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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Indian forces kill last gunmen in Mumbai

Indian forces kill last gunmen in Mumbai

Map locating Islamist attacks in Mumbai (AFP Graphic)
Indian soldiers take cover on the water front as they surround the Taj Mahal hotel during gun battles between Indian military and militants inside the hotel in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Nov.29, 2008. Indian commandos killed the last remaining gunmen holed up at the luxury Mumbai hotel Saturday, ending a 60-hour rampage through India's financial capital by suspected Islamic militants that killed people and rocked the nation. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

The Taj Mahal hotel is seen engulfed in smoke during a gun battle in Mumbai November 29, 2008. Maharashtra state chief minister said on Saturday that there was no evidence of British citizens being involved in the attacks in Mumbai.
REUTERS/Arko Datta

A suspected gunman walks outside the premises of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or Victoria Terminus railway station in Mumbai November 26, 2008. Elite Indian commandos fought room-to-room battles with Islamist militants inside two luxury hotels to save scores of people trapped or taken hostage, as the country's prime minister blamed neighbouring countries. The gunmen attacked the hotels, a landmark cafe, hospitals and the railway station, killing 107 people and wounding 315 so far. Picture taken November 26, 2008.
(The Times of India/Reuters)

Associated Press Writers

MUMBAI, India – A 60-hour terror rampage that killed at least 195 people across India's financial capital ended Saturday when commandos killed the last three gunmen inside a luxury hotel while it was engulfed in flames.

Authorities searched for any remaining captives hiding in their rooms and began to shift their focus to who was behind the attacks, which killed 18 foreigners including six Americans.

A previously unknown Muslim group with a name suggesting origins inside India claimed responsibility for the attack, but Indian officials said the sole surviving gunman was from Pakistan and pointed a finger of blame at their neighbor and rival.

Islamabad denied involvement and promised to help in the investigation. A team of FBI agents also was on its way to India to lend assistance.

Some 295 people also were wounded in the violence that started when heavily armed assailants attacked 10 sites across Mumbai on Wednesday night. At least 20 soldiers and police were among the dead.

Orange flames and black smoke engulfed the landmark 565-room Taj Mahal hotel after dawn Saturday as Indian forces ended the siege there in a hail of gunfire, just hours after elite commandos stormed a Jewish center and found at least eight hostages dead.

"There were three terrorists, we have killed them," said J.K. Dutt, director general of India's elite National Security Guard commando unit.

Later, adoring crowds surrounded six buses carrying weary, unshaven commandos, shaking their hands and giving them flowers. The commandos, dressed in black fatigues, said they had been ordered not to talk about the operation, but said they had not slept since the ordeal began. One sat sipping a bottle of water and holding a pink rose.

With the end of one of the most brazen terror attacks in India's history, attention turned from the military operation to questions of who was behind the attack and the heavy toll on human life.

The bodies of New York Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah, were found at the Jewish center. Their son, Moshe, who turned 2 on Saturday, was scooped up by an employee Thursday as she fled the building. Two Israelis and another American were also killed in the house, said Rabbi Zalman Schmotkin, a spokesman for the Chabad Lubavitch movement, which ran the center.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said eight bodies had been discovered in the Jewish center and that officials were investigating the possibility of there being a ninth.

Among the foreigners killed in the attacks were six Americans, according to the U.S. Embassy. The dead also included Germans, Canadians, Israelis and nationals from Britain, Italy, Japan, China, Thailand, Australia and Singapore.

By Saturday morning the death toll was at 195, the deadliest attack in India since 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai killed 257 people. But officials said the toll from the three days of carnage was likely to rise as more bodies were brought out of the hotels.

"There is a limit a city can take. This is a very, very different kind of fear. It will be some time before things get back to normal," said Ayesha Dar, a 33-year-old homemaker.

Indians began cremating their dead, many of them security force members killed fighting the gunmen. In the southern city of Bangalore, black clad commandos formed an honor guard for the flag-draped coffin of Maj. Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who was killed in the fighting at the Taj Mahal hotel.

"He gave up his own life to save the others," Dutt said from Mumbai.

A group called Deccan Mujahideen, which alludes to a region in southern India traditionally ruled by Muslim kings, claimed responsibility for the attack, but Indian officials pointed the finger at neighboring Pakistan.

On Saturday, officials said they believed that just 10 gunmen had taken part in the attack. "Nine were killed and one was captured," Maharshta state Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told reporters. "We are interrogating him."

Deshmukh's deputy, R.R. Patil, identified the gunman as a Pakistani national, Mohammad Ajmal Qasam.

The gunmen had sophisticated equipment and used "GPS, mobile and satellite phones to communicate," Patil said. "They were constantly in touch with a foreign country," he said, refusing to give further details.

On Friday, India's foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee, told reporters that evidence indicated "some elements in Pakistan are responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks."

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted his country was not involved. His government was sending an intelligence official to assist in the probe.

Deshmukh said the attackers arrived by sea.

On Saturday the Indian navy said it was investigating whether a trawler found drifting off the coast of Mumbai, with a bound corpse on board, was used in the attack.

Navy spokesman Capt. Manohar Nambiar said the trawler, named Kuber, had been found Thursday and was brought to Mumbai. Officials said they believe the boat had sailed from a port in the neighboring state of Gujarat.

Indian security officers believe many of the gunmen may have reached the city using a black and yellow rubber dinghy found near the site of the attacks.

In the U.S., President-elect Barack Obama said he was closely monitoring the situation. "These terrorists who targeted innocent civilians will not defeat India's great democracy, nor shake the will of a global coalition to defeat them," he said in a statement.

On Friday, commandos killed the last two gunmen inside the luxury Oberoi hotel, where 24 bodies had been found, authorities said.

But in the most dramatic of the counterstrikes Friday, masked Indian commandos rappelled from a helicopter to the rooftop of the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish center.

For nearly 12 hours, explosions and gunfire erupted from the five-story building as the commandos fought their way downward, while thousands of people gathered behind barricades in the streets to watch. At one point, Indian forces fired a rocket at the building.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel's Channel 1 TV that some of the victims found at the center had been bound.

The attackers were well-prepared, carrying large bags of almonds to keep up their energy during a long siege. One backpack found contained 400 rounds of ammunition.

India has been shaken repeatedly by terror attacks blamed on Muslim militants in recent years, but most were bombings striking crowded places: markets, street corners, parks. Mumbai — one of the most highly populated cities in the world with some 18 million people — was hit by a series of bombings in July 2006 that killed 187 people.

The latest attacks began Wednesday at about 9:20 p.m. with shooters spraying gunfire across the Chhatrapati Shivaji railroad station. For the next two hours, there was an attack roughly every 15 minutes — the Jewish center, a tourist restaurant, one hotel, then another, and two attacks on hospitals.


Associated Press writers Ravi Nessman, Erika Kinetz and Anita Chang contributed to this report from Mumbai, and Foster Klug and Lara Jakes Jordan contributed from Washington.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Doctors on Stage

Doctors on Stage
The Lake Clinic Cambodia

Serving the Underserved

The Lake Clinic is a project dedicated to bringing basic healthcare, as well as disease surveillance and proper medical referrals to a severely isolated and underserved region of Cambodia -- the Tonle Sap.
Dr. Mette and Dr. Hal set up their respective areas while dental nurse, Phaly, provides oral health education to the early crowd.
Hal described his experience as "dental aerobics".

By Drs. Stein and Mette

Having passed the midway point in our two month mission to the floating villages of Tonle Sap, it is time for a first, brief summary and some reflection.

Being G.P.’s from a city-doctor-practice-in a well-developed country like Norway, we were well aware of the fact that not everything would be exactly like back home. Furthermore, we had been given valuable briefing and information by Jon and other informants prior to our first mission. The talks had been about the already existing health care system in Cambodia, which is not absent, but to the remote villages of Tonle Sap it is not easily accessible - it had been about a medical culture and thinking that is very different from the one in Norway , about illiteracy and ignorance, about TLC’s aims and goals and about our own expectations.
We thought we were to some extent prepared for the first mission.
Well, we were not really.

By the time we at lunch-time, reached the first village, Moat Klas, after a three hour ride in the village chief’s taxi boat, starting to unload our stuff, we already found ourselves surrounded by some fifty-odd villagers/patients wanting to see us. Within a few minutes we were having the first consultations, mediated by the young translator, Sothat. The patient waiting room was about 20 cm away, 50 pairs of eyes following every word and move we made, while discussing themselves in between in Khmer. Add to this a huge machine for fish-chopping in full action abut 4 meters away, and an on-going boat race on the river lake, producing a cacophony of sound rising to unbelievable peaks. We found ourselves in the middle of an absurd theater, playing the main parts.

With the help of our crew, we slowly got better organized, and we were able to communicate , understand or not understand, consider and give medication, and even to distinguish a few really sick patients whom without our presence would have been worse off.
Exhausted, excited, happy, overwhelmed and inspired we closed down the Lake Clinic at sunset the first day. An excellent Khmer dinner cooked by our midwife, Kim, finished the day, and by eight thirty, the batteries, and consequently the light (except for a spare battery serving the chief’s TV set transmitting a Cambodian Karaoke show!) went out, everybody turning to their hammock or mattress with mosquito-net, and with the help of modern pharmacy, we had a few hours’ well deserved sleep.

At this time we have completed 3 missions, whereof the last 2 on the restored TLC-1. You can imagine that the comfort is a little closer to our usual standards on the TLC-1 than on the chief’s fleet – and I have deliberately omitted the most private part of it – the TLC1 offers possibility for a cool shower and even a toilet.

Following the Hippocratic motto: Sometimes cure, often relieve, and always comfort, we realize that there is a long way to go for The lake Clinic. But everything has a beginning, and as we learn more about what is possible to obtain and what is not, as we learn better to understand and interpret the villager’s expression of health problems, and as doctors learn to live side by side with the ghosts, spirits and ancestors, we will slowly get better both in the here-and now situation, and hopefully also in contributing to basic health needs such as better nutrition, better hygiene, birth control, etcetera et cetera, the list is long.

We both feel privileged to have this unique opportunity to participate as pioneers from the very beginning in this ambitious project, - SERVING THE UNDERSERVED.


Jon Morgan is executive director of the Lake Clinic Cambodia.

From 1998 to 2007, Jon was the first executive director of the Angkor Hospital for Children, in Siem Reap, Cambodia. More about John Morgan

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thailand Protesters Shut Down Bangkok Airport

Thailand Protesters Shut Down Bangkok Airport

Members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy swarm a departure area at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, temporarily halting all outbound flights. The protesters are seeking the ouster of Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.

Hundreds seeking to oust the prime minister occupy the terminal, prompting officials to cancel all flights. Protest sympathizers and government supporters clash on the streets; 11 are injured.

By Paul Watson
November 26, 2008 (Los Angeles Times)

Reporting from Jakarta, Indonesia -- Hundreds of protesters seeking to topple Thailand's prime minister seized Bangkok's international airport terminal Tuesday, forcing cancellation of all flights.

Members and supporters of the People's Alliance for Democracy stormed through police lines at Suvarnabhumi Airport and into the fourth-floor departure area, according to reports from Bangkok. They were armed with metal rods, sticks and golf clubs.

That forced officials initially to suspend outbound flights. Before they canceled all air traffic, some arriving flights were rerouted to the northern city of Chiang Mai or the southern resort island of Phuket.

Images of angry tourists stranded in an airport terminal besieged by demonstrators were being broadcast around the world just as struggling resorts and hotels prepare for the peak vacation season. The multibillion-dollar tourism industry is a crucial component of the Thai economy.

Protesters demanded that airlines get their permission to use the airport, and they briefly entered the control tower.

Earlier Tuesday, Thai television showed alliance supporters firing pistols and slingshots at government supporters who had pelted the protesters with rocks as they rode in a truck from a demonstration at Don Muang airport, Bangkok's older and smaller airfield.

Eleven people were reported injured, most of them government supporters. One was in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat set up temporary offices at Don Muang after thousands of alliance supporters ringed the parliament building last month. Somchai escaped then by climbing over a back fence.

The six-month standoff pits the alliance, drawn mainly from urban Thailand, against Somchai's more numerous rural backers. He is due to return today from a summit of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders in Peru.

Somchai is the brother-in-law of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was forced from power by a bloodless military coup in 2006. The opposition regards Somchai as a puppet of Thaksin, a mobile-phone tycoon.

Last month, the Supreme Court found the former leader guilty of corruption for having violated conflict-of-interest rules in helping his wife buy land from a government agency at cut-rate prices.

The 2006 coup was sparked by widespread protests, and the People's Alliance for Democracy appears to hope it can provoke military intervention again. But military commanders repeatedly have said they will not step in.

Analysts have suggested the alliance is losing support from its main backers in business and among the middle class as they feel the effect of the worsening global economy.

The anti-government alliance launched what it called "the last battle" on Monday, but failed to bring 100,000 supporters into the streets as it had predicted. Police said one-tenth that number demonstrated outside Don Muang airport. Calls for a national strike have also gone largely unheeded.

"The PAD needs to increase the level of the demonstration and use nonviolent protest and close Suvarnabhumi Airport to send a final word" to Somchai and his government, the alliance said in a statement. It called on the prime minister to "resign immediately and without conditions."

Watson is a Times staff writer.



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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rebuilding Cambodia (Video)

Rebuilding Cambodia: Cultivating a New Generation of Women Leaders


In the 1970s, essentially all of the educated population of Cambodia were murdered in the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge. Cambodia today, despite its rich culture and stunning temples, remains a devastated country, suffering from poverty, lack of education, and corruption. The best hope for Cambodia lies in improved education and new leadership. To that end, Lightman and Smead have been working to empower a new generation of women leaders in Cambodia. (Studies by the U.N. and World Bank have repeatedly shown that the most effective method of helping third world countries is through education of its women.) The critical obstacle to higher education for women in Cambodia , remarkably enough, is housing. Universities in Cambodia do not provide housing for their students. Male students can live in the Buddhist temples but not females. Seizing upon this weak link in the chain, in 2006, Lightman and Smead's nonprofit organization built the first dormitory for female college students in the country. The Harpswell Foundation Dormitory and Leadership Center for College Women in Phnom Penh not only provides free room and board and medical coverage to its 36, carefully selected residents. The facility also gives them English and computer classes, leadership training, and critical discussions of national and international events. After two years of operations, these young women are at the tops of their classes at the 7 different universities they attend and are committed to leading their country into a new era of hope and transformation. In another two years, a new crop of 36 outstanding young women will enter the mentorship and cultivation of the Harpswell facility, and in ten years, we will have a powerful force of over a hundred women dedicated to revolutionizing their country. This is a story of how a small, highly-targeted nonprofit organization can potentially change an entire country.

In this illustrated lecture, Chenda Smead, who escaped Cambodia in 1979 at the age of 18, will describe her family's experience living under the Khmer Rouge. Alan Lightman, founding director of the Harpswell Foundation, will discuss the work of the Foundation, the strategy of leadership training and maximum social impact for minimum investment, and the challenges facing modern Cambodia.

Speaker: Alan Lightman
A physicist and novelist, graduated from Princeton University and received a PhD in physics from the California Institute of Technology. Lightman has served on the faculties of Harvard and MIT, where he was the first person to receive a joint appointment in the sciences and the humanities. Lightmans novel Einsteins Dreams was an international bestseller, and his novel The Diagnosis was a finalist for the National Book Award. After a life-changing trip to Cambodia in 2003, Lightman founded the nonprofit organization The Harpswell Foundation, which has been working to empower a new generation of leaders in Cambodia.

Speaker: Chenda Smead
Chenda Smead is a Khmer Rouge genocide survivor who escaped Cambodia in 1979 as a refugee to the U.S. and later graduated from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln with degrees in computer science and mathematics.

She has helped build a school in Siem Reap and a Learning Center near Phnom Penh, as well as contributed significantly to the Harpswell Foundation Dormitory and Leadership Center for College Women in Phnom Penh. Ms. Smead is on the Board of Advisors of the Harpswell Foundation.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Funeral Schedule - Mr. Peter Khoy Saukam

Funeral Schedule
Mr. Peter Khoy Saukam

Friends and relatives,

With a heavy heart, I am sad to communicate the death of Mr... Peter Khoy Saukam, who passed on Friday November 14, 2008 due to natural causes. He was 94 years old and a beloved member of the Cambodian community. Father and grandfather figure to many, he touched many lives and will continue to do so through his legacy. He will be deeply missed by family and friends. Funeral services will take place November 20-22, 2008. The details are provided as below.

Yukluy Sar (North California - Bay Area)

Mr. Saukam was born in Cambodia on February 2, 1915 to the parents of Kam Siv and Uy Sinn Loeung. When Mr. Saukam was 25 years old, he enlisted in the Royal Khmer Army. Mr. Saukam served in the Cambodian Military for 35 years. In 1953, Mr. Saukam achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel, and then went on to become Lt. General. Mr. Saukam served as President of the Senate of the Khmer Republic in 1972. From April 1 to April 12, 1975, Mr. Saukam served as acting President of the Khmer Republic.

In 1975, Mr. Saukam moved his family to the United States, where he originally settled in Houston, Texas. Then, in 1984, he moved to Stockton where he has resided for the past 24 years.

Mr. Saukam is survived by his children Bopharin Saukam of France, Vanan Saukam, Vanchan Saukam, and Vanrith Saukam all of Houston, Texas, Sophala Saukam of France, and Bophasy Saukam of Stockton. Mr. Saukam is also survived by 21 grandchildren, three of whom live in Stockton, Sytana Dany Khloth, Bonaka Dean Khloth and Boramy Tina Khloth. Mr. Saukam is preceded in death by his wife Mrs. Vom Tep Saukam, his son Vanroeun Saukam, his daughter-in-laws Chantharin Saukam and Bunthoeun Saukam, his parents Kam Siv and Uy Sinn Loeung, and 2 siblings.


Mr. Peter Khoy Saukam
Funeral Schedule
11/20/08 - 11/22/08

Thursday 11/20/08
10:00 AM Visitation at Warren Wallace Funeral Home at 520 N. Sutter St to 3:00 PM Stockton, CA 95202 – Tel (209) 466-6993

3:00-3:30 PM Mr. Saukam is taken to Wat Dharmawararam Cambodian Temple at 3732 E. Carpenter Rd – Stockton, CA 95205 at (209) 943-2883

4:00 PM Buddhist Ceremony at the Cambodian Temple

Friday 11/21/08
7:30-8:30 AM Buddhist monks prepare Dany and Dino for monkhood for that day

9:00 AM to Noon Buddhist Ceremony at the Cambodian Temple followed by lunch offering to the Buddhist monks, and then followed by lunch buffet for friends and family

1:00 PM Escorted funeral procession from the Cambodian Temple to Lodi Memorial Park & Cemetery at 5750 E. Pine St – Lodi, CA 95240 Tel (209) 333-7171

1:30 PM Witness Cremation at Lodi Memorial Park & Cemetery

4:00 PM Buddhist Ceremony at the Cambodian Temple

Saturday 11/22/08
9:00 AM to Noon Buddhist Ceremony at the Cambodian Temple followed by lunch offering to the Buddhist monks, and then followed by lunch buffet for friends and family

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Siem Reap Airways Blacklisted

Siem Reap Airways Blacklisted


PHNOM PENH - THE European Commission has added Cambodia's Siem Reap Airways to a safety blacklist that bars carriers from flying to the 27-nation bloc, a statement said on Monday.

The executive branch of the European Union issues periodic lists of airlines from around the world that it says do not meet its safety standards and cannot travel to EU countries.

'The commission has imposed an operating ban on the main air carrier from Cambodia, Siem Reap Airways International', the EC said in a statement on its website.

'The airline does not operate in compliance with the Cambodian safety regulations nor does it meet the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),' it said.

'Significant concerns have also been expressed by ICAO with regard to the ability of the Cambodian civil aviation authorities to implement and enforce the international safety standards', said the commission.

Siem Reap Airways and Cambodian aviation officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Siem Ream Airways is a subsidiary of Bangkok Airways International.

It is licensed by the Cambodian government to operate domestic services between Phnom Penh and the tourist hub Siem Reap - gateway to the Angkor Wat temples - but does not operate directly to Europe. -- AFP

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General Hok Lundy Was Widely Feared

General Hok Lundy, Cambodia's Notorious and Brutal Police Chief, He Was Widely Feared

By Tom Fawthrop
The Guardian, Wednesday November 12 2008

General Hok Lundy, Cambodia's notorious police chief and close ally of prime minister Hun Sen, has died at the age of 58 in a helicopter crash. He was travelling from the capital, Phnom Penh, to the south-eastern province of Svay Rieng. None of the helicopter's other occupants - General Sok Saem, deputy commander of the Cambodian infantry, the pilot and co-pilot - survived the crash.

A four-star general and member of the politburo of the ruling CPP (Cambodian People's party), Hok Lundy was a man who inspired fear not only in opposition ranks, but also in members of his own party. Born in Svay Rieng, he first rose to prominence as the governor of Phnom Penh in 1990. Four years later, Hun Sen appointed him national police chief, reporting directly to the prime minister. He never took orders from Sar Kheng, his nominal boss as minister for the interior.

In the aftermath of a bloody power struggle in 1997 between partners in the coalition government, many royalist generals were captured and killed in cold blood. Hok Lundy played a key part in these mopping-up operations and extrajudicial executions. A Funcinpec (royalist) party minister, Ho Sok, was detained at the interior ministry and shot dead by a police unit there. It is known that Sar Kheng had ordered the police to ensure Ho Sok's safety, but Hok Lundy chose to handle things his own way, according to high-ranking sources close to the minister.

This was later confirmed by Heng Pov, the former Phnom Penh police chief, after he fell out with Hok Lundy. While he was on the run from criminal charges stacked against him, Heng Pov accused Cambodia's police supremo and security chief not only of murdering Ho Sok, but also the union leader Chea Vichea and film star Piseth Pilika, in revelations to the French magazine L'Express.

Diplomats in Phnom Penh routinely referred to Hok Lundy as a "thug". This reputation was further enhanced by his role in the burning of the Thai embassy in January 2003. The police chief, who was normally no fan of demonstrators, had permitted anti-Thai protestors to run riot, attacking Thai-owned properties all over Phnom Penh. In the aftermath of this violence he persuaded the prime minister to sack the capital's popular governor, his arch-rival Chea Sophara, as a scapegoat.

That Hun Sen sided with his police chief was no surprise, as Hok Lundy had already married his daughter off to one of Hun Sen's sons, thus consolidating close family ties among Cambodia's clannish ruling elite.

Lundy was also implicated in drug trafficking, the return of refugees to countries where they faced persecution and human trafficking. Two US Drug Enforcement Agency officials and a former unnamed US ambassador to Cambodia confirmed to Human Rights Watch that the US government was aware of Hok Lundy's involvement in drug trafficking. In February 2006, the US State Department's human trafficking office specifically cited Hok Lundy's alleged involvement in human trafficking as grounds for denying him a visa. That decision was linked to a brothel raid in December 2004, after which Hok Lundy reportedly ordered the release within hours of several traffickers, before an investigation could be conducted.

However, after 9/11 the Cambodian government had become cooperative in the war on terrorism. In March 2006, the month after the refusal of a visa, the FBI nonetheless awarded Hok Lundy a medal for his support for the US global war on terrorism, and the US ambassador to Cambodia, Joseph Mussomeli, praised Lundy's cooperation with the US in drug trafficking and human smuggling. State Department officials confirmed at the time that Hok Lundy had been invited to visit the FBI specifically because of his purported cooperation in counterterrorism. When, in April 2007, the FBI invited him to Washington for such discussions, Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch's Asia director, commented: "Hok Lundy's alleged involvement in political violence and organised crime in Cambodia means that the FBI should be investigating him, not hosting him."

The sudden death of a man who had made many enemies has sparked much speculation in Cambodia that the helicopter crash may not have been an accident, despite reports of bad weather. The helicopter caught fire, and the government has promised an investigation. Many people would have cause to celebrate the death of Cambodia's Mr Untouchable.

A French online agency, K-Set, has reported that Chea Mony, the brother
of the slain trade unionist and presidentof the Free Trade Union of Workers in the Kingdom of Cambodia, has said that the death of the top policeman means that the number of murders of politicians, entertainers and Cambodian reporters will undoubtedly be reduced, but regrets that he was never brought to justice.

Hok Lundy, soldier and police chief, born 1950; died November 9 2008

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Government Mourns Police Chief's Death

Cambodian Government Mourns Police Chief's Death

Hok Lundy's funeral (Photo: Pring Samrang, Cambodge Soir Hebdo)

Click on the photo to zoom in (Photo: Koh Santepheap newspaper)
Published: November 10, 2008
The Associated Press

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Cambodia's government began preparations Monday for the funeral of the country's controversial national police chief, a close ally of Prime Minister Hun Sen who was killed in a helicopter crash.

Police Commissioner-General Hok Lundy, 51, died Sunday night when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed in Svay Rieng province in southeastern Cambodia, apparently because of bad weather.

Hok Lundy had a reputation for ruthlessness as well as loyalty to Hun Sen, whose son is married to the late police chief's daughter.

"His death is bound to be a significant loss to Prime Minister Hun Sen" with whom he had both good working and personal relationships, said Lao Monghay, a senior researcher of Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission.

Police Lt. Gen. Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, which oversees the police force, described Hok Lundy's death as "a great national loss and a profound sorrow for the police force."

Last year, the New York-based group Human Rights Watch urged the U.S. government to cancel a visa issued to Hok Lundy to attend an FBI-sponsored conference on human trafficking, accusing him of having ordered an extrajudicial killing and involvement in drug smuggling and human trafficking.

Cambodian government officials dismissed the Human Rights Watch allegations as nonsense.

Hok Lundy attended the conference, though the U.S. had denied him a visa in early 2006 for reasons never made public.

Hok Lundy's helicopter lost contact with air controllers about 15 minutes after it took off from the capital, Phnom Penh, on Sunday, Khieu Sopheak said. He said bad weather was likely responsible, but an investigation is under way.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

General Hok Lundy, dies in helicopter crash

Cambodian police chief, General Hok Lundy, dies in helicopter crash

09 Nov 2008
Source: Reuters
PHNOM PENH, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Cambodia's national police chief, a close ally of Prime Minister Hun Sen, was killed with three other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday evening, the information minister said.

General Hok Lundy was on his way from the capital, Phnom Penh, to his native province of Svay Rieng accompanied by a military general and two pilots.

"According to the information I received, no one survived the crash," Information Minister Khieu Kanharith told Reuters.

The cause of the crash was unclear. The private helicopter came down in Romduol district, about 80 km (50 miles) southeast of Phnom Penh, officials said. (Reporting by Ek Madra; Editing by Alan Raybould)


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Tuol Krasaing's Gallery

Tuol Krasaing's Gallery

Sacravatoons no 1209: "Tuol Krasaing's Gallery"
(By Pen Bona Cambodge Soir Hebdo)
Several popular singers and actresses have been abused in recent years. It is believed to Piseth Pilika murdered in 1999, Touch Srey Nic, wounded by bullets in 2003 - it has followed intensive care in Bangkok and the United States. The last such case of early 2007, with the aggression of Pov Panh Pitch, treated in Vietnam. Common denominators of these murders and attempted murders: revenge wives from powerful families, and the impunity of gunmen, none have been prosecuted so far.
Piseth Pilika

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Little hope for DJ Ano to survive

Rumor mills: Little hope for DJ Ano to survive from the razor blades attack

07 Nov 2008
Rasmei Kampuchea (by Ki-Media)

Even though sources from the Cambodian police and from the court claimed that there is no information and no complaint about the razor blade torture perpetrated on TV presenter DJ Ano, several artists confirmed that “violence on DJ Ano did occur and she is currently in serious condition.”

Information about the razor blade attack on the entire body of DJ Ano was reported by the Sophorn and Procheaprey (Popular) magazines.

DJ Ano, whose birth name is Suon Pheakdei, is a well known presenter of TV3 station in Phnom Penh. She is not a very young star anymore, as she is now 27-year-old.

In its 16th edition published for the period of 02-15 November 2008, the Sophorn magazine reported that the wife of a high ranking official kidnapped her, had her head shaved and her face cut with razor blades because this wife was angry that DJ Ano had an affair with her husband. The magazine claimed that DJ Ano was sent to Vietnam and that there is little hope that she will survive the attack. The report did not provide details about where and when the almost fatal assault took place.

Chuon Narin, chief of the serious crimes in Phnom Penh, told Rasmei Kampuchea in the afternoon of 06 November that: “I heard this information also. My force went to do research on it, but there is no sure source that could confirm it up to now, and there is no complaint brought up about this case either.”

General Touch Naroth, Phnom Penh police commissioner, made the same statement also, and the Phnom Penh court claimed that there was no complaint about DJ Ano’s case.

Nevertheless, some artists claimed that DJ Ano who was attacked by razor blades has only about 20% chance of survival because she lost too much blood from the attack. However, these sources asked to remain anonymous.

Special artists from TV3 channel claimed that the attack on DJ Ano was perpetrated by the wife of high ranking official who ordered 3-4 of her bodyguards to kidnap DJ Ano and threw her in a car. At first, the bodyguards used razor blades to shave DJ Ano hair, they then proceeded to cut her face with the blades also. Later on, they cut her entire body from top to bottom with razor blades and even her genital part was not spared. The source added that DJ Ano was very seriously injured and her family rushed her out of the country for medical care.

All the sources consulted by Rasmei Kampuchea claimed that the razor attack on DJ Ano is 100% true, and some even gave the name of the country where DJ Ano was sent to for medical care. According to one group of sources, she would be sent to Malaysia, while a second group claimed that she was sent to Vietnam instead. It appears that information from the second group is more accurate because Rasmei Kampuchea received the news on 06 November that she was sent to Vietnam.

The source consulted by Rasmei Kampuchea indicated that, as of now, there is only 20% chance that DJ Ano will survive because she lost too much blood during the attack.

DJ Ano was born as Suon Pheakei, she used to have a love relationship with a Filipino man and a Thai man. After her breakup from her Filipino boyfriend, she was asked for marriage by a Cambodian expat living in the US. Following her breakup with her fiancé from the US, DJ Ano received a warning from a woman telling her to be careful because she may be splashed with acid. The Sophorn magazine claimed that prior to her liaison with the high ranking government official, she was linked to the owner of massage parlor.

DJ Ano did not have any relatives in Phnom Penh, and her house is Phnom Penh is unknown. But, a number of sources indicated that she had an adopted elder sister, and that this sister would be an important witness in this attack case.

Up to now, TV3 does not the whereabout of DJ Ano. Kong Socheat from TV3 claimed that DJ Ano did not come to the station for the past 2-3 weeks.

Liaison with a married man is believed to be the source of this violent attack case.


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Another attack against the star, DJ Ano

Another attack against the star, DJ Ano

Friday, November 07, 2008
Dear Editor,

I would like to provide my opinion in the assault case against DJ Ano!

It is true that all human beings are hurt when their loved-one is being taken away from them. However, the savage violence which took place and that was used to resolve this case brings shame to Cambodia honor: not only was Khmer pride being destroyed by this act, but also Buddhist Ahimsa (non-violence) has been cheapened shamelessly.

I am begging all our compatriots to resolve their disputes peacefully in order to preserve the honor of Cambodia which used to be a famous empire in Asia.

Thank you,

Ana Nov

07 Nov 2008
By Pen Bona
Cambodge Soir Hebdo (Translated by translate.google.com)

The Cambodian press echoes, for several days of a case of aggression which would have been the victim DJ Ano, an actress and television presenter, particularly popular among young people.

Soun Pheakdei, known as DJ Ano, has disappeared from the screens of the municipal television channel TV3 for several days. This surprising absence has raised a stir among viewers. However, some newspapers and magazine gave one DJ Ano aggression which would have been a victim. The merits of the case would be a revenge by a jealous wife, probably a member of a powerful family. Based on the facts reported by the media, the young woman of 27 years had shaved heads and the disfigured face off with razor blades by male hands of the wife of "lok thom." In serious condition, she was sent to Vietnam for treatment.

This case is not based on time on anonymous sources. Neither the police nor the managers of the chain of TV3 have confirmed this. There is no direct testimony, no photograph circulated of aggression. No complaint has been filed by the family of the actress, who has not provided statements to the press. The rumor was however among the media like wildfire ...

Several popular singers and actresses have been abused in recent years. It is believed to Piseth Pilika murdered in 1999, Touch Srey Nic, wounded by bullets in 2003 - it has followed intensive care in Bangkok and the United States. The last such case of early 2007, with the aggression of Pov Panh Pitch, treated in Vietnam. Common denominators of these murders and attempted murders: revenge wives from powerful families, and the impunity of gunmen, none have been prosecuted so far.


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South-East Asian countries seek economic integration

South-East Asian countries seek economic integration

(lefrt-right) Prime Ministers Thein Sein from Myanmar, Samchai Wongsawat from Thailand, Nguyen Tan Dung from Vietnam, Hun Sen from Cambodia and Bouasone Bouphavanh from Laos at a summit summit in Hanoi (AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam)

Business News (monstersandcritics.com)
Nov 7, 2008

Hanoi - The global financial crisis might bring economic benefits for countries in South-East Asia, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Friday at a regional summit in Hanoi.

'The rich people in Europe, the buyers in America will not buy expensive clothes produced in Europe anymore but the cheaper goods produced in Cambodia and Vietnam,' Sen said.

Most of the other businessmen and political leaders at the summit focused on the need to integrate South-East Asian economies to create a larger market more resilient to economic shocks.

They met at the Arrawaddy-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy summit, which brings together Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in a rivers-related regional development forum initiated by former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2003.

The vice chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce, Hoang Van Dung, said the five countries should focus on harmonizing regulations, eliminating duplicate customs inspections and creating a single regional travel card to promote tourism.

Oknha Kith Meng, president of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, said the region should expect severe economic challenges as reduced demand in their wealthy export markets made itself felt.

'These problems that we face are not of our making,' Meng said. 'However, we have to expect that our economies will be buffeted by this global storm.'

Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein hailed the establishment of an East-West transit corridor to link his country's Indian Ocean coastline with Vietnam's ports on the South China Sea. Sein also said the regional development forum had played a role in encouraging Thai investment in Myanmar, which reached 4 billion dollars in the past fiscal year, which ended in March.

Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said the regional road network constructed under a framework called GMS was nearly complete but said better customs coordination and more industrial zones along the transit network were still needed.

Somchai called on forum members to enhance 'self-reliance' within the region, to create more intraregional trade and cushion the impact of the global financial crisis.

More than 350 business representatives from South-East Asia and the region's trading partners, including Japan, the United States, Russia and South Korea attended the conference.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Obama in Cambodia

Obama in Cambodia

By Elena Lesley
Posted October 31, 2008 (Source: Huffingtonpost.com)

PHNOM PENH -- Since early September, American nationals have flocked to Phnom Penh's Foreign Correspondents' Club restaurant every Saturday night. The political debates they come to watch may have happened days earlier -- and been replayed on TV multiple times. And, as with the Palin vs. Biden debate, electricity blackouts might repeatedly disrupt the screening.

Still, the FCC events regularly attract a full house.

"Americans in Cambodia are turning out in droves," Wayne Weightman, the Cambodia chair for Democrats Abroad recently told me. "People may have already seen the debates, but they want to watch them together."

While they may be living thousands of miles from home, working in a poverty-stricken Southeast Asian country, Americans in Cambodia are well aware of this election's significance. As are their friends of other nationalities -- Cambodian, French, German, Australian, Korean. As an American, I am always struck by the amount of attention paid to U.S. politics by citizens of other countries -- we certainly do not return the favor -- and this year, interest is especially keen.

As Weightman told me: "It's not just Americans in Cambodia, but all nationalities in Cambodia. The whole world is watching this."

I was also in Cambodia for the 2004 presidential election. Although there was certainly a good deal of interest in the election's outcome at that time, the local political activity this year has far surpassed what I saw in the past. Conversations and debates about U.S. politics buzz throughout the city's expat bars and cafes. Foreign-run restaurants are planning to start broadcasting election results in the early morning of Nov. 5 -- which would be the evening of Nov. 4 in America.

A dynamic Democrats Abroad chapter here has helped motivate the already energized electorate. Weightman is the force behind the organization. An immigration consultant from Hawaii who has lived in Cambodia for the last eight years, he remembers the disappointment he felt in 2004: "I was sitting in a little hotel room in Thailand watching Fox news, because that's the only channel they had. I was ill watching the results."

Weightman vowed to get more involved in Cambodia's fledgling Democrats Abroad chapter. Although he happens to be a high school friend of Barack Obama's, he says he would have become chair of the organization this January no matter who the Democratic nominee was.

"It's been a huge, huge undertaking," Weightman admitted. "I've put a lot of my life on hold."

Including his honeymoon, which had to be postponed so Weightman could organize a February primary at Phnom Penh's "USA Donuts." His house has been transformed into Democrats Abroad headquarters, filled with banners, baseball caps and "I voted for Obama from Cambodia" t-shirts.

"If we were any more grassroots, we'd be digging a hole in the ground," Weightman joked.

He says the local effort has built momentum over time and now has a devoted base of volunteers. They spend eight- to ten-hour stretches manning desks at the FCC, helping Americans navigate the labyrinth of state voter registration procedures and absentee ballot deadlines. Volunteers even assist Republican voters, who do not have a comparable party organization in Cambodia.

Weightman admits that voting from abroad "is not a simple process. What your little ballot has to negotiate to get to being counted could make an incredible film."

Each state has different regulations and deadlines. The process usually involves multiple mailings, faxes and email correspondence with people who have no sense of the conditions of the place you are voting from. (I nearly laughed when I received an email from my home state suggesting I pick up materials at any "library, post office or DMV office.") And a developing country like Cambodia, with its shaky phone lines and sluggish postal system, is more challenging than many.

There are around six to seven million Americans living overseas, and while it's against Democrats Abroad policy to disclose at this point how many people the group has registered, participation in Cambodia "has dwarfed our expectations," Weightman said. "The amount of people we've touched is amazing."

No doubt many of them will skip work next week and gather in front of two big screens at the FCC, waiting to see if their labor-intensive votes made an impact.

"I don't live in America, but it's still my country," Weightman told me. "Nov. 5, I want to feel I did all I could."

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