‘Press pause’ on border

June 17th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Opposition lawmakers said they will demand that Prime Minister Hun Sen halt ongoing efforts to demarcate Cambodia’s border with Vietnam until after the 2018 election to guarantee a consensus on the controversial boundary. This came as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday again moved to reinforce its stance against Vietnamese encroachment.

News of the request also came as authorities confirmed a local border police chief in Ratanakkiri province’s O’Yadav district had been removed for allowing the Vietnamese to build at least nine irrigation ponds inside the yet-to-be delineated “white” zone near Pak Nhai commune’s Lom village. …

Meas Sokchea and Phak Seangly

Official defends imprisonment of activists to visiting US envoy

January 28th, 2015 , The Cambodia Daily

A secretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Tuesday defended the government’s widely criticized imprisonment of 11 activists and an opposition official during a closed-door meeting with a visiting U.S. diplomat.

Daniel Russel, an assistant secretary of state at the U.S. government’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, visited Cambodia on Tuesday and met with Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary of State Ouch Borith. …

Mr. Borith told reporters that police were justified in arresting the activists because they had been affecting public order. …

Mr. Borith also defended the imprisonment of CNRP official Meach Sovannara, who was also arrested in November over his role in a violent clash that erupted during a protest on July 15 that left a number of district security guards with injuries. …

Khuon Narim

Dozens of maids still missing in Malaysia, rights group says

January 28th, 2015 , The Cambodia Daily

Rights group Adhoc on Tuesday urged the government to work harder to help Cambodian domestic workers still suffering abuse from their employers in Malaysia or from the Cambodian recruitment agencies that sent them there, including 63 women the organization says have effectively disappeared.

At a press conference in Phnom Penh, Adhoc said 122 women in Malaysia were either missing, unreachable by relatives, working under forced contract extensions, or had unresolved claims of unpaid wages or physical abuse— even as the government prepares to send more. …

On Tuesday, Adhoc president Thun Saray said the Cambodian government was not doing enough to help the women it has already sent. …

Of the 122 women deemed victims of abuse, Adhoc said that relatives in Cambodia have been unable to contact 29 of them for the past several months. Another 63 have not been reachable for at least a year and are considered to have effectively disappeared, the rights group said. …

Aun Pheap

Thais ‘admit’ to burn deaths

January 12th, 2015 , The Phnom Penh Post

Thai soldiers admitted to burning alive two men last week who may have been undocumented Cambodians, Battambang military officials said yesterday.

Cambodian officers said their Thai counterparts informed them that on the night of January 7, four Cambodians illegally crossed the border with intentions of evading taxes on a smuggled motorbike. …

“Officials of the Cambodian Embassy are now cooperating with the Thai authorities to examine the bodies. We … and Thai [authorities] will identify the nationality of the bodies and find the victim’s families since Thailand is claiming those bodies could belong to Thai people too,” said Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. …

Taing Vida

Cambodia manages the recovery of its heritage in Thailand

December 16th, 2014 , Prensa Latina

Cambodia is managing here today the recovery of missing ancient heritage objects that might be in a cache of relics confiscated from a Thai general arrested for various offenses.

About a thousand objects of different types were taken a month ago from the high officer in disgrace, Pongpat Chayaphan, on charges of high treason, corruption, misconduct, smuggling, and association with criminals. …

Prensa Latina News Staff

Cambodia wants to inspect 50 seized artefacts

December 15th, 2014 , The Nation

Cambodia is seeking access to the scores of artefacts seized from disgraced former crime-buster Lt-General Pongpat Chayaphan to determine if any of them belong to it, diplomatic sources said yesterday.

Bowornwej Rungrujee, director-general of the Fine Arts Department, early this month offered to send back some of the 50 artefacts worth more than Bt50 million found in the treasure trove hidden by Pongpat to their countries of origin.

The Cambodian foreign ministry has instructed its embassy in Bangkok to seek permission from Thai authorities to view and photograph those objects, which may been taken out of the country legally or illegally. …

Supalak Ganjanakhundee

Protest still on: youth leader

December 5th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Ignoring objections and even vague threats made by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Cambodian activists in South Korea plan to stage a protest on Sunday ahead of a five-day summit Prime Minister Hun Sen is scheduled to attend on December 10.

Around 1,500 opposition supporters intend to rally in Seoul and sign a petition demanding jailed Cambodia National Rescue Party member Meach Sovannara’s immediate release, according to an organiser. …

“[Sovannara] created our youth group in Korea, so the Cambodian workers in Korea consider him a hero,” said Yim Sinorn, president of the CNRP-aligned Youth Movement. …

Laignee Barron

Cambodia eyes ties with Organization of Islamic Cooperation: FM

November 25th, 2014 , Xinhuanet News

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Tuesday that the Southeast Asian nation is willing to create relations with the 57-country Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). …

Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said he was unsure if Cambodia eyed a status of an observer state or a member state at the OIC since it was the first talk on the matter. …

Xinhuanet News Staff

GMAC claims on true wages ‘exaggerated’

November 21st, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said in a statement this week that under the new minimum wage workers can actually earn up to $250 per month, though others were quick to label the figure exaggerated.

The Ministry of Labour last week approved the new wage in Cambodia’s garment sector, which comes on top of legally required benefits such as transportation, accommodation and meal allowances. The new wage of $128 – up from $100 – will go into effect January 1. …

Mom Kunthear and Sean Teehan

Fake call leads to wild goose chase

November 10th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

On Saturday, Banteay Meanchey border police received a desperate call.

More than 80 Cambodian migrants, including women and children, were locked in a house in Thailand. They were being starved and abused. Two boys, begging their captors for food, were kicked to death. So said the voice on the other end of the phone, a self-professed 26-year-old undocumented migrant who had trusted two Thai brokers to lead him to higher paying employment across the border. He pleaded with the police to come and find them.

The call set in motion a joint Cambodian-Thai investigation, and prompted local media reports. A search and rescue party was sent to Samut Prakan province, just south of Bangkok, where the caller said they had been taken.

Police scoured the area, but found nothing. They tried calling the man again, but his number was disconnected.

The problem, they concluded yesterday afternoon, was that the call had been fake.​ …

Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Laignee Barron