitarian effectiveness" was presided over by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, with the participation from Jacques Stroun, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross's regional delegation, and Anne Leclerc, head of Southeast Asia Regional Delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Anne Leclerc said that currently one out of 2,000 people is the volunteer for the Red Cross or Red Crescent.

"It means that almost all of the communities in the world have Red Cross or Red Crescent volunteers," she said, adding that in total, the Red Cross or Red Crescent have more than 13 million volunteers to assist about 150 million people around the world who are in needs of help every year.

Meanwhile, Hun Sen said that the annual event was held in order to mobilize funds from national and foreign donors to support humanitarian activities of the Cambodian Red Cross.

"Your donations reflect the will, determination and concerted effort in promoting socio-economic development, in particular for the cause of humanity through providing relief assistance to our people during hardship and natural catastrophes," he said.

During the celebration, the Cambodian Red Cross had received a total donation of 8.6 million U.S. dollars from generous people including government officials, members of parliament and senate, foreign diplomats, especially local and foreign companies doing business in Cambodia. Chinese embassy donated 10,000 U.S. dollars to support the activities of Cambodian Red Cross.

"Your support is a gracious contribution to assisting victims of all kinds of disasters and to the poverty reduction efforts of Cambodian government," said the premier's wife Bun Rany, president of Cambodian Red Cross.

Cambodia seeks UN court ruling on Thai border row

Troops from both sides have been camped out along the border for several days

via CAAI

3 May 2011

Another Thai soldier has died in border clashes with Cambodian troops, as Cambodia petitioned the UN's highest court to clarify a judgement at the heart of the dispute.

The Thai soldier became the 18th casualty of 12 days of fighting.

On Monday displaced villagers began returning home as clashes eased, but shooting continued through the night.

Cambodia wants the International Court of Justice to explain its ruling on ownership of a hilltop temple.

In 1962, the court awarded ownership of the temple of Preah Vihear to Cambodia based on a map drawn at the turn of the century. Thailand does not contest ownership of the temple but claims the surrounding area.

The recent fighting has for the most part taken place at two other temples some 150km (90 miles) from Preah Vihear.

But it remains the most prominent symbol of the dispute and a focus of nationalist sentiment on both sides.

'Matter of urgency'

In its submission to the court, Cambodia asked it to clarify the meaning and scope of its judgement concerning the temple of Preah Vihear.

Such an explanation could "serve as a basis for a final resolution of this dispute", it was quoted as saying in a statement posted on the ICJ website.

It asked the court to act "as a matter of urgency" because of the gravity of the situation.

The row has been festering between Thailand and Cambodia since Unesco awarded the temple World Heritage Status in 2008.

The latest fighting flared on 22 April around the temples of Ta Moan and Ta Krabey, which lie in jungle areas that both claim.

A ceasefire was agreed on 28 April but fighting has continued - although officials say exchanges of fire have lessened somewhat.

"Even though clashes continued, it has become less intense and the use of heavy weapons has stopped," said Thai army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

"Army representatives on both sides will meet twice a day to reduce tension and restore goodwill on the ground."

Cambodia receives 778,467 int'l tourists in Q1, up 14%

via CAAI

PHNOM PENH, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Foreign visitors to Cambodia increased by an on-year 14 percent to 778,467 in the first quarter of this year, according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism on Tuesday.

Of the figure, 55 percent traveled to Cambodia by air and the rest by land and water.

Among the top 10 tourist sources, Vietnamese rated first with 130,831, up 19 percent, South Korea second with 107,489, up 28 percent, and China third with 66,836, up 36 percent.

However, the report also showed that Thai tourists to Cambodia had declined up to 34 percent to 26,824 due to the border dispute between the two countries.

Tourism industry is one of the main four pillars supporting Cambodian economy. In 2010, the sector received 2.5 million foreign tourists generating a total revenue of 1.75 billion US dollars.

Editor: Mo Hong'e

One Thai soldier killed as border clash persists

via CAAI

BANGKOK, May 3 (Xinhua) -- One Thai soldier was killed and three others injured in overnight clash with Cambodian troops near Ta Kwai temple on disputed border between Thailand's northeastern Surin province and Cambodia.

According to Army Region 2, the cross-border clash began at 8 p. m. Monday night after mortars were fired at a Thai military base, triggering proportionate retaliation from Thai side. Small arms, mortars and hand grenades were used by both sides in the conflict but no heavy weapons were used.

Sporadic gunfire exchanges continued till 2.30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The deadly border conflict since April 22 has brought the death toll to 18 including nine Cambodian soldiers, eight Thai soldiers and one Thai civilian.

Villagers who had just returned to their homes on Monday ran for their lives to shelter.

The clash occurred despite a ceasefire agreement reached between field commanders of both countries.

Over 100,000 residents in the two countries were displaced following the latest round of border clash.

Editor: Wang Guanqun

Cambodia takes dispute with Thailand to UN court

via CAAI

  • THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Cambodia has asked the United Nations' highest court to order Thailand to withdraw troops and halt military activity around a temple at the center of a decades-old border dispute that has flared into deadly military clashes.

    Fighting in recent weeks along the disputed border region surrounding the Preah Vihear temple has left at least 16 people dead.

    In a request filed April 28 and made available Tuesday on the court's website, Cambodia asks International Court of Justice judges to urgently deal with its request "because of the gravity of the situation."

    Cambodia claims that according to a 1962 ruling by the court the temple on its territory.

    Thai-Cambodia border toll reaches 18

    Thai nurses treat a wounded soldier inside a helicopter on the arrival at the compound of a hospital in Surin province, northeastern Thailand, Saturday, April 30, 2011. -- PHOTO: AP
    via CAAI
    May 3, 2011

    BANGKOK - A THAI soldier was killed in fresh fighting with Cambodian troops, the army said on Tuesday, raising the death toll from the worst border clashes in decades to 18, despite some signs of easing tensions.

    Three more Thai troops were wounded in the skirmishes late on Monday and early Tuesday, said Colonel Sukit Subanjui, a Thai army spokesman in the north-east border region.

    'Both rounds of fighting involved assault rifles and mortars,' he said.

    Despite the continued sporadic clashes, the situation had improved enough on Monday for many of the 85,000 civilians who had sought refuge in temporary camps or temples on both sides to return home, authorities said.

    Eight Thai troops and nine Cambodian soldiers have died since April 22 in the conflict around two disputed temples on the border. Bangkok has said a Thai civilian was also killed and some homes were damaged on both sides.

    An attempted truce announced on Thursday after military-level negotiations proved short-lived, but the fighting has since become less intense and appears to be confined to a smaller area away from civilian populations. --  AFP

    Cambodia construction approvals double in first quarter

    via CAAI

    May 03, 2011

    Phnom Penh's Diamond Island development recently had a new phase approved.

    Construction projects approved by the Cambodia government more than doubled in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last year, according to figures from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction.

    Projects worth US$324 million were greenlit in the first three months of the year, The Phnom Penh Post reported, compared to US$159 of projects in Q1 2010.

    The increase in approvales was due to the ministry’s efforts to make the property industry run smoother, Department of Construction Director Lao Tip Seiha said. “In three months of this year, we saw an increase in construction investors coming to ask for licenses,” he said, adding the same period last year had been “so quiet”.

    Lao Tip Seiha said a number of large developments were approved, including a Koh Kong province hydropower plant, garment and textile factories, hotels and gas stations. He also pointed to large several housing developments receiving approval during the period, including a New World project consisting of 1,440 houses in Sen Sok district, a 320-house Camko City project in Russey Keo district, and another phase of development on Diamond Island.

    “We are very happy to see value construction increase and we hope that it will continue increasing for the first half of this year,” Lao Tip Seiha said. “We had fewer projects than last year, but we received a lot of requests for large-size construction developments.


Industry insiders said their businesses had also seen large growth in the beginning of the year, though some claimed the size of the increase had been unexpected.

    Cambodia Properties Limited Managing Director Cheng Kheng said that foreign investors were returning to invest in Cambodia.

    “Transactions of large property developments are improving in the outskirt areas [of Phnom Penh],” he said, calling the increase a “surprise”.

    “My business is running much better. It has increased 100 percent in the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year,” he said.

    CPL claims to have closed deals with investors from Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and in particular, South Korea.

    CB Richard Ellis Cambodia Country Manager Daniel Parkes said that 2010 probably represented the property market’s bottom, adding the large increase in the first quarter was partly attributable to the drop in the previous year.

    “Certainly, as an indication of general market activity, we have seen an up-tick and despite challenges to the global economy Cambodia has potential for sustained growth,” he wrote. “We have seen more investment in public sector projects, and the private sector will follow where the government leads in terms of intelligent investment in infrastructure and public works projects.”

    Some experts expressed caution against placing too much stock in approval figures. 

Leopard Capital Managing Director Douglas Clayton said yesterday that planning permissions were only a crude indication of property trends, and not as convincing as construction activity, unit sales or occupancy rates.

 “I think the property market remains fairly subdued in Phnom Penh,” he said.

    Previous figures from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction showed that 2,149 construction projects worth a combined US$840 million were approved during 2010. That compared to 2,230 projects worth US$1.988 billion approved back in 2009.