News Summary for (13-10-2016)

Security high ahead of Xi’s two-day visit

drivers-pass-by-photos-of-chinese-president-xi-jinping-and-king-norodom-sihamoni-yesterday-outside-the-royal-palace-in-phnom-penhA total of 7,000 police officers, military police and soldiers will be deployed on the streets of Phnom Penh today and Friday to provide security for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day visit to the country, his first since becoming head of state, officials said.

The forces will include navy and air force members, and will ensure Xi’s safety as he meets Prime Minister Hun Sen and King Norodom Sihamoni, said National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith.

PM Calls on Diaspora to Visit Cambodia

prime-minister-hun-sen-wants-cambodians-living-abroad-to-visit-the-kingdomWhen many Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) officials travel abroad, they often face protests by the resident Cambodian population, including Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son in Australia last week, prompting Mr. Hun Sen to take to Facebook yesterday and invite Cambodia’s diaspora to ignore “propaganda” and see the country for themselves.

“Please, brothers and sisters – especially grandfathers and grandmothers living abroad for a long time, who just listen to bad propaganda that is not true, with facts coming from partial persons – come to visit our country,” the prime minister wrote.

170 Vietnamese Asylum Seekers Given Two Weeks to Leave

Almost two years since the latest wave of Montagnard asylum seekers began crossing into Ratanakkiri province claiming to be fleeing persecution in Vietnam, an immigration official said on Wednesday that the 170 remaining in Phnom Penh had two weeks to return home or face forcible repatriation.

Despite initially blocking the Montagnards from registering as refugees, in January the government announced the group could have their claims assessed.

‘Escalation’ a threat to elections: UN envoy

un-special-rapporteur-to-cambodia-rhona-smith-shakes-hands-with-opposition-leader-kem-sokha-yesterday-at-the-cnrp-headquarters-in-phnom-penh-during-an-unofficial-meetingUN Special Rapporteur to Cambodia for Human Rights Rhona Smith said yesterday that a recent “escalation” in the country’s political standoff and limitations on the work of political parties – as evidenced by the opposition’s boycott of parliament – would raise concerns over upcoming elections.

Speaking to the Post yesterday evening, Smith said there was evidence that political parties were increasingly being restricted in their efforts at engagement, and questions were being raised over whether elections in 2017 and 2018 would truly be “full and fair”.

NEC: Army to Vote Near Bases

the-national-election-committee-wants-soldiers-to-register-near-their-garrisonsIn an effort to squelch fears of roving army units patrolling polling stations and terrifying local residents, National Election Committee (NEC) member Rong Chhun said the group plans to ask the Interior Ministry and Defense Ministry to have soldiers vote in communes near their garrisons.

“Moving soldiers like this will affect people’s feelings. Please make it easy. They can go for voter registration in the commune where their garrison is,” he said.–army-to-vote-near-bases/

More Evictees May Have Recourse Through IFC

villagers-in-stung-treng-province-gather-in-march-last-year-ahead-of-a-ceremony-to-curse-the-officials-and-businessmen-behind-the-lower-sesan-2-damRights groups say families being forced off their land by development projects recently revealed to have World Bank Group backing could probably file successful complaints against the institution, effectively forcing it to help the families save their homes or at least win better compensation.

Hundreds of families who filed a successful complaint with the bank in 2014 over land-grabbing rubber plantations it was helping to finance in Ratanakkiri province have gotten the lender to wring major concessions out of the owners on their behalf.

Foreigners Caught Using Drugs

foreigners-caught-using-drugsThree foreigners and a Cambodian woman were arrested and charged in Phnom Penh yesterday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for alleged drug trafficking and use, according to police.

The three foreign men were identified as Andrew John Sloman, 50, who is British, Safari Saari Ian Wood Berry, 40, an American, and Chaponot Cyril Guy, 46, who is French, according to Major Duong Vichetre, a police officer in the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug department.

Ahead of Xi Visit, Relations With China at Level ‘Never Seen Before’

Cambodia’s relationship with China is at an all-time high, officials said on Wednesday, as authorities braced for the arrival of the country’s premier Xi Jinping today with the deployment of some 7,000 security personnel.

During a meeting between China’s new ambassador to Cambodia, Xiong Bo, and National Assembly President Heng Samrin, the pair noted that the country’s relationship with its largest donor had deepened with time, according to Mr. Samrin’s cabinet chief Keo Piseth.

Port signs new deals with Vietnamese companies

a-crane-unloads-containers-from-a-docked-ship-at-the-phnom-penh-autonomous-portThe Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP) announced a new partnership on Tuesday with Vietnamese company Viet Sac Port Service to set up local maintenance and repair service of shipping containers at its new LM17 container terminal located 30 kilometres south of Phnom Penh in Kandal province.

Hei Bavy, chief executive of PPAP, said yesterday that the state-run port was looking to partner with shipping firms that could handle maintenance services for a long time, due to the ports insufficient in-house capabilities.

Korea Hands Over Aviation Center

a-scale-model-of-the-aviation-center-which-was-handed-over-to-the-government-yesterdayThree and a half years after signing a memorandum of understanding on the project, the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Cambodia handed over a $10.1 million aviation training center to the government yesterday.

KOICA and the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) in Cambodia held a handover ceremony yesterday for the new Cambodia Civil Aviation Training Center (CATC) on the grounds of Phnom Penh International Airport.

Foreign Ministry Formalizes Public Service Fees

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has opened a new public services office and formalized fees for a broad group of services often used by foreigners as part of a wider government push to collect revenue and boost efficiency.

Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhon issued a statement on Wednesday announcing new charges for services, including visa extensions, certification of official documents and permits allowing Cambodians and foreigners to marry.

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