Friday, August 5, 2011

Vichara Dany vs Virak Dara

True, Vichara Dany was/is cute, but the sexiest one of the oldie movie stars was Virak Dara seen acting in "Orn euy srei Orn" - By Anonymous


COMFREL Release the Result of Workshop on Voter's Voice in Remote Areas; Beng, Banteay Ampil, Uddor Meanchey province

Dear all,

COMFREL is please to release its press release on the result of workshop on voter's voice in remote areas; Beng commune, Banteay Ampil district, Uddor Meanchey province was held on July 25, 2011.

Please see the attached document for details.

FYI : If you need releases or articles related to workshop on voter's voices, elections reforms, democracy/political reforms, decentralisation and governance, please feel free to visit our website :


Cambodia’s GDP growth likely to exceed 8%

August 04, 2011
Ebeling Hefferman

Cambodia’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is expected to grow over 8 % this year despite rising inflation, Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said Thursday.

He said 3 of the country’s four economic pillars, garment exports, tourism, agriculture and real estate, are expected to post strong increases this year.

“Based on the figures in the first half of this year, the garment and textile exports rose up to 45%, tourism industry up by 13%, and agriculture is going well. I believe the country’s economic growth this year will exceed 8%,” the minister said at a press briefing after the conclusion of the 17th Greater Mekong Sub-region Ministerial Conference.

Earlier this year, the government forecast this year’s GDP growth at 6%.

The commerce minister said the real estate and construction sector has also started to recover this year after it was hard hit by the global financial crisis since Y 2008.

Despite the minister’s optimism, Director-general of the National Bank of Cambodia Nguon Sokha warned that the country’s inflation could reach as high as 8 percent this year, up from the previous prediction of 5 percent due to soaring prices of petroleum, food, and consuming products.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr.


Anti-government group imprisoned

Friday, 05 August 2011
Buth Reaksmey Kongkea
The Phnom Penh Post

Five men who distributedhundreds of leaflets critical of Prime Minister Hun Sen between the years 2008 and 2011 were sentenced to jail time yesterday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

The leaflets accused the prime minister of selling Cambodian land to foreign countries, calling him a “traitor” and a “puppet of Vietnam, municipal court judge Sem Sak Kola said.

She added that the leaflet referred to the ousting of the Khmer Rouge on January 7, 1979, as “the day Vietnam occupied Cambodia”.

The verdict, announced yesterday, found all five dissenters guilty of “inciting the people to commit serious crimes against Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Royal Government of Cambodia”.

Phon Sam Ath, a 26-year-old teacher and former student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, was arrested on January 27, 2011, in Takeo Province, Sem Sak Kola said. She referred to him as the “mastermind” of the operation, adding that he had written and distributed hundreds of leaflets in both Battambang and Phnom Penh.

Four others – So Khemarak, aged 25, Ngor Menghong, 21, Eang Samorn, 23, and Chem Bol, 27 – were arrested on February 29 in the capital.

Phon Sam Ath and Eang Samorn were both sentenced to two years in prison, while their three collaborators each received 18 months, Sem Sak Kola said. All five were fined two million riel (US$487).

In an interview yesterday, Ouk Syroeun, defence lawyer for So Khemarak, called the verdict “unjust”.

“My client did not commit the crimes he is being accused of…he did not break any laws,” he said, adding that he was asking the court to drop all charges.

Ouk Syroeun yesterday submitted an appeal to the Appeal Court in an effort to overturn the verdict and, he said, to “find justice for [So Khemarak]”. The five convicted could not be reached for comment yesterday.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


          As hundreds of thousands of Cambodians slowly starved in the rice fields, a select number of political prisoners and their families met a terrible fate inside Khmer Rouge interrogation centers. The most famous of these centers, codenamed S-21, was located in the abandoned suburban Phnom Penh high school of Tuol Sleng, which ironically translates to "hill of the poison tree." To workers assigned by the Khmer Rouge to the Tuol Sleng neighborhood, S-21 was known simply as konlaenh choul min dael chenh - "the place where people go in but never come out." Tuol Sleng's reputation was brutally accurate: the sole purpose of S-21 was to extract confessions from political prisoners before they were taken away for execution outside of the capital near the farming village of Choeung Ek. Nearly 20,000 people are known to have entered Tuol Sleng; of these only six are known to have survived. 

          The majority of the victims of Tuol Sleng were actually former Khmer Rouge cadres. With each passing year Angka became more and more paranoid, blaming many of its loyal supporters for Cambodia's woes. The Khmer Rouge leadership saw conspiring enemies around every corner: one particular document from the DK foreign ministry which described these "pests buried within" noted that 1% to 5% of all Cambodians were "traitors." To exterminate this perceived infestation the Khmer Rouge rounded up hundreds of fellow communists each month, sending them to S-21 in order to extract forced confessions. No one was immune from the purges - even some of the most committed members of the Khmer Rouge leadership, including information minister Hu Nim and deputy prime minister Vorn Vet, were arrested, interrogated and condemned to death at Tuol Sleng. 

        From the moment you arrived as a prisonor at S-21, your rights and responsibilities were made painfully clear by a set of ten standing orders. These rules dictated how you acted, how you responded to questioning, and how you had no choice but to accept the fact that you were a traitor and would be treated as such.

  • The methods of extracting confessions at Tuol Sleng were cruel and barbaric. Prisoners were tortured with battery powered electric shocks, searing hot metal prods, knives and other terrifying implements. For example, in the prison courtyard stood a large wooden frame once used by students for gymnastics practice. The Khmer Rouge converted it into gallows for the hanging torture and execution of prisoners. Though many prisoners died from the constant abuse, killing them outright was discouraged, for it 

          was much more important for the Khmer Rouge to get confessions on paper first. As part of its quest to wipe out traitors, the Khmer Rouge leadership sought to "investigate their personal biographies clearly" in order to get at what caused the prisoners to become traitors as well as to find out who their co-conspirators were. Over time they were tortured as necessary in order to extract whatever confession was needed.
          Confessions were an arbitrary concept - in truth, the vast majority of S-21 prisoners were probably innocent of the charges against them, so therefore most prisoners' admissions were lies borne out of excessive torture. Even loyal Khmer Rouge cadres would eventually admit to spying for the CIA or the KGB, secret loyalty to the Vietnamese, sexual crimes - whatever the interrogators asked for they usually got. It was only a matter of time before the torture would break even the strongest of prisoners. The dubious nature of the confessions mattered little to the Khmer Rouge leadership; like the Salem witch trials of puritan Massachusetts, each confession fanned the fires of conspiracy by offering new names (and people) to target. Because prisoners would often name names in their forced confessions, the confessions served as a misguided, but self-fulfilling prophecy to the Khmer Rouge, allowing them to proove to themselves that there was indeed a massive web of traitors amongst them. 

         Thousands of these confession files, including 5,000 photographs, survive to this day, giving us a grim look at the activities that occured inside Tuol Sleng. The Yale Cambodian Genocide Center has spent many years examining these records, but thousands of the people sent to S-21 have yet to be identified. We may never know who they were or why they were sent there; only their portraits remain to serve as affirmations of their lives - and deaths - at Tuol Sleng.



          One of the main goals behind resettling urban residents into the countryside was to build a new Cambodia focused on agricultural success: "to build socialism in the fields," as it was once suggested (Chandler, History of Cambodia, 214). Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge leadership developed a "four-year plan" in which Cambodians were expected to produce an average national yield of 3 metric tons of rice per hectare (1.4 tons per acre). But even during pre-Khmer Rouge, peacetime Cambodia, the average national yield was only one metric ton of rice per hectare. To meet these new demands on rice production the Khmer Rouge enforced strict policies where workers labored in the fields for 12 hours a day without adequate rest or food. Many new people lacked any experience in manual labor and became ill and died, since the Khmer Rouge favored the traditional medicine of the peasants and hilltribes over modern western medicine. Those new people who survived but were not well enough to work often vanished: after being taken away to a distant field or forest, they would be forced to dig their own graves before Khmer Rouge soldiers would bludgeon them on the back of the head with a shovel or hoe. It didn't matter whether the blow killed them or not; either way the victims were buried on the spot and left to die a suffocating death. 
          Many Cambodians soon discovered that hard work wasn't necessarily enough to keep them alive. "Keeping new people is no benefit," so the Khmer Rouge slogan went; "Losing them is no loss." The lives of new people were seen as having little to no value, so even the most minor infraction was enough reason to get sent to a killing field. For example, foraging for extra food was a capital offense, despite the fact that the Khmer Rouge's daily food allowance was so low it would cause hundreds of thousands of people to starve to death. And because family relationships were now banned (for parents exploited their children, so the argument went), associating with a relative without the permission of Angka could get you killed. Khmer Rouge cadres would look for any excuse to kill new people. If you spoke French, you would die. If you were educated, you would die. If you wore glasses, you would die. If you practiced Buddhism, you would die. Families with connections to previous Cambodian governments were especially susceptible to ill treatment; while former soldiers and civil servants were usually summarily executed, their families were often forced to work themselves to death. Those who managed to survive for a time would eventually be charged as associate enemies of the state and sent to the killing fields.
          These incredibly harsh conditions limited one's options for survival. Most Cambodians submitted to each and every Khmer Rouge demand and hoped for the best. Those Cambodians who knew they could be labeled as an enemy (the educated, monks, government officials, business owners, etc.) had no choice but to cut off all ties to their past and pretend to be an illiterate peasant. If you could convince the Khmer Rouge you were one of the old people, you might survive, but if you were caught it would mean certain death.
          Because Angka banned family relationships, the Khmer Rouge often took advantage of children and molded them into fanatical communists. Young children were seen as being pure and untainted by capitalism and family influence. From an early age children were propagandized and brainwashed to believe in nothing but Angka - even their parents might become their worst enemies. Khmer Rouge brainwashing techniques were often so successful that children would spy on their parents or report on their families' activities during the Lon Nol regime. If parents were disguising themselves as uneducated peasants, their children would be rewarded for identifying them as enemies of the state. Children received expanded privileges under Angka as their parents were taken away to die. In some farming collectives there were so many adolescent Khmer Rouge cadres it seemed their were no adults running the camps.
          When Cambodians weren't working in the fields they were being lectured by Khmer Rouge cadres in daily "livelihood meetings" (prachum chivapheap). These meetings had a duel purpose. First, they served as propaganda sessions where people could be indoctrinated into Angka's communist ideals. Second, the meetings were opportunities for people to confess their past political and ideological sins, as well as to rat out fellow Cambodians. As Ong Thong Hoeung tells David Chandler in The Tragedy of Cambodian History, "Politics were everything. Political formation dominated every other activity." Ong goes on to say
They [Khmer Rouge political cadres] attacked the individualist idea successively, in material terms, in terms of thought, and in terms of feelings. Materially, we had to denounce those who had more than the people. In terms of thought, each of us had to keep an eye on everyone else, to disclose any attitude that didn't conform to the line of the party. Everything was interpreted: words, gestures, attitudes. Sadness was a sign of spiritual confusion, joy a sign of individualism, [while] an indecisive point of view indicated a petty bourgeois intellectualism." (Chandler, 284)
          Unfortunately, many Cambodians saw these livelihood meetings as opportunities to confess their pasts and be redeemed in the eyes of the Khmer Rouge, not unlike people confessing to a priest at a Christian church. If they confessed, they were rewarded by applause and praise, perhaps an embrace from the Khmer Rouge cadres in attendance. Later that evening (or soon afterward - it was only a matter of time), they would then be escorted quietly from the camp and executed.
          The quality of life in these farm cooperative varied greatly from district to district; overall, though, very few Cambodians were spared from suffering, misery, starvation or the threat of death. Conditions worsened in 1977 and 1978 as Angka increased demands on rice production. With the passage of time it became more and more difficult for malnourished Cambodians to farm efficiently. To make matters worse, the Khmer Rouge's distain of technology made it next to impossible for workers to reach their increased rice quotas when forced to farm by hand only. Even if a particular collective farm met its rice quota, this didn't mean they would be rewarded with a proper diet. The bulk of the rice was earkmarked for Khmer Rouge soldiers and political cadre. New people could only eat the scraps that were given to them; if they were caught supplementing their diets with grass or even insects, they too would be sent to the killing fields.