Police say they now consider the enacted hostage crisis in Kampong Cham province Wednesday a hoax, masterminded by an employee of a local bank who was in debt and wanted to rob his own bank. (VOA Khmer Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh.)
The Cambodian Center for Human Rights has launched a public campaign to put pressure on authorities to release Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando from prison. The campaign includes a “justice calendar,” which tracks the number of days he has been in jail, and a postcard design competition for the jailed radio broadcaster. Mam Sonando has been in jail since his arrest in July, on charges he helped foment a secessionist group in Kratie province. Rights workers have said he was arrested after criticizing Prime Minister Hun Sen. VOA Khmer Say Mony reports from Phnom Penh.
On Jan. 7, Long Beach police shot and injured a burglary suspect named Hor Sokha. It took 10 days before family was allowed to see the 22-year-old man in the hospital. This has angered many in the community who believe the city's police department is prone to excessive force. Protesters on Sunday gathered outside St. Mary Medical Center, where Hor Sokha is in critical condition. They gathered to demand clear answers about what happened the night of the shooting. VOA Khmer Sophinarath Cheang reports from Long Beach, California.
The United States is looking forward to making sure the US-Cambodian relations grow stronger after the visit of US President Barack Obama to Cambodia in November, according to US Embassy spokesman Sean McIntosh. In a recent interview with VOA Khmer, McIntosh said Obama has decided to make Southeast Asia and Asia a closer partner to the US. “The US core interest is in economic prosperity, stability and security here,” he said. “And I think it also speaks specifically to Cambodia because the United States and Cambodia have just celebrated over 60 years of diplomatic relations.” While some political analysts say the increased US attention to the region is to counter the growing influence of Beijing, McIntosh said the US encourages the economic growth of China.