dimanche, août 13, 2006

Heng Pov case

News from Cambodia N° 633E


Khemara Jati
Montréal, Québec
August 12th, 2006

It seems that there is a certain resemblance or similarity between the Heng Pov's affair and that of the mayor of Phnom Penh Chea Sophara's dismissal.

Indeed, on February 16th, 2003, under Hok Lundy's order, Hun Sen kicked Chea Sophara out. As mayor of Phnom Penh, Sophara acted in favor of all the Phnom Penh inhabitants interest. Sophara did not give any privilege to any Vietnamese in regard to the Cambodians. And after the Vietnamese unhealthy sandwich houses in Phnom Penh get fire, Sophara obliged these Vietnamese to go living somewhere else. For the Vietnamese Hok Lundy, it is an act of Lese-majesty against the Vietnamese. There is also Sophara's will to open Preah Vihear temple allowing Cambodian and foreign tourists to visit it any seasons by reaching the temple of Preah Vihear from Cambodian side. He is also plan to build the cable railway at Preah Vihear. For that purpose he begins to build a feasible road during rainy season from Cambodia. While Hanoi promised with Bangkok that Preah Vihear temple can be easily accessible only from Thailand. Too much is too much. Hok Lundy orders Hun Sen to replace Chea Sophara by the current mayor Kep Chuktema, more docile and more respectful of the Vietnamese inhabitant interests especially for those living in Phnom Penh. Moreover the thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra does not come and invites Hun Sen for a lunch at Preah Vihear? By doing that does not Thailand confirms openly that Preah Vihear belongs to them?

An example of the new Phnom Penh mayor Kep Chuktema obedience. According to the well known Cambodian architect Van Molyvan, the extension of Phnom Penh, the most logical, should be made in the North-south axis, along the Mekong and along the Bassac and transform Takhmau into a satellite town of the capital. According to this plan, the Vietnamese community of Chbar Ampov would necessary to be expelled[1], and also the entrenched camp of Tuol Krasaing where Hun Sen is living. To avoid dislodging the Vietnamese out of Chbar Ampov, the project imposed by the Vietnamese to enlarge the capital is to be Westward instead, in spite of the distance from Pochentong airport. Chea Sophara would not never accepted such an absurd project.

With Heng Pov, it is another business. Chea Sophara has the safe life because he does not know much the secret schemes of Hok Lundy and Hun Sen. Heng Pov, him, on the contrary, he knows almost all shady and criminal cases which the current regime would like to hold secret. The current regime and Hok Lundy in particular, has no interest to see Heng Pov alive and free to speak.

Of course Heng Pov is probably a criminal, but certainly much less than Hok Lundy and the other criminals in the current regime. In The Cambodia Daily of August 11th, 2006, there is a long article concerning Heng Pov, wrote by Phann Ana and Adam Piore. In this article there is a very interesting passage describing how Heng Pov was able to occupy his post in the police:

« Heng Pov was born into an ethnic Vietnamese – Chinese family in Prek Phnov village, Ponhea Leu district, Kandal province. Heng Pov’s law enforcement career began shortly after his 1981 marriage to an older Vietnamese woman, named Tung Thi Van, who was the daughter of Tung Pov, a powerful vietnamese agent in Phnom Penh government.

« At his father-in-law’s urging, Heng Pov joined the police force on March 11, 1982.”

Then, in Cambodia, there is a big number of very powerful Vietnamese in the army, the police among the high personalities of the current regime. Cambodians know it long time ago. What is interesting is that now we know at least two names Hok Lundy and Tung Pov. Cambodians would like to know biographies of this kind concerning the high personalities of the army, the police of the current regime women and men as well. Richer of Cambodia, as the Vietnamese known under the name of Yeay Phu. Cambodians would also like to know a history of the Vietnamese company Sokimex, the Vietnamese bank Canadia and their wealth evaluation in any kind including their real economic powers even political matter.

According to Cambodians in Cambodia, Heng Pov disappeared since already a while ago. Now we know that Heng Pov is in Singapore. Then abruptly Hok Lundy accuses Heng Pov of crimes, embezzlement, etc.

Also let us underline that the current regime have found a million of US dollars in Heng Pov account in the vietnamese bank Canadia. The secret of the accounts in this bank is more hermetic than in the Swiss banks. Let us remind that Hun Sen opened an account in the name of Piseth Pilika with a sum of 200 000 US. After the death of Pilika, these 200 000 US are transferred back to Hun Sen without problem. In a normal way for a normal bank, 200 000 US belong to Pilika. After her death these 200 000 US belong to her legal successors. Nobody can appropriate these 200 000 US. Does not this fact prove that everything is possible in this vietnamese bank Canadia? Now this bank also manages the Bank of Cambodian foreign business. Why do major powers accept such an infringement in the rules of all the banks of the world? Cambodians would like to know also the amount of Hok Lundy bank accounts, Hun Sen and the other personalities currently in power of all level including in the army and in the police as well.

So, after Heng Pov flight to Singapore, during the first period, it is likely that Hok Lundy tries to negotiate an amicable classification with Heng Pov. But Heng Pov knows perfectly Hok Lundy's craftiness and ever trusts in the promises never held by Hok Lundy.

The testimony of Heng Pov can enlighten us on the bottoms of numerous massacres and murders. Heng Pov can destabilize the tandem Hok Lundy - Hun Sen’s power. Is it in interest of major powers? Especially now when Cambodia is known as a place of very rich in hydrocarbon deposits ?

In these conditions, which country will dare to grant the political asylum to Heng Pov and to make in public his testimonies?

We reproduce below the article of the The Cambodia Daily of August 10th, 2006, entitled « Heng Pov moving on to Third Country » by Douglas Gillison and Phann Ana. This article brings the opinion of certain number of Cambodians living in Phnom Penh. In these opinions we would prefer to underline the opinion of Chea Vannath as follow :

« So far the investigation of the grenade attack in front of the National Assembly by the [US Federal Bureau of Investigation] never became public," she said, referring to a March 1997 grenade attack on a Sam Rainsy Party demonstration that killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 100.”

Then it does not show that the USA have no interest to destabilize Hun Sen?

Below is an article of The Cambodia Daily dated August 10th 2006 :

“Heng Pov Moving on to Third Country”
By Douglas Gilllson and Phann Ana
"We know what our competent officials are doing but it is completely dark."--Khieu Sopheak, Interior ministry spokesman, on the state of several high-profile murder investigations
Fugitive former Phnom Penh police Chief Heng Pov has left Singapore and was traveling Wednesday to an unidentified third country, his Australia-based lawyer David Chen said.
Chen said an official statement from Heng Pov, who on Monday claimed to have information on criminal activity in the government, will be issued when both lawyer and client have arrived at their destination.

"He is on his way to a third country, the name of which you will find out in due course," Chen wrote in an e-mail.

"I will be flying out to join him in that third country tonight, too.... An official statement from Mr. Heng Pov will be issued when we arrive," Chen wrote.

"I hope you appreciate the sensitivity of this matter and I apologize for being a bit vague at this stage," he added.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Tuesday that Heng Pov-- who is wanted in Cambodia in connection with a host of crimes-- did not qualify for asylum under the laws of any nation.

Heng Pov's much-publicized flight and the accusations against him have returned the question of high profile, unsolved killings in Cambodia to public view in spectacular fashion.

After three years, authorities at last alleged in recent days that it was Heng Pov who was behind the April 2003 killing of Municipal Court Judge Sok Sethamony.

Police have also alleged that Heng Pov plotted to kill Military Police Commander Sao Sokha, Chief Municipal Court Prosecutor Ouk Savouth and Electricity du Cambodge official Kim Daravuth, who was shot in the neck in November but survived.

But the rapid progress in investigating Heng Pov's alleged criminal activity stands in harsh contrast to other unsolved high-profile murders and shootings, human rights workers said.

In July 1999, much-loved Cambodian actress Piseth Peaklica was gunned down execution-style as she shopped in Phnom Penh. Piseth Peaklica, who died a week later, was widely rumored to have been the mistress of a top government official. Her 8-year-old niece was also shot in the back by the gunmen, but survived.

Singer Touch Srey Nich, then 24, survived three gunshots to the head and neck in October 2003 after unidentified assailants opened fire in Phnom Penh. Her mother was killed. Touch Srey Nich had recently recorded songs in favor of the royalist party.

Two days earlier, an assassin approached Chuor Chetharith, 37, a reporter for the pro-Funcinpec radio station Ta Prohm FM 90.5, and killed him with a single shot to the head. In February of the same election year, Sam Bunthoeun, president of the Buddhist Center for Meditation of Udong, was shot dead by gunmen outside Wat Lanka. Sam Bunthoeun was apparently in favor of monks voting in the general election.

Evidence for the convictions of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, who were convicted in August 2005 of the murder of Free Trade Union leader Chea Vichea, has been heavily disputed.

Ros Sovannareth, a chief representative for the FTU, was also shot dead in May 2004. Thach Saveth, an RCAF paratrooper, was convicted of that killing in February 2005.

An RCAF paratrooper was also convicted of killing Funcinpec advisor Om Radsady, who was shot dead in February 2003 as he left a restaurant in Phnom Penh.

"It's many years already but the government has not given the public the results of their investigations," Kem Sokha, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said Wednesday.

Heng Pov's fall from grace could be the result of internal conflict, Kem Sokha said, hastening to add that he had no idea what could have motivated the other unsolved killings.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the government was making an honest effort to find the killers in all the lingering cases. "We know what our competent officials are doing but it is completely dark. Excellency Deputy Prime Minister [Sar Kheng] still pushes to continue investigation into these cases but there is no light at all," he said.

"If we have any evidence, witnesses who can explain the cases, we will solve them," he said. 'The cases are not closed. We keep waiting until the criminals appear to arrest them."

Chea Vannath, former president of the Center for Social Development, said the prosecution of Heng Pov appeared to be "selective prosecution."

"I don't want to jump to any conclusions to be fair to everybody. But in my experience in institutions I know you cannot do anything without the blessing or the complaisance of your boss," she said.

She also said she doubted international investigations could shed light on what was happening in Cambodia.

"So far the investigation of the grenade attack in front of the National Assembly by the [US Federal Bureau of Investigation] never became public," she said, referring to a March 1997 grenade attack on a Sam Rainsy Party demonstration that killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 100.

The perpetrators of that crime have never been apprehended.

International investigations, such as the one launched by the UN into the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005, are reserved for world leaders and others of international stature, Chea Vannath said. The international community has little interest in disturbing the political status quo in Cambodia, she added.

"There are so many crises in Asia, in the world, the international community doesn't want Cambodia to be another one."

Conclusion :

On the current conflicts between the gangsters Hok Lundy and Heng Pov, this article gives us an occasion to know Cambodian opinions concerning numerous massacres and crimes committed in Cambodia since 1982. Is it in the major power interests to take this occasion trying to get interesting information regarding these crimes in order to have a new light on these massacres and crimes committed since 1982? Is it in the interests of major powers? In these conditions which country will dare to grant Heng Pov political asylum then ?

Note : Cet article est disponible en français sur demande.

[1] By acrossing Monivong bridge from Phnom Penh then turn to the right, after some hundreds metres, the Vietnamese make understand, to any Cambodian, that it is not allowed any more to any Cambodians to go farther. Otherwise it is for her own risks and perils.