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

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

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

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

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

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

Rights group slams Cambodian government over land dispute death

July 31st, 2014 , Radio Free Asia

Try Chamroeun, a 19-year-old student, was planting soybeans on Sunday along with fellow villagers on a two-hectare (half-acre) plot in Preah Vihear province, when soldier Poeun Tash demanded that he stop, claiming the land belonged to his military boss, according to London-based environmental advocacy group Global Witness.

When villagers, who had been using the land for the last three years, argued with him, Poeun Tash opened fire on the group, hitting Try Chamroeun in the arm and chest, and killing him. …

Chan Saveth, deputy chief of local rights group Adhoc, told RFA’s Khmer Service that shooting deaths related to land disputes had created a climate of fear in Cambodia, which is experiencing a land grabbing crisis, and called on the government to “fully enforce the law.” …

Joshua Lipes

Opposition to form ‘shadow cabinet’ in parliament

July 25th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

A “shadow cabinet” will be created inside the National Assembly once the CNRP’s lawmakers-elect swear into office, senior opposition party officials said Thursday, in a move that nine years ago saw an opposition lawmaker imprisoned on charges of inciting a rebellion.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy forged a deal on Tuesday for the CNRP to enter the National Assembly after the party’s 10-month boycott of its 55 parliamentary seats over accusations that the July 2013 national election was rigged.

Several CPP officials said earlier this week that they believed the swearing-in would take place today but CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Thursday that details remained to be worked out over how a new election commission will be encoded in the Constitution. …

Alex Willemyns and Kuch Naren

Most guards ‘over worst’

July 18th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A day after the government issued a statement saying that 22 of the Daun Penh district security guards beaten by opposition protesters on Tuesday were in “critical condition”, officials yesterday told the Post that most of them are now well on the way to recovery.

Daun Penh district governor Kouch Chamroeun said that while the “22 are still hospitalised … most of them feel better”. …

Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Alice Cuddy

UN rights expert appeals for calm amid violence in Cambodia

July 16th, 2014 , Shanghai Daily

United Nations rights envoy for Cambodia Surya Subedi on Wednesday urged all sides to immediately exercise utmost calm and restraint in the wake of alarming reports of violence following opposition protests in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

“Democracy depends on respect, not violence,” he said in a statement released by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Office to Cambodia. “I call in the strongest possible terms for all sides to exercise restraint.”

The envoy’s call came after a Tuesday protest, led by leaders of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) near the capital’s Freedom Park, turned violent, resulting in more than 40 persons injured, mostly security guards. …



Shanghai Daily News Staff

Cities, provinces ordered to report on illegal logging, fishing

July 7th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

In yet another attempt to stem the looting of Cambodia’s forests, lakes and rivers, the Interior Ministry has given all cities and provinces until July 20 to submit detailed reports on all the illegal logging and fishing taking place in their jurisdictions.

The latest initiative comes by way of a July 4 letter signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, following up on a Council of Ministers letter from April that called on all levels of government to preserve the country’s fisheries and protected forests.

Mr. Kheng’s letter calls on the cities and provinces “to report to the government about their measures to protect forests, fisheries and protected areas” by July 20. …

Mech Dara

Cambodia’s Defense of Rights Record at UN Review Slammed

July 2nd, 2014 , Radio Free Asia

Foreign donors should push Cambodia’s government to end its human rights abuses as part of its bid to maintain political control of the nation, a rights group said Wednesday, after Phnom Penh allegedly snubbed recommendations by foreign governments to improve the country’s rights record.

Representatives of foreign governments proposed several areas of improvement for Cambodia during the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session on June 26 at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva—a rights review mechanism through which all U.N. member states are examined every four years.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said that Cambodia “brushed aside calls … to reverse its crackdown on human rights and reform its abusive policies and practices.” …

Human Rights Watch said that Cambodia had merely “noted” that it had received recommendations addressing rights violations at the UPR session, and “deflected” calls to end the suspension of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and actions to ensure media and Internet freedom. …

Joshua Lipes

Citizen-led media gets new blog

June 30th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

In a bid to highlight abuses in the workplace, an NGO today will officially launch a website and hotline, allowing people to post stories as citizen journalists.

The Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) will hold a ceremony this morning promoting their new project, Voice of the People, which can be found at, Ngeth Moses, a CLEC information communication technology project coordinator said yesterday. …

Sean Teehan

Nine karaoke parlors closed after clash

June 24th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Nine karaoke parlors in Pur Senchey district were closed indefinitely Monday after an early morning clash between employees of the clubs, district governor Hem Darith said.

Mr. Darith said a large group of men working for the different clubs got into a violent scuffle using rocks, clubs and knives just after 2 a.m. …

In May, the Council of Ministers passed a sub-decree on the management of adult entertainment clubs, banning new establishments from setting up shop within 200 meters of schools, pagodas, embassies or government institutions.

Hay Pisey

Illegal workers arrested, face Thai court

June 21st, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Thai authorities have arrested and are preparing to try 13 Cambodian migrant workers who were allegedly caught with fake stamps on their work papers as they tried to return home, Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong confirmed on Friday.

The government also announced a plan to subsidize the cost of passports for would-be migrant workers and students, meaning the documents will now cost only $4 instead of the usual $124.

The arrested workers are just some of more than 200,000 Cambodians—many of them undocumented or illegal laborers—who have fled Thailand since a military junta came to power last month, sparking fears of violence and arrests. To date, at least 225,000 workers have crossed back into Cambodia, according to officials. …

Khy Sovuthy and Lauren Crothers

Villagers Claim Soldiers Hired to Prevent Planting

June 14th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Villagers in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor district said Friday that Union Development Group (UDG) used military forces to prevent villagers from planting paddy rice on land that is locked in a longstanding dispute, a claim the military denied.

Khun Thala, a 40-year-old villager, said Friday that the Chinese firm employed soldiers to guard the land and block villagers. …

Brigadier General Yon Min, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander in Koh Kong province, said he hadn’t heard of the villagers’ allegations but admitted that soldiers had been sent to protect the company’s projects. …

Khuon Narim

Gov’t says female officers wanted at protests

June 9th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Council of Ministers secretary of state Keo Remy wants to see female police officers controlling female protesters at future demonstrations, he said at a press conference on Friday.

Mr. Remy said female protesters have adopted a new “style” of demonstration under the direction of NGOs who he said are in the business of supporting protests. …

Mech Dara