Chinese Company’s Monument to Disaster

Chinese Company’s Monument to DisasterA vast, ornate, moldering gambling resort complex on the Gulf of Thailand has come to embody many of the problems plaguing foreign projects in Cambodia – lack of transparency, poor planning, environmental hazards and displacement of local communities. The resort, built by the Tianjin-based Union Development Group (UDG), a Chinese entity, was meant to be…

Logging Corruption in Vietnam and Cambodia

Logging Corruption in Vietnam and CambodiaIn a new report that promises to make waves all the way to Europe, the watchdog Environmental Investigation Agency takes aim at Vietnam's timber processing industry and the role it plays in the illicit timber trade from Cambodia. The study comes just days before Vietnam and the European Union are meant to finalize their discussions…

Cambodia’s Virachey National Park in Danger

Cambodia’s Virachey National Park in DangerOn a January late afternoon I was sitting in a small jungle clearing about 500 meters over the Cambodian border in Laos, utterly lost in a lost world. It was almost completely silent save for the melodious warble of an unseen bird. There is almost nothing which demarcates the international border between Cambodia and Laos…

Cambodia’s Capital City Reaches for the Sky

Cambodia’s Capital City Reaches for the SkyPhnom Penh -- the city the Khmer Rouge emptied in 1975 – is now a sprawling urban center of 1.7 million people whose skyline could soon be unrecognizable as a slate of skyscrapers are either planned or under construction – and possibly just in time for a rude property shock in a market characterized by…

Cambodia’s Illegal Logging Crisis

Cambodia’s Illegal Logging CrisisTree cover loss in Cambodia has accelerated faster than in any other country in the world since 2001, so fast that Prey Lang, one of Southeast Asia's last great forests, is disappearing. Supposedly that has alarmed Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, who in February threatened to fire rockets at illegal loggers. Environment Minister Say Samal…

Illegal Viet Rice Floods Cambodia Market

Illegal Viet Rice Floods Cambodia MarketAn estimated of 800,000 tonnes of low-quality Vietnamese milled rice has been imported illegally into Cambodia since 2015, flooding the domestic market with cheap rice driving small domestic millers out of business because they have been unable to compete. After being a net exporter of milled rice, Cambodia became a net importer   2015 with these…

Cambodia Goes After Opposition Well in Advance of Elections

Cambodia Goes After Opposition Well in Advance of ElectionsAfter taking a relative drubbing during 2013 elections, when the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won only 68 of the 123-member parliament’s seats, the government headed by Hun Sen, is now trying to silence the opposition. Fearing a worse election result, Hun Sen is determined to intimidate the oppositon stay in power after community and…

Cambodia’s Stateless Vietnamese

Cambodia’s Stateless VietnameseUp to 750,000 Vietnamese people are believed to be living in Cambodia, about 5 percent of the country's population, but no one knows for sure. They are almost universally stateless. Few qualify for Cambodian citizenship. Since land can’t be purchased without proper documents, most have settled in floating hamlets scattered on Cambodia's large rivers, where…

Analyst’s Murder Highlights Cambodian Misrule

Analyst’s Murder Highlights Cambodian MisruleMinutes after prominent Cambodian independent political analyst Kem Ley was gunned down in broad daylight, police arrested a “suspect” who had “confessed” to the assassination. Within hours, a video of the suspect’s interrogation—the man bleeding from the head and scared witless—was released to the TV Station BTV, which is 100 percent owned by the daughter…

Southeast Asia’s Rivers Run Dry

Southeast Asia’s Rivers Run DryThe dry months before the monsoon rains arrive are often tough for Cambodian fishermen and farmers. But with rivers drying up and drinking water running out, conditions have rarely been as bad as they are now.  The current drought is linked to El Niño, which has been disrupting weather patterns around the world. But the harsh…
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