Monk to use court platform

November 25th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

An activist monk set to face trial today on widely disputed charges of incitement alongside a so-called “terrorist” leader vowed yesterday to use the hearing to preach to the judiciary. …

In a statement released Sunday, 16 NGOs called for authorities to drop the charges against Sovath, adding that, “disconcertingly”, confusion in the court summons made it unclear whether Sovath, too, will be tried for treason and election interference. …

May Titthara
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/monk-use-court-platform

‘Cyber War Team’ to monitor web

November 20th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit has created a “Cyber War Team” to monitor and collect information from Facebook and other websites in order to “protect the government’s stance and prestige,” according to a proclamation published in the Royal Gazette.

The document, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and published on October 15, says that the Cyber War Team (CWT) will monitor and diffuse information from “websites, Facebook, Twitter, Google-plus, blogs, YouTube and other media outlets.” …

Matt Blomberg and Kuch Naren
http://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/cyber-war-team-to-monitor-web-72677/

Cambodia ranks 14th in prevalence of ‘slavery': index

November 19th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

More than 155,000 people in Cambodia are living as modern “slaves”, according to a global index released this week.

The Global Slavery Index 2014, released on Monday by Australia-based NGO Walk Free Foundation (WFF), ranks Cambodia 14th out of 167 countries for the prevalence of slavery, with an estimated 155,800 people enslaved, or 1.03 per cent of the population.

The report defines slaves as people subject to forced labour, debt bondage, trafficking, sexual exploitation for money and forced or servile marriage. …

Alice Cuddy
http://phnompenhpost.com/national/cambodia-ranks-14th-prevalence-%E2%80%98slavery-index

Government defends series of recent arrests

November 17th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

In the face of growing criticism over the arrests of 15 activists and opposition figures last week, the government has released a statement defending their detention and emphasizing its commitment to “fighting impunity.”

“The Royal Government of Cambodia refutes and condemns all words and any individual, group or institution that has accused and exaggerated and put the blame on [it]…without real grounds, which has caused the public to misunderstand [and think] that the government is putting pressure on the CNRP,” the statement said. …

Mech Dara
http://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/government-defends-series-of-recent-arrests-72422/

Chhay aims to purge Nat’l Assembly of ‘ghosts’

October 23rd, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Senior opposition lawmaker Son Chhay has formally requested that the entire staff list of the National Assembly’s more than 1,000-strong secretariat be turned over to him for investigation as part of a bid to root out “ghost” workers and nepotistic appointments.

As part of his one-man crusade to clean up parliament, Chhay has also accused a senior secretariat official of appointing more than 20 members of his own family to paid positions on assembly staff and asked for a probe.

In a letter sent Tuesday to assembly Secretary-General Leng Peng Long, Chhay, who also serves as deputy head of the parliamentary Commission on Economics, Finance, Banking and Auditing, says that he has received information that Mith Karen, a deputy secretary-general, used his influence to appoint family members to a slew of positions. …

Pech Sotheary and Kevin Ponniah
http://phnompenhpost.com/national/chhay-aims-purge-natl-assembly-%E2%80%98ghosts%E2%80%99

Input floated on traffic law

October 21st, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A coalition of NGOs are to submit to the National Assembly today a list of recommended additions to the amended traffic law, a draft of which was approved by the Council of Ministers in August.

Road safety advocates hope the amended law, which creates higher fines for drunken driving and mandates that passengers on motorbikes wear helmets, among other measures, will help lower the rate of deaths from traffic accidents from an average of five a day. …

Phak Seangly
http://phnompenhpost.com/national/input-floated-traffic-law

Cybercrime law’s status uncertain

October 20th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A Ministry of Commerce official said in a speech last week that the controversial draft cybercrime law was almost ready to appear before the National Assembly, though another government official dismissed this yesterday.

At a conference on cybersecurity attended by representatives of the public and private sector, including corporate officers from Microsoft, Commerce Ministry Secretary of State Pan Sorasak said the draft law was nearing the final hurdle before being implemented. …

Sean Teehan
http://phnompenhpost.com/national/cybercrime-law%E2%80%99s-status-uncertain

Land concessions cancelled

October 17th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

The government has seized back more than 12,000 hectares of land previously awarded to seven companies as economic land concessions (ELCs), according to a letter from the Council of Ministers. …

It explains that licences awarded from 2006 to 2011 for eight ELCs in the provinces would be revoked and the land put under the ownership of the Environment Ministry. …

Phak Seangly
http://phnompenhpost.com/national/land-concessions-cancelled

Cambodia’s elderly receive inadequate support

October 2nd, 2014 , UCA News

For 70-year-old Chan Shay, the choice between working through old age and a retirement in poverty is an obvious one.

Shay, a cyclo taxi driver in Phnom Penh, said that while he dreams of retiring to his home in Takeo province, in reality he can see no future outside of work. …

With just five percent of the elderly population estimated to receive a formal pension, compared to a global average of 66 percent, the report calls for “expansion of pension coverage for all older people aged 65 years and above”. …

Opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua, whose party campaigned last year on a platform of offering a US$10 monthly pension payment to individuals over the age of 65, said the policy needs to change. …

Alice Cuddy and Khouth Sophak Chakrya
http://www.ucanews.com/news/cambodias-elderly-receive-inadequate-support/72092

Gov’t releases data on timber baron’s deal

September 19th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Tycoon Try Pheap has collected an estimated 1,500 cubic metres of timber from Forestry Administration offices since the government in July issued his companies permission to confiscate “waste wood” from their offices and from the Ministry of Environment, according to preliminary government figures obtained by the Post yesterday.

An unknown amount of wood held at facilities run by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Environment was given to Pheap’s MDS Import Export Company and MDS Thmodar SEZ Company in a letter from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet on July 24. …

Daniel Pye
http://phnompenhpost.com/national/gov%E2%80%99t-releases-data-timber-baron%E2%80%99s-deal

Draft law puts high price on drunk driving

August 16th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Drunk drivers could be fined $1000 under a new draft traffic law approved yesterday by The Council of Ministers. The legislation includes a raft of measures aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries on the roads.

Among the draft law’s 92 articles are new fines for motorcycle passengers who ride without a helmet and increased penalties for speeding, driving without a licence and riding a motorbike without a helmet. …

Cheang Sokha
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/post-weekend/draft-law-puts-high-price-drunk-driving

Kandal property bought up before bridge announcement

August 16th, 2014

Property investors with inside information may have bought up land across the Mekong River in Kandal province before the announcement of new bridges, a real estate agent claims.

Land in areas like Akrei Khsatr commune in Kandal’s Lvea Em district is set to become more valuable after this week’s announcement that the government has approved construction of two new bridges from the Chroy Changvar peninsula and Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district. Access currently is only by ferry. …

Siv Meng and Vandy Muong
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/post-weekend/kandal-property-bought-bridge-announcement

Government approves new traffic law

August 16th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Council of Ministers on Friday approved a new draft traffic law aimed at improving the safety of Cambodia’s notoriously dangerous roads, with only legislative approval standing in the way of the bill being passed into law.

The draft law, which includes changes to 64 articles, the addition of 15 new articles and removal of 18, will be sent to the National Assembly “as soon as possible,” according to Chhuon Vuon, vice secretary general of the National Road Safety Committee. …

Khuon Narim
http://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/government-approves-new-traffic-law-66675/

Gov’t lifts farming ban on K Thom floodplains

August 8th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

The Council of Ministers has granted farmers in Kompong Thom province permission to start farming on the floodplains of the Tonle Sap lake in an area previously off limits and home to flooded forests that provide a critical fish breeding habitat.

The Council of Ministers’ notice, dated July 22, lets locals farm inside the province’s portion of a ring that runs around the entire Tonle Sap and is known as Zone Three, where all farming and other development is otherwise strictly prohibited. Despite the ban, people still farm the fertile land and build reservoirs in the dry season, according to authorities, leading to numerous arrests. …

Khy Sovuthy
http://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/govt-lifts-farming-ban-on-k-thom-floodplains-66008/

Cracking down 101

August 1st, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A deal to end the political deadlock may reduce demonstrations in the streets, but the authorities are leaving nothing to chance – Daun Penh’s notorious district security guards are finally receiving proper government training.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche, who has previously said the baton-wielding district security guards – regularly behind the violent beatings of protesters in the post-election period – lack government security training, said yesterday that they are set to take part in an upcoming Ministry of Interior training scheme. …

Daniel Pye and Alice Cuddy
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/cracking-down-101