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

Two years after offer, US yet to clean up war-era chemicals

July 25th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

Government officials on Thursday said they are still waiting for the U.S. Embassy to make good on a 2012 offer to clean up several barrels of the riot control agent CS that were dropped on Cambodia during the U.S.’ war with Vietnam and which the U.S. has admitted supplying.

Eleven of the barrel bombs, which were meant to explode in mid-air but failed to detonate, were first found in Mondolkiri province’s O’Reang district near Cambodia’s border with Vietnam in 2012 and have yet to be moved. At least one more barrel, possibly two, were found in the same district late last month. …

Zsombor Peter and Saing Soenthrith

Another deceived bride repatriated from China

July 18th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

A Cambodian woman who went to China to marry a man there was repatriated on Thursday after escaping from her husband’s house and finding refuge at the Cambodian consulate in Guangzhou.

Yoeng Sreymom arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport at about 3:30 p.m. in the company of a man who identified himself only as a representative of the consulate in Guangzhou, China’s third biggest city.

Ms. Sreymom was quickly rushed away from reporters and into a car by a member of the anti-human trafficking police, saying only “I was in China for a year.” …

Phorn Bopha

Cambodian FM hails China’s development

July 16th, 2014 , Xinhuanet News

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong on Wednesday praised China for its rapid development in all fields, particularly in the economic front.

“China’s fast development, especially in the economic sector, is due to the right and wise leadership of the current Chinese government,” he said during a meeting with a delegation of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs led by former Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Zhang Jinfeng. …

Xinhuanet News Staff

Remittances dip on exodus

July 15th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Two of Cambodia’s largest financial service providers have reported declines in transactions stemming from key Thai border provinces as thousands of undocumented migrant workers continue to exit the neighbouring country.

Third-party payments and remittance service Wing has seen a 3 per cent decline in the amount of money being transferred to and from users located in five key Thai border provinces, company data seen by the Post show.

CEO of Wing, Anthony Perkins, said that Koh Kong, Pursat, Preah Vihear, Battambang and Pailin provinces saw a combined $1.7 million decline in domestic remittances during June, equaling just 0.5 per cent of the firm’s nationwide volume. …

Eddie Morton

Migrants told to get permits

July 14th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday called on all undocumented Cambodians in Thailand to register for a legal work permit at one of that country’s newly opened one-stop service centres.

Thailand’s junta began piloting the latest temporary registration centres at the end of June and has since rolled out additional sites countrywide. At the centres, workers are required to undergo background screenings, health checks and purchase health insurance before applying for a permit. …

Sen David

Thais detain ‘large number’

July 11th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A large group of Cambodian migrants were rounded up and detained in a Bangkok prison at the end of May, where many still remain, Thai officials told the Post yesterday.

Separate unconfirmed reports that at least 130 Cambodians had been in detention for more than a month emerged about a week ago. …

Kobboon Sangmanee, a first secretary at the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Information, said many Cambodian migrants held at Bangkok Remand Prison have already been deported, while some remain incarcerated, awaiting deportation. …

Alice Cuddy and Kevin Ponniah

Raid on house finds 84 workers

July 9th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

Before dawn yesterday, Thai military officials raided a house not far from the border, finding dozens of undocumented Cambodian workers crammed into a room awaiting transportation deeper into the country.

The 84 workers were woken, taken into military custody and deported, but the brokers who had smuggled them into the country were nowhere to be found, according to Koy Kuong, spokesman for Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. …

Cheang Sokha and Laignee Barron

Maids forced into debt bondage in Singapore

July 4th, 2014 , The Cambodia Daily

In August last year, the government launched a pilot project that sent 220 women to work as maids in Singapore, the first major effort to open up a new market for Cambodia’s domestic workers after the government halted sending maids to Malaysia due to persistent reports of abuse.

This week, two of the maids involved in the Singapore pilot returned to Cambodia with stories of forced debt bondage and abusive conditions, once again raising serious doubts about whether the rights of Cambodian migrants can be guaranteed by the well-connected recruitment agencies sending them abroad.

Nhem Thida, 31, and Phorn Mao, 24, were lured from their rural homes by Philimore Cambodia—a recruitment agency previously accused of a litany of human rights abuses—with promises of fair salaries and first-world conditions. …

Matt Blomberg and Hul Reaksmey

Cambodian, Thai senior officials discuss cooperation over migrant workers

July 1st, 2014 , Xinhuanet News

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong met on Tuesday with visiting Permanent Secretary and Acting Minister of Thai Foreign Ministry Sihasak Phuangketkeow to discuss cooperation over migrant workers.

More than 250,000 Cambodian migrant workers, mostly undocumented, fled Thailand last month at rumors that the Thai junta would arrest and deport illegal foreign workers.​ …

Sihasak said Thailand has seen foreign migrant workers as an important labor force for the development of the Thai economy and Thailand will facilitate Cambodian workers to return to work in Thailand legally. …

In the meeting, both sides also agreed to further promote bilateral trade and enhance security along the border. …

Xinhuanet News Staff

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

Legal Cambodians may return, says Thailand

June 17th, 2014 , VOA Khmer

Thai officials said Tuesday they will take back Cambodian workers who re-enter the country legally.

The statement follows a mass exodus in recent weeks of tens of thousands of Cambodians amid rumors of a crackdown on undocumented workers.

Koy Kuong, a spokesman for Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry, told VOA’s Khmer service that Thai authorities will allow workers to re-enter if their papers are in order. …

Kong Sothanarith

Border chaos claims 2 more

June 17th, 2014 , The Phnom Penh Post

A second deadly car accident in as many days has claimed the lives of more Cambodian migrant workers fleeing Thailand in the wake of last month’s military takeover.

At least two undocumented Cambodian workers were killed while driving through Thailand’s Chonburi province to get to the border on Sunday morning, with 18 others sustaining injuries, according to Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Kuong said the cause of the accident is still unknown, but that the injured workers were taken to hospitals in Thailand. …

Laignee Barron and May Titthara

Over 200,000 Cambodian migrants leave Thailand as junta rounds up illegal foreign workers

June 16th, 2014 , Xinhuanet News

More than 200,000 Cambodian migrant workers have been either deported from or fled Thailand since early this month in the wake of a junta-led clampdown on illegal migrant laborers, Major General Pich Vanna, chief of Cambodia-Thailand Border Relation Affairs Office, said Monday.

“As of Monday evening, more than 200,000 Cambodian workers have been repatriated from Thailand,” he told Xinhua over telephone, adding that the figures were collected from all seven border checkpoints along the Cambodia-Thailand border. …

Xinhuanet News Staff