- Thaksin laughs as Panich squirms
- Abhisit talks tough over trespass case [-Cambodia should NOT release the 7 PAD Thais!]
- Yingluck [Shinawatra] agonises over taking top [opposition] job [in Thailand]
- Former Hmong General Vang Pao passed away in the US
- "No January 7 Without April 17, No April 17 Without Vietnam's Intervention" in Khmer
- Seng Rathanin's letter on the Khmer language education in Surin
- Land clearance by Korean firm blocked
- Analysis: Surviving the Khmer Rouge
- Cambodia marks anniversary of Khmer Rouge ousting
- [Thai] PM: arrest of 7 Thais by Cambodian authorities won't make Thailand lose territory
- 07 January and the feeling of free Khmer - Op-Ed by Anonymous
- "2011 Neak Deuk Noam Khmer, Same Old, Same Old" a Poem by Sam Vichea
- No January 7 Without April 17, No April 17 Without Vietnam's Intervention
- "Kampoub Ter Ong - Don't move your head, lest you spill the Viets' tea": Historical poem in Khmer by Ven. Botum Boromei Pich (Part 1 of 2)
- January 7 reignites debate
- Army chief asserts Thai government, armed forces fully helping Thais jailed in Cambodia
- Cambodia says KRouge trial should preserve peace [-The CPP is afraid the KRT will try its members?]
- 4 deaths in a ship flying Cambodia flag of convenience
- CACJE's Statement on 07 January 1979
- Anti-Hun Sen leaflets distributed in Cambodia
- Yuon in Cambodia can receive Viet books, but Khmer Krom in Vietnam are not allowed to receive Khmer books: 07 Jan 1979 is the neo-colonialism day!
- Poll: Most [Thais] baffled by [Thai] MP's border trip
- Mu Sochua on Cambodia: The Economist
- "T'ngai Chhneah?" a Poem in Khmer by Nore Yutt
- What's wrong with Comrade Chea Xim? He looks SWOLLEN
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 02:24 PM PST
Thaksin-hunter Panich's political fortunes take dive as he languishes in Cambodian jail - Govt's acceptance of trespass charges could result in Thailand having to cede territory - Battalion commander related to PM Abhisit fights criticism that he isn't up to the job
No one could have predicted such a spectacular reversal of fortune for Panich Vikitsreth, who won a seat in a Bangkok by-election in July last year.
He made his name as the vice-foreign minister whose mission was to go after former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, sentenced in absentia to two years in jail in 2008 for a conflict of interest in a Ratchadaphisek land deal.
Mr Panich's profile was lifted by the mission as anything connected to attempts at seeking Thaksin's extradition was bound to generate noise in politics.
The 48-year-old MP was positioned by the ruling Democrats among its crop of leaders, whose ranks include Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij and former Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin.
However, his career prospects took a nasty turn when he joined the Thai Patriots Network on a tour of the Thai-Cambodian border in Sa Kaeo province on Dec 29.
He and six other people were arrested near Ban Nong Jarn in Khok Sung district by Cambodian soldiers for trespassing on Cambodian territory.
The network insisted the seven had strayed unintentionally, while Phnom Penh insisted they had intended to step over the border without permission.
The seven are facing trial in Phnom Penh and the outcome is hard to predict.
What is certain, however, is that the news about Mr Panich's incarceration, reinforced by the image of the MP dressed in an inmate's outfit, bodes ill for his reputation and that of the Democrats.
Mr Panich made his foray into politics when he accepted an appointment as deputy Bangkok governor, reportedly with the backing of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The men met each other when they attended a young leadership training course organised by Bangkok Bank in 1986.
Mr Panich made his mark in politics when he was named vice-foreign minister in charge of securing Thaksin's extradition. Thaksin and Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen are close allies, which explains the diplomatic difficulties that persist between the two countries.
Bilateral ties have shown signs of improvement, with leaders of the countries engaging in dialogue. The trespassing incident, however, has set back hopes of full restoration of diplomatic relations.
A Foreign Ministry source said Hun Sen was initially inclined to release the seven captured Thais, but he changed his mind after discovering that Veera Somkwamkid, a leading figure in the Thai Patriots Network, was among the group. Mr Veera was previously caught trespassing on Cambodia's territory though was later freed.
The source said Hun Sen also ordered the detention of the seven Thais after being informed that Mr Panich was among the border inspection group.
According to the source, the Cambodian premier had inquired whether Thepthai Senpong, Mr Abhisit's personal spokesman, was among the trespassers.
The sharp-tongued Mr Thepthai, also a Democrat MP, was among the politicians most critical of Cambodia when bilateral ties were at their lowest point.
Some of his remarks against Hun Sen, made in Mr Abhisit's defence, provoked outrage in Phnom Penh.
Getting out the tape measure
Critics say the government's acceptance of trespassing charges against the seven Thais caught in Cambodia last week will put Thailand at a disadvantage in future border negotiations.
Academics and members of anti-government groups argue the acceptance could amount to Thailand having ceding territory to Cambodia when both countries return to the negotiating table.
But the government may be able to defend itself in this case.
The seven Thais arrested by the Cambodian authorities were detained on Dec 29 after they inspected the border area near Ban Nong Jarn in Sa Kaeo's Khok Sung district.
The group included Democrat Party MP for Bangkok Panich Vikitsreth, Veera Somkwamkid, a PAD co-leader, Samdin Lertbutr, a PAD activist, Tainai Mungmajon and three others identified only as Muay, Uan and Sab.
Speaking over the phone after his arrest, Mr Panich said he had received complaints from local people that Cambodian troops had encroached on their farmland for more than a month and stopped them entering the area.
Although the two sides have different views on the boundary markers (Nos. 46-47) and the border line which is drawn in a direct line between these two marks, the point where the seven Thais arrested is only located 55 metres beyond the border line between the two markers.
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya told the Bangkok Post that the Thai government accepted that the group of seven Thais entered Cambodian territory but only by about 55 metres based on three confirmations.
First, a Thai military diagram presented at an urgent meeting led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Dec 30 and attended by senior staff of the Foreign Ministry and security agencies clearly showed that the seven Thais had strayed into Cambodian territory.
Second, Cambodian senior officials explained to Mr Kasit how the Thais entered Cambodia when he went on an urgent trip to Phnom Penh on Dec 30 to seek the release of the seven detainees.
Third, the Foreign Ministry's legal staff who inspected the area where the arrests were made admitted the Thais had wandered 55 metres over the Cambodian side of the border line.
But due to the unclear border line, Mr Kasit said both Thai and Cambodian villagers have crossed back and forth frequently. Some Cambodian villagers are living in areas which are believed to belong to Thailand and some Thai villagers are on Cambodian soil.
But Mr Kasit said he has ordered a legal team to make a list of the overlapping areas along the 73 Thai-Cambodian border markers.
A 2005 resolution by Thailand's National Security Council prohibits villagers to move or expand their villages until the Joint Boundary Commission finishes its border demarcation negotiations.
What Thailand accepted might not be acknowledgment of wrongdoing as it defined the encroachment from the line which Thailand used (between markers Nos. 46-47), not from the barbed-wire boundary, said a source.
On Thursday, the seven appeared before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court which is considering whether to look into charges that they trespassed on Cambodian territory.
They were hoping to be granted bail next week.
Border conflicts are not uncommon between neighbouring countries. However, Thailand and Cambodia need to handle such incidents prudently and with compromises as at the end of the day it is the citizens of both countries that will thrive or suffer from the consequences.
I didn't get here by blood ties alone
There is only one military commander who shares the same surname as Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, and he is trying to prove that his performance at work justifies his promotion.
Lt Col Pongnupha Vejjajiva, a 37-year-old cousin of Mr Abhisit, was appointed commander of the 11th Cavalry Battalion in Saraburi in December 2009 amid criticism that he was promoted on account he was related to the prime minister.
After one year in office, admirers say he has proved he deserved the position.
He takes good care of his unit and is trustworthy, they say.
``I can say that I have never disappointed anyone. I have proved that I can be a good commander. You can ask my subordinates what kind of a man I am,'' he said.
The lieutenant colonel said he kept quiet over the criticism as he believed his worth would become evident over time.
He said the remarks against him were unfair as no one had bothered to mention that he had also been blocked in the past because of his surname.
The surname Vejjajiva did not go down well with previous governments.
He insisted that his career was now advancing at a normal pace and if he had worked poorly, he would have been punished for it.
Lt Col Pongnupha comes from Class 33 of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School.
Some people believe he was rising the career ladder unusually fast.
He argued, however, that promotions on the basis of seniority alone without regard to capability would only harm the military.
He said he worked well with his subordinates and that his surname also required him to prove himself because some people would want to find fault with him.
Senior army officers declined to deploy Lt Col Pongnupha's battalion to cope with last year's red shirt protests because they did not want red shirt demonstrators to target him, an army source said.
His battalion was assigned only to supply personnel vehicles to the soldiers who contained protesters around Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok.
Lt Col Pongnupha also prepared a company of soldiers to assist a United Nations peace-keeping mission in the Darfur region of Sudan.
``Soldiers want national order to return to the country.
``We would like people of all political colours to prioritise the national interest and not hurt the country,'' he said. ``Soldiers do not want to get involved with politics but we had to take action because we are duty-bound to maintain security and order,'' Lt Col Pongnupha said.
He met Mr Abhisit only once at a family party after his promotion. They greeted each other but they did not discuss any issues related to his promotion or politics, he said.
``I want only justice and an opportunity to prove myself. Do not judge me by my surname but by my work,'' Lt Col Pongnupha said.
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 01:12 PM PST
Cambodian court ruling `will not bind Thailand'
Yuwadee Tunyasiri and Wassana Nanuam
The upcoming Phnom Penh court ruling on the seven Thais held for allegedly trespassing on Cambodian soil will not bind Thailand on the disputed border, says the prime minister.
Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said the ruling, expected on Monday, will concern only the charges against the seven individuals arrested on charges of illegal entry into Cambodia and encroaching on a restricted military area.
``The ruling cannot be used to support any claim by Cambodia over border demarcation,'' he said.
The prime minister also admitted he gave approval for Panich Vikitsreth, a Democrat MP for Bangkok, to look into the problems of Thais living along the Thai-Cambodian border.
Mr Panich is among the seven detained Thais. The six others include Veera Somkwamkid, coordinator of the Thai Patriots Network, a People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) splinter group; and representatives of the Santi Asoke sect, the PAD's key ally.
Mr Abhisit said a group of Thai citizens had lodged a complaint with the government, saying they could not make use of their land within the disputed border area.
Mr Abhisit said the PAD and Santi Asoke were also concerned about the issue, so Mr Panich volunteered to join them in an inspection of the area.
The PAD and Santi Asoke had been pressuring the government to take a stronger stance toward Phnom Penh over border disputes.
``I don't believe those seven Thais intended to either trespass on or spy in Cambodia,'' said the prime minister.
Mr Abhisit said he wanted the PAD to give a comprehensive statement to the public, particularly regarding the message that the movement has linked the arrests to the 2000 memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Thailand and Cambodia.
Mr Abhisit explained that there are both Cambodians and Thais living in the disputed area, but the MoU prevents all of them from owning land there.
If the government revokes the 2000 MoU, as requested by the PAD, Cambodia would be free to manage its side of the disputed area surrounding the Preah Vihear temple, he said.
Cambodia would also get everything it is asking for at the World Heritage Committee meeting in Bahrain, scheduled for the middle of this year, if Thailand withdraws from the committee, which the PAD has also requested, said Mr Abhisit. ``I don't want to see these things happen.''
``Since the PAD views any people who disagree with them as traitors, it is difficult to see how we [the government and PAD] will reach an understanding.''
Meanwhile, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday asked all parties to stop criticising the government over the issue.
He said the criticism could complicate the case, which is now in a Cambodian court in Phnom Penh.
``Don't accuse Thai soldiers of being afraid [of Cambodian soldiers],'' he said.
``We are ready to fire to protect the country's sovereignty if the border line is clear, but since [this] border line is unclear, it must be judged by the law,'' he said.
Gen Prayuth added that people entering the area must seek permission from the authorities.
The demarcation between the 46th, 47th, and 48th border pillar, where the seven Thais were arrested, has not been completed, said the army chief.
Sqn Ldr Prasong Soonsiri, former National Security Council chief and former foreign minister, said the Thai government had been too submissive.
He asked the government to insist that the seven Thais were arrested on Thai territory and not to accept the Cambodian court's verdict if they are found guilty.
``These seven Thais have contributed to society by making the public more aware of border disputes,'' he said.
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 12:59 PM PST
Many Puea Thai Party MPs are backing Yingluck Shinawatra, the younger sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, for the job of party leader.
Ms Yingluck is said not to have decided yet whether she wants the job, but her chief rival, Mingkwan Saengsuwan, is busy sounding out MPs about his chances.
As uncertainties over the Puea Thai leadership drag on, Ms Yingluck's name has been mentioned together with that of Mr Mingkwan and former finance minister Virabongsa Ramangkura as possible party heads.
The present leader, former career bureaucrat Yongyuth Wichaidit, may not be a strong enough name to help the party pull votes at the next election.
A Puea Thai source said Mr Virabongsa's strengths as a possible Puea Thai Party leader and candidate for prime minister were that he was seen as neutral by the public and was knowledgeable in politics and economic matters. However, Mr Virabongsa has rejected the overtures as he considers politics to be in an unusual phase. His participation would do more harm than good to himself.
Both Mr Mingkwan and Ms Yingluck have a successful track record in business.
Mr Mingkwan is a former executive of Toyota Motor Thailand and director of the state-run MCOT.
Ms Yingluck proved she has business acumen during her tenure at SC Asset Plc and Advanced Info Service Plc.
Many members of the Puea Thai Party are seen as preferring Ms Yingluck to Mr Mingkwan as she is the younger sister of Thaksin and should be able to secure their political hopes better in terms of work aspirations and funding.
Both Mr Mingkwan and Ms Yingluck are considered relatively inexperienced in politics.
Ms Yingluck, however, has attended meetings of Puea Thai executive committee.
She did not make any decisions at those meetings but she is aware of party issues and won the respect of MPs.
Mr Mingkwan, meanwhile, is trying to build support for his leadership bid. He has approached key figures including party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, head of the party MPs Chalerm Yubamrung and even Ms Yingluck.
Mr Mingkwan asked some Puea Thai MPs who favour him for the job to meet Thaksin overseas to woo support for his leadership bid.
Thaksin said he wanted Mr Mingkwan to prove his leadership qualities by leading the next censure debate.
Puea Thai MP for Chiang Mai Surapong Towijakchaikul said Ms Yingluck came across as humble.
Many Puea Thai members back her because they believe she could become the country's first female prime minister.
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 12:03 PM PST
File photos of former Hmong general Vang Pao, who once commanded a CIA-backed "secret army" of Hmong guerrillas during the Vietnam war. He died in California aged 81, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Vietnam War 'secret army' chief dies in US hospital
"...his leadership rested on the force of his own personality, which was energetic, volatile, direct and fearless"Former Laotian general Vang Pao, who once commanded a CIA-backed "secret army" of Hmong guerrillas during the Vietnam War, died in a Californian hospital. He was 81.
"He died today... the family was there," said a spokeswoman for the Clovis Community Medical Center, some 200 miles (322 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco, adding that he had been at the facility since December 26.
A general in the Royal Lao army and member of the Hmong ethnic minority, Vang Pao ran an irregular army in the 1960s and 70s, commanding thousands of fighters in the US-funded covert war against Vietnamese and Lao communist forces.
He fled to the United States in 1975 after communists ousted Laos' royal rulers, and was credited with helping negotiate the resettlement in America of tens of thousands of fellow Hmong.
Charlie Waters, one of his closest friends, said Vang Pao died after being admitted to hospital with pneumonia, complicated by heart problems.
But he said the former general had been active until the last for the local Hmong community, which numbers some 30,000 to 40,000 in California. Tens of thousands of Hmong also live in the northern state of Minnesota.
"He's been pushing for so many things for his people... up until the day they put him in the hospital," Waters told AFP, adding: "He was just tired. He was available for his people around the clock."
"He was a very loving person. He was like a father to his people, his Hmong people (and) he'll be remmebered as a great general, a great warrior, a great Hmong soldier."
Thousands of ethnic Hmong and others are expected to attend his funeral, which is planned to be held in nearby Fresno, according to Waters.
For decades Vang Pao remained a revered figure in the Hmong community. Many considered the fervent anti-communist their leader in exile, and he was an active defender of the minority, many of whose members, according to human rights groups, are still persecuted and killed in isolated Laos.
But he was also a polarizing figure, one who controversially raised money from the Hmong community through a secretive organization that some critics believed was being used to funnel money into support of a new rebellion against Vientiane authorities.
In 2007 Vang Pao was arrested in California along with eight others on conspiracy charges after authorities allegedly "interrupted a plot to overthrow the government of Laos by force and violence" according to the justice department. The charges were dropped in 2009.
A teenage soldier against World War II Japanese troops, he underwent French-run army officer training from age 20 and later fought against communist rebels. In 1964 he became the first Hmong to achieve the rank of general in the Royal Lao army.
The United States was then stepping up its undeclared war against Lao and Vietnamese communist forces in the landlocked country, training a proxy army and flying missions in unmarked aircraft of the CIA-run Air America.
From the mid-60s, Vang Pao commanded the irregular army of Hmong, other Lao fighters and Thai mercenaries from his mountain headquarters in a campaign that some historians contend was part-financed by the opium trade.
"Operational advice was given by a small number of CIA operatives, writes Australian historian Grant Evans. "All was paid for by US aid."
Pao could supply rice and medical supplies to villagers and even control US air power, gaining him "the status of a minor deity" among his soldiers, writes another author, Christopher Robbins.
"But mostly his leadership rested on the force of his own personality, which was energetic, volatile, direct and fearless," Robbins writes in "The Ravens -- Pilots of the Secret War in Laos."
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 08:45 AM PST
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 08:33 AM PST
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 08:21 AM PST
Friday, 07 January 2011
The Phnom Penh Post
SOME 800 people in Kampong Thom province's Santuk district staged a protest against a Korean rubber company yesterday, claiming that the firm is trying to clear their trees and farmland without offering any compensation.
Villagers demanded that the company, Korean BNA (Cam) Corp, stop the clearing of cashew trees they claim to have been planting since 1984.
Red spray paint reportedly marked the trees on the land facing destruction, but protesters from six villages in Santuk's Tipor commune stood their ground to prevent the clearing of the land.
The protest was peaceful, according to Pen Chhin, a representative for the villagers, who said protesters simply stood in the middle of the orchard to prevent the destruction of the trees.
"If they are going to clear our cashew trees, how can we survive?" Pen Chhin said yesterday, claiming that roughly 400 families depend on the orchard.
Korean BNA (Cam) Corp received a 7,500-hectare land concession from the Cambodian government in September 2009 as part of a project aimed at developing rubber and cassava crops. The lease for the property was set at 70 years.
"The company officials told us they will not provide any compensation because that land is from the government," Pen Chhin said.
He added that villagers have filed a complaint to various government departments and have asked the provincial governor to intervene and find a resolution for them before the clearance of the land.
"If the company gets 7,500 hectares of land to develop in this area, where will we live and where will we farm?" said Chan Sea, a villager involved in the protest.
He added that company representatives had arrived just one day prior to the protest, spray-painting red marks on the trees to signal that they would be cut down.
Santuk district governor Pich Sophea said a provincial committee has asked the company to halt its development for the time being to allow for an assessment of its impact.
"We have to look carefully at how the families are affected and then we can find a resolution," he said yesterday.
Nhem Sarat, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said he had written a letter to the provincial governor asking him to stop the clearing of the land until a settlement is reached.
Bak Byung-kun, head of BNA (Cam) Corp, could not be reached for comment.
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 08:13 AM PST
Dacil Q Keo, Nean Yin
The Phnom Penh Post
FOLLOWING the odour of decayed flesh on January 10, 1979 – 32 years ago on Monday – the invading Vietnamese soldiers drove towards a barbed wired compound that served as the Khmer Rouge regime's highest level security center.
At the security centre, code named S-21 ("S" for Santebal, the Khmer word meaning "state security organisation" and "21" for the walky-talky number of former prison chief Nath), prisoners were brought in, often handcuffed, to be photographed, interrogated, tortured and executed.
Most prisoners taken to S-21 were Khmer Rouge cadre, including high level officials such as ministers and their families. They were accused of collaborating with foreign governments, spying for the CIA and the KGB, and hence betraying Angkar.
Prisoners were also believed to be have conspired with others and thus were forced to reveal their "strings of traitors", which sometimes included more than 100 names.
The interrogators at S-21 based their technique on a list of 10 security regulations which included "while getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all".
Although prisoners often had no idea why they had been arrested, interrogators forced them to confess their crimes. If they did not confess, they would be subjected to physical and psychological torture. However, after having confessed, they were marked for execution.
Initially, prisoners were killed on the grounds of the prison, but as the volume and stench of the corpses rapidly increased and became unbearable, prisoners were then trucked en mass to an open field 15 kilometres away known as Boeung Choeung Ek, or "Crow's Feet Pond", to be killed. That place is now commonly known as the Killing Field.
Waiting at the field was a group of about 10 young men led by Teng. Teng, in his early twenties, and his team of teenagers lived in a two-story house that was built on the field in 1977.
They were informed ahead of time of the number of prisoners that would arrive at Choeung Ek so they could dig the graves in advance. According to former S-21 prison guard Him Huy, it was Teng and his team who executed the prisoners once they arrived.
The Tuol Sleng prison, S-21, located in Phnom Penh, was a microcosm of the terror, paranoia and brutality that took place across the country under the reign of the Communist Party of Kampuchea from April 17, 1975, to January 6, 1979.
The prison was one of 196 prisons that existed, although Khmer Rouge leaders claimed that Democratic Kampuchea had no official prisons. The shocking figures commonly associated with the prison – 14,000 killed and seven survivors – rank the prison as one of the most lethal in the 20th century.
There is, however, not a clear consensus on these figures among experts. Recently, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal offered their own numbers based on its criminal case involving Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, the former head of S-21.
The number of prisoners taken to S-21 ranges from the Tribunal's conservative estimate of at least 12,273 to a scholar's high estimate of approximately 20,000. The number of survivors has received less scrutiny however, with most Western media generally accepting the figure of seven survivors. This figure of seven has been repeated for more than 30 years now, giving S-21 its notoriously brutal image.
The origin of this number comes from a 1981 film titled Die Angkar ("The Angkar"), produced by Studio H&S of the former East Germany. In this film, the photograph of seven survivors of S-21 was shown.
This photograph has since been featured in notable works including the book A Cambodian Prison Portrait: One Year in the Khmer Rouge's S-21 (1998) by S-21 survivor Vann Nath, who has served as a primary source of information for experts and scholars.
There is some speculation, however, that seven survivors were intentionally shown to parallel the 7th day of January, the "day of victory" in which Vietnamese forces overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime.
After several years of research, however, the Documentation Center of Cambodia estimates that at least 179 prisoners were released from 1975-1978 and approximately 23 victims survived after Vietnam ousted the Khmer Rouge regime on January 7, 1979.
The release status of the 179 prisoners (of which 100 were soldiers) is based on numerous Khmer Rouge documents and interviews compiled primarily by Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum senior archivist Nean Yin. Most of the 179 who were released have disappeared and only a few are known to have survived after 1979.
Of the 23 who survived after 1979, more than half have disappeared or have died. Several of the survivors who are alive today have recently made the news: Norng Chanphal for being a witness to Case 001 of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Vann Nath and Chum Mei for being featured in documentary films, and Bou Meng for having a book published about him.
In addition, one survivor of S-21 is now applying for civil party status for Case 002 of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
DOCUMENTATION CENTER OF CAMBODIA
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 07:33 AM PST
Friday, January 07, 2011
Australia Network News
Cambodia's ruling party Friday has called for its United Nations-backed war crimes court to safeguard "hard-won peace" as the country marked 32 years since the ousting of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Cambodian People's Party president Chea Sim has addressed thousands of supporters in the capital Phnom Penh, saying the CPP "supports the trial for crimes committed by the most senior leaders" of the Khmer Rouge.
He appealed for continued international support to enable the trial process to be successfully completed.
Four Khmer Rouge leaders are due to be tried this year for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, after up to two million people were executed or were starved or worked to death from 1975-1979.
The tribunal has yet to announce whether it will go ahead with two more cases against five as-yet-unnamed former Khmer Rouge cadres.
In its first case, which ended last July, the court sentenced former Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch to 30 years in jail for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people.
But Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly warned that pursuing more suspects from the hardline communist regime could spark civil war.
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 07:20 AM PST
BANGKOK, Jan 7 (MCOT online news) - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday reaffirmed that the arrest of seven Thai nationals by Cambodian authorities has nothing to do with the possible loss of Thai territory to the neighbouring kingdom, while calling all parties to focus on helping the detainees first.
The Thai premier made remarks after the yellow-shirted People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) movement claimed Thailand may lose some of its territory to Cambodia if it accepts the Cambodian court ruling on the case of seven detainees.
Mr Abhisit stated that the court ruling will affect only the litigants and it's considered an individual issue, on a case by case basis, not as part of the border problems.
"If so, we can arrest a foreigner and then the defendant confesses, it means his country will lose territory?" noted Mr Abhisit. "We must wait and see the court verdict first. The matter will not be prolonged."
The Thai premier advised the critics to let concerned officials do their jobs. "We won't talk about legal aspects which can bring more damage," he said.
Following opposition Puea Thai accusations that the premier conspired with the actions of detained Democrat MP Panich Vikitsreth, Mr Abhisit affirmed he had assigned Mr Panich to respond to the complaints of local residents at the border, but he asserted that the incident occurred unexpectedly.
Mr Panich said as he was arrested by Cambodian soldiers that he was inspecting the dispute land as local residents along the Thai-Cambodian border earlier filed complaints that their paddle fields which have title deeds issued by Thai authorities have now been occupied by Cambodia and the Cambodian troops prohibited them to enter their ownland.
The prime minister also warned the PAD not to mix up the issue of Preah Vihear dispute with the detention of the seven Thais and that the movement should give full and completed information to the public.
"First thing to do now is to help the seven people as they are Thais and they did not intend to trespass into Cambodian territory or spy on information there. The exaggerated charge should not be taken against them," insisted the premier. "Other issues should be discussed later."
The seven, including Democrat MP for Bangkok Panich and Thai Patriots Network leader Veera Somkwamkid, were arrested by Cambodian soldiers as they inspected the border area Dec 29.
The Cambodian court finished the first hearing on Thursday. They were facing two charges -- one of illegal entry into the Cambodian kingdom, with assigned punishment of three to six months of imprisonment and deportation, while the second charge involved trespass into a Cambodian military area without permission, punishable by a three to six months jail term and Bt7,500-15,000 in fines.
Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Suwit Khunkitti asserted Friday that the arrest of the seven Thais is a different matter to the consideration of the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.
Mr Suwit said the two issues have no impact on each other and that for the Preah Vihear dispute, the border demarcation should be clarified first.
"The foreign ministry is coordinating for the meeting with Cambodia's deputy prime minister Sok An. If the meeting is scheduled, we will conclude the dispute together," said Mr Suwit.
The World Court ruled in 1962 that the Preah Vihear temple belonged to Cambodia, although its primary entrance lies in Thailand and the exact boundary through the surrounding grounds remains in dispute, with occasional military skirmishes claiming a number of lives.
On July 7, 2008, UNESCO listed Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site. Under the terms of the listing, Cambodia is required to submit a management plan to the World Heritage Committee for its approval but its plan was opposed by Thailand in the committee meeting last year in Brazil and was scheduled to be raised in June at its meeting in Bahrain.
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 06:22 AM PST
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 06:06 AM PST
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 02:34 AM PST
January 7, 2011
NO JANUARY 7 WITHOUT APRIL 17
NO APRIL 17 WITHOUT VIETNAM'S INTERVENTION
I would like to remind the Cambodian people that without April 17, 1975 (Khmer Rouge takeover) there would be no January 7, 1979 ("liberation" of Cambodia, or invasion/occupation of our country, by the Vietnamese communist army), and without the intervention in Cambodia by Vietnamese forces (Vietcong and North Vietnamese army) in the early 1970's, there would be no Khmer Rouge takeover on April 17, 1975 and no need to "liberate" Cambodia.
Therefore, we have to look at the whole series of events and realize that the whole political stage in Cambodia in the 1970's was set with the active participation of expansionist Vietnam in order to create pretexts for Vietnam to take control of Cambodia and to swallow Khmer lands.
King-Father Norodom Sihanouk used to call Vietnam "Les avaleurs de terres khmeres" or "The swallowers of Khmer lands."
Member of Parliament
President of the SRP
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 02:23 AM PST
Lest you forget the annexation of Cambodia by Vietnam during the 19th Century, we are providing here an excerpt from a book published by Prof. Khin Sok which includes a two-part historical poem dating from that period describing the events which took place during that first Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia. Of particular interest in this poem is the description of the use of live Khmer heads as hearth to boil water for the Viet occupiers, thus the saying: "[Don't move your head, lest you] spill the Viets' tea". The poem also describes the hardship of Khmer laborers forced to dig the Prek Yuon Canal (Vinh Te Canal) by the cruel Viet occupation forces. It was also under this Vietnamese occupation that Cambodians were forced to adopt and even wear Vietnamese customs and clothes.
The book by Prof. Khin Sok also includes historic details from that period, as well as a translation into French of the two-part poems by Ven. Pich. For those readers who are interested in reading this book, we urged you to purchase the book which is on sale in Cambodia for about US$3, or order it through various online bookstores in France.
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 12:19 AM PST
Friday, 07 January 2011
Vong Sokheng and Sam Rith
The Phnom Penh Post
It is time for our leaders to wake up and take notice of the general fear ... of losing national independence.
MORE THAN 10,000 members of the ruling Cambodian People's Party are expected to gather at the party's headquarters today to mark the 32nd anniversary of the day the Khmer Rouge regime was toppled by Vietnamese troops in 1979.
Senate president Chea Sim is scheduled to give a speech at today's event, to express the party's gratitude to the Cambodian and Vietnamese soldiers "who sacrificed their lives to save the Cambodian people", according to a copy of a prepared statement obtained by The Post yesterday.
"On this occasion, I would like to appeal to all patriots to maintain the precious spirit of January 7 and keep continuing to strengthen the unity of the government under the umbrella of the King, in order to take Cambodia toward glory," the statement reads.
The January 7 anniversary – known as Victory over Genocide Day – remains a divisive issue, however, with some commentators claiming yesterday that the day marks the moment the country fell under the influence of Hanoi.
In a statement yesterday, political observer Son Soubert argued that January 7 had initiated a period of domination by Vietnam.
"It is time for our leaders to wake up and take notice of the general fear, felt by the great majority of the Cambodian people, of losing national independence and sovereignty," the statement reads.
Former Prime Minister Pen Sovan, who was dismissed from office in December 1981 and imprisoned for 10 years after criticising the extent of the Vietnamese presence in Cambodia, said the CPP had "betrayed" him and was "manipulated by Vietnam".
"It is bad for the ruling CPP, which not only conceded territorial sovereignty to Vietnam, but has also brought a lot of illegal immigrants into Cambodia and provided a lot of economic land concessions, leased for 99 years, to Vietnam," he said.
"I think they are a group of extremists."
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen lashed out at critics of the January 7 holiday, emphasising the importance of the day in Cambodian history.
Speaking at a high school inauguration in Kampong Cham province, the premier said all criticisms of the event were politically motivated.
"I would like to say that January 7 liberated everything, including ghosts and evil spirits and even liberated the heads of those who are cursing January 7," he said.
Yesterday, police in Siem Reap reported the discovery of an antigovernment leaflet released in advance of January 7, which described Hun Sen as a "second Pol Pot" and blamed his government for a host of ills, including the Diamond Island stampede.
"We have not yet identified the people who threw the leaflet," said Keo Sambath, Siem Reap's deputy provincial police chief. "We are investigating."
In August, Takeo provincial court convicted four people on disinformation charges after they were accused of distributing antigovernment leaflets in advance of last year's January 7 celebrations.
The leaflets, which were found scattered in three Takeo districts, asserted that the day should not be viewed as one of liberation, but as the day Cambodia became "abused and occupied" by Vietnam.
The plot's alleged mastermind was convicted in absentia and sentenced to three years in prison and fined 6 million riels (US$1,430).
The three other convicts were sentenced to two years in prison and fined 2 million riels (US$476).
Posted: 07 Jan 2011 12:15 AM PST
BANGKOK, Jan 7 (MCOT online news) -- Thailand's Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said the government and the armed forces are not sitting idly by but are giving full attention to helping the seven Thai nationals detained last Wednesday as they inspected the Thai-Cambodian border in Sa Kaeo province adjacent the Cambodian province of Banteay Meanchey.
Gen Prayuth said he did not want to assign blame for the arrest but he believed that if there was a better coordination in advance among the related agencies, including the military, the inspection by the group would have run smoothly without any problem.
He said the government and the military were not inattentive but responded quickly the minute the report of the arrest was received. However, the location of incident was in a remote area so that when the incident was reported to officials, the seven had already been removed from the border area into the interior of Cambodia.
The seven, including Democrat MP for Bangkok Panich Vikitsreth and Thai Patriots Network leader Veera Somkwamkid, were arrested by Cambodian soldiers during their inspection of the border area.
The Cambodian court finished the first hearing on Thursday. They were facing two charges -- one of illegal entry into the Cambodian kingdom, with assigned punishment of three to six months of imprisonment and deportation, while the second charge involved trespass into a Cambodian military area without permission, punishable by a three to six months jail term and Bt7,500-15,000 in fines.
No date has been set for the court verdict.
Gen Prayuth said the case has already entered the Cambodian legal process, and that Thailand must respect and waiting for the court's decision.
He said that evidence is needed to prove whether the Thais had actually entered Cambodian territory. The areas in question are claimed by both sides, and both countries must respect each other as good neighbours, not mistrusting the other.
If the boundary post or any sign showing the boundary disappear, it could be demarcated again with new markers. Restoring boundary markers did not mean giving territory to the neighbouring country.
The army chief affirmed that the armed forces could protect the kingdom's sovereignty along the over 5,000 km border with other countries.
Posted: 06 Jan 2011 11:35 PM PST
Cambodia's ruling party Friday called for a UN-backed war crimes court to safeguard "hard-won peace" in its trial of top Khmer Rouge leaders, as it marked the 32nd anniversary of the regime's ouster.
"The Cambodian People's Party supports the trial... for crimes committed by the most senior leaders" of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodian People's Party (CPP) president Chea Sim told a crowd of thousands of supporters.
He appealed for continued international support "so that the trial process will be successfully completed on the basis of safeguarding all national achievements, especially Cambodia's hard-won peace and stability."
The trial of four top regime leaders is due to start this year on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide after up to two million people were executed or were starved or worked to death from 1975-1979.
The tribunal, dogged by allegations of political interference, has yet to announce whether it will go ahead with two more cases against five as-yet-unnamed former Khmer Rouge cadres.
In its first case, the court in July sentenced former Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch to 30 years in jail for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people.
But Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, deputy leader of the CPP, has repeatedly warned that pursuing more suspects from the hardline communist regime could spark civil war.
Hun Sen -- once a mid-level Khmer Rouge member before turning against the movement -- told visiting United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon in October that a third case was "not allowed" because it could jeopardise peace.
Posted: 06 Jan 2011 11:30 PM PST
4 Chinese killed in cargo ship fire off S.Korean coast: Chinese consular officials
January 07, 2011
Four Chinese were killed in a fire on a Cambodia-flagged cargo ship off South Korea's southeastern coast, Chinese consular officials told Xinhua Friday.
The fire broke out on the ship at around 6:50 a.m. Friday (2150 GMT Thursday) when the 1,412-ton Yunxing was anchoring in Busan port, South Korea's largest port located in the southeastern coast, consular officials said.
There are a total of nine crew members, including eight Chinese and one Myanma, aboard the ship when the accident took place. Four Chinese crew members, including the captain, were killed, and other five people were rescued.
Preliminary investigation showed the fire, likely caused by a short circuit, started in the dining room on the first floor of the ship, local police said, adding that they will make further investigation to determine the exact cause of the fire.
Posted: 06 Jan 2011 11:13 PM PST
Posted: 06 Jan 2011 11:09 PM PST
More than 100 leaflets attacking Prime Minister Hun Sen and his regime have been found spread along the roads in Siem Reap town in the middle of the night on 5th January.
The distribution of anti-Hun Sen leaflets happened two days before the present regime celebrates the 32nd anniversary of the Liberation or Invasion of Cambodia by Vietnamese forces.
The leaflets , written under the letterhead "The Voice of Nationalists", called the present government 'a second Pol Pot regime" propped up by Vietnam to kill Khmers such as the "K-5 Plan" which sent thousands of Khmers to die by landmines and malaria to build a dike along the Khmer-Thai border in the early 1980s, through poisons, chemicals additives in imported food, hunger through confiscation of their land by Vietnamese companies etc....
The leaflets also blamed Vietnam for the deaths of 353 Cambodians during the stampede of Koh Pich Bridge on 22nd November 2010, saying that the stampede was planned by Vietnamese agents.
The leaflets also accused Vietnam of planting terrorists inside the present government to train other terrorists to carry out their terrorist acts in Thailand and to oppose the United States.
The leaflets has also accused Prime Minister Hun Sen of receiving a daily one-page instructions from his Vietnamese masters in Hanoi.
The Siem Reap authority said it is investigating to find out who are behind the leaflets. In the past, many people had been arrested for distributing anti- government leaflets, though most often the arrested had denied any involvements in the distributions of such material.
Posted: 06 Jan 2011 09:49 PM PST
Presenting Tet gifts to poor Vietnamese residents in Cambodia
VOV News (Hanoi)
500 poor Vietnamese and 200 Cambodian families have received Tet gifts and free medical checks-up and medicines.
A delegation from the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs in Ho Chi Minh City left the city on January 6 for Cambodia to offer Tet gifts to the Vietnamese community there.
They provided medical checks-up and medicines to 500 poor families in Rang Tul village, Kan Dieng district, Pur Sat province, including 300 Vietnamese and 200 Cambodian and Tet gifts worth VND400,000 each family. Gifts include cash, essential food and foodstuff, Vietnamese textbooks, notebooks and historical books. The total spending of VND230 million came from the city's budget.
During their stay in Cambodia, the delegation will visit the Vietnamese Consulate and the Overseas Vietnamese Association in Pur Sat.
The Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee has approved a plan for overseas Vietnamese during the traditional Lunar New Year festival (Tet). Accordingly, the city has asked the Southern Aviation Corporation and policemen at Tan Son Nhat International Airport to welcome Vietnamese nationals back home and help them go through procedures quickly.
The municipal Party Committee, People's Council and People's Committee will hold a meeting to welcome New Year at the city hall on January 25, 2011 with the participation of around 1,000 overseas Vietnamese.
Posted: 06 Jan 2011 09:43 PM PST
Most people really don't understand why a group of seven Thais, led by an MP, entered Cambodian territory and were arrested by Cambodian soldiers on Dec 29, according to an Abac Poll survey.
The researchers polled 2,085 people over the age of 18 from 17 provinces nationwide between Jan 1 and Jan 6.
The pollsters reported today that 58.1 per cent of the respondents said it was not clear to them why the seven Thais made the trip into the disputed border area, 23.7 per cent believed they went there for the national interest, but 18.2 per cent thought their objective was to further their own interests.
Asked whether the incident had brought out the leadership qualities of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, 26.6 per cent agreed but most (73.4 per cent) thought otherwise.
On ways to help the seven detained Thais, 45.9 per cent said Thai and Cambodian leaders should work together to solve the problem. 27 per cent said the government must help them as soon as possible. 19.9 per cent said the court case should proceed and the government should not intervene. and 6.9 per cent wanted the government to verify whether the seven Thais were arrested in Cambodian territory.
The respondents wanted Mr Abhisit to take the issue more seriously and all related agencies to work together to help the seven detainees.
The seven Thais, including Democrat Party MP Panich Vikitsreth and yellow-shirt activist Veera Somkwamkid, were charged with illegal entry and being unlawfully in a military zone after they were arrested by Cambodian soldiers on Dec 29.
The offences carried a combined maximum sentence of 18 months in jail. Their case is currently in the Phnom Penh court of the first instance.
Posted: 06 Jan 2011 09:31 PM PST
Posted: 06 Jan 2011 08:04 PM PST
Posted: 06 Jan 2011 07:48 PM PST
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