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Archive for Cambodia

Newsline: Vietnamese consulate receives ‘constant calls day and night’ from victims of human trafficking in Cambodia

The Vietnamese consulate in Cambodia has been receiving dozens of rescue requests from victims of human trafficking as rescue efforts face several challenges. Amid the ongoing human trafficking crisis in Cambodia, the Vietnamese consulate in Sihanoukville has been receiving numerous calls from victims on a daily basis. “Recently calls have been coming day and night and constantly. We don’t dare turn off our phones,” Consul General Vu Ngoc Ly told VnExpress. (https://news.yahoo.com/vietnamese-consulate-receives-constant-calls-231019114.html) The consulate has been collaborating with Cambodian authorities to carry out joint operations in rescuing Vietnamese individuals who have been lured and held captive by human traffickers. The crime syndicates operating in Cambodia have targeted individuals from Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. Thousands of people are lured by traffickers promising them “easy jobs with high wages,” when in reality, they are exploited and held as prisoners.

Newsline: Jailed ex-ambassador to South Korea granted pardon in Cambodia

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni has signed a royal decree to deliver a pardon to former ambassador to South Korea Suth Dina at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen. In the royal decree released on Saturday, the monarch granted amnesty to Dina, 49, who was convicted of abuse of power and embezzlement and sentenced to five years in prison in 2016. Dina, who had served as the Cambodian ambassador to South Korea for 25 months, was arrested by the country’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) in April 2016 following a raft of complaints against the former envoy. (http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-05/16/c_139061943.htm) At that time, the ACU announced that an investigation had found that Dina had 7.2 million U.S. dollars in cash, up from 4.2 million U.S. dollars when his ambassadorial appointment began in Feb. 2014. Also, the former ambassador owned 12.7 kilograms of gold worth about 500,000 U.S. dollars and several houses and pieces of land. The ACU said Dina had embezzled 116,995 U.S. dollars from selling visa stickers and withdrew more than 180,000 U.S. dollars from the embassy’s administrative budget for informal salary expenses. In December 2016, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced him to five years in prison for abuse of power and embezzlement.

Newsline: South Korean diplomat stationed in Cambodia relieved for sexual misconduct allegations

A South Korean diplomat stationed in Cambodia has been relieved from the post following allegations of sexual harassment against a female embassy employee, an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The diplomat, whose name and position have been withheld, was ordered to return to Korea and is currently undergoing an internal investigation by the ministry regarding the allegations. On Tuesday, several local news outlets quoting the ministry official reported that, according to a ministry probe, a diplomat dispatched to the South Korean Embassy in Cambodia was released from his position in July for making inappropriate physical contact with a female employee and making unpleasant remarks in March and May. (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190911000556) The Foreign Ministry is in hot water as this case marks the latest in a series of irregularities and misbehavior involving high-level workers. In July, a consul general in Japan was relieved from his position and investigated by police regarding accusations of sexual misconduct in the workplace. A year before that, a senior diplomat stationed at the embassy in Pakistan was suspended from his position for three months for sexually molesting a lower-ranking worker. The ministry has maintained a no-tolerance policy on sexual misconduct since 2017, after former Ambassador to Ethiopia Kim Moon-hwan was expelled and imprisoned for sexual abuse charges against three of his female staff members.

Newsline: China’s embassy mocks US over Lon Nol claims

The Chinese Embassy in Cambodia issued a statement singling out the US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), not the US government itself, as the culprit in the 1970 Lon Nol coup d’etat, apparently mocking last week’s denial by the US Embassy in Cambodia of its country’s involvement. “Recently the embassy of a world superpower claimed publicly that its government had nothing to do with the Lon Nol-led coup d’etat in the early 1970s.” “Of course, the coup that led Cambodia to suffer from a long civil war was not caused by the ‘US’, but the CIA,” the statement said, accompanied with photos of newspaper clippings from the time and pictures of US bombs being dropped on the Kingdom (https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national-politics/chinas-embassy-mocks-us-over-lon-nol-claims). The Chinese Embassy’s statement comes in response to a US Embassy statement denying its country’s involvement in the 1970 Lon Nol-led coup d’etat that overthrew Prince Norodom Sihanouk. The coup indirectly resulted in the rise of the Khmer Rouge regime and a decade of turmoil in Cambodia. The US’ statement also implicated the Chinese government in supporting the Khmer Rouge, accompanying its message with a series of photos, one of which depicts Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot and the then Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Wang Dongxing, together.

Newsline: Embassy denies US role in 1970 Cambodian coup d’etat

The US Embassy in Cambodia claimed on its official Facebook page that there was no evidence the US government was involved in Lon Nol coup d’etat that precipitated much of the unrest that ravaged the country in the years after (https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national-politics/embassy-denies-us-role-lon-nol-coup-detat). “We would like to highlight that the US was not involved in the coup leading to Lon Nol coming to power. Up to now, there has not been any evidence proving the US was involved.” “Instead, there is a lot of evidence proving that the Chinese government actively supported the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979 and in eras after that,” read its statement written in Khmer. The coup, which occurred on March 18, 1970, saw Prince Norodom Sihanouk overthrown with Prime Minister Lon Nol taking his place. Despite denials by the US government, many believe it orchestrated the overthrow. It is generally considered a major turning point in the Cambodian civil war and a major contributor to the rise of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. The embassy’s message came in response to claims by Cambodian Facebook users implicating the US government in the events of 1970.

Newsline: Cambodia to re-open embassy in Bulgaria

Cambodia will re-open its embassy in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, in 2019. Prime Minister Hun Sen and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov met in New York on Friday, Sept. 28, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. On that occasion Hun Sen told his counterpart about the planned re-opening of the embassy that was temporarily closed due to the tenuous political situation in Bulgaria at the time. Mr Borissov welcomed the re-opening of the Kingdom’s embassy in his country and told Hun Sen that it is an opportunity for him to pay an official visit to Bulgaria. Both countries pledged to to enhance cooperation and strengthen their relationship in economic, commercial, and touristic matters.


Newsline: Cambodia to open embassy in Turkey

The Foreign Ministry announced that Cambodia will open an Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, in 2019. This will play an instrumental role in augmenting cooperation and partnership between the two countries. Furthermore, Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn will pay an official visit to the Republic of Turkey from October 1 to 3.


Newsline: Sacked US Embassy guards in Cambodia stage protest

Almost three dozen security guards fired by the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia for allegedly sharing pornography on smartphones they used for work held a protest Tuesday demanding proper compensation from their former employer. The 32 protesting guards said they had been sacked without a full explanation and not according to the law, and placards they held complained of injustice. The protesters acknowledged that some pornographic images had been shared but argued that it had been on a private chat group they had set up on Facebook Messenger and not the official embassy chat group. Reports in Cambodia media had said some images featured people under the age of 18, but one placard declared the allegation unproven. A spokesman for the embassy, David Josar, said it did not comment on internal personnel matters but took the problem of child pornography seriously and also respected the right to peaceful protest. An embassy official accepted a petition from the group. The protesters claimed the phones at issue were their own property, not the embassy’s. They also accused the embassy of violating their rights by searching their phones. The guards said their terms of employment at the embassy ranged from five to 20 years. They said since they got fired in late March, they have filed several complaints with the embassy, but had not received a satisfactory response. Until the matter was fairly resolved, they said, they would continue to protest.


Newsline: Thirty-two US embassy workers in Cambodia fired over alleged sharing of pornography

The United States embassy in Cambodia has fired 32 people after they were allegedly caught sharing pornographic material in a non-official chat group, several sources familiar with the matter said on Friday. Four sources told Reuters that pornographic videos and photographs, including some featuring people under the age of 18, were shared in a Facebook Messenger chat group. Some of the images were seen by the wife of an embassy worker who reported the incident to an official at the embassy. The matter was then forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the sources said. “They had their identification cards taken and some of their phones checked,” a former U.S. embassy staff member told Reuters on condition of anonymity. He said the 32 embassy workers included Cambodians and Cambodian-Americans. Many were guards and some were clerical staff. There were no diplomats among them, they said.


Newsline: Malaysian arrested in Cambodia over embassy row

A 49-year-old Malaysian was arrested by municipal immigration police after he caused a disturbance at the Malaysian embassy in Phnom Penh. Noun Boreth, a municipal immigration police officer, identified the man arrested as Felix Melvile Emmund, a Malaysian tourist. He said that yesterday morning at about 7am, Mr Emmund went to the Malaysian embassy, where he informed officials that he had lost his passport. While seeking help, Mr Emmund became upset because embassy officials were not being cooperative, claiming that it was the second time he had lost his passport. “He was angry at the officials at the embassy for not solving his problem,” said Mr Boreth. “He then made trouble at the embassy, disturbing their work. “The officials at the embassy reported him to the chief of municipal police for intervention,” he added. “He was later arrested by our police.” He added that after his arrest, the suspect was sent to the immigration department at the Ministry of Interior for questioning, where he remains.