SERGEI Polonsky is either freed or extradited
Once among Russia’s richest businesspeople, ex-real estate billionaire Sergei Polonsky is now behind bars in Phnom Penh. He was first imprisoned in January after several Sihanoukville boatmen accused Polonsky of threatening them with a knife at sea. Although freed on bail in April, Russian courts then charged him with embezzling $176 million back home. He was re-arrested in November. The question now is whether Cambodia will send Polonsky back to Russia, keep him locked up here or allow him to live freely in the Kingdom as an international fugitive
Cambodian maids return to Malaysia
Ministry of Labor secretary of state Othsman Hassan announced last month that Cambodian maids may return to Malaysia as soon as 2014. A moratorium on sending maids to Malaysia was enacted in October 2011 after stories of violence and abuse emerged. But a memorandum of understanding is currently in the works that will allow the resumption of Malaysian domestic work recruitment in the Kingdom. Such an agreement, said Hassan, will include enhanced safeguards to hold recruitment agencies responsible for the workers’ treatment.
Thailand complies with Preah Vihear ICJ ruling
The International Court of Justice ruled in November that the promontory on which Preah Vihear temple sits is Cambodian territory. Thailand, however, has yet to officially accept the ruling. Cambodia has been patient, with Information Minister Khieu Kanharith saying in November that the government would not “rush” Thailand’s implementation of the ruling. But with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s future uncertain as the political situation in Bangkok continues to deteriorate, it is unknown if and when Thailand will accept the ICJ’s decision.
Construction on new airport begins in Siem Reap :
After much delay, ground is scheduled to be broken for Siem Reap’s second airport in early 2014. Approved in late 2010, the new airport is expected to handle between 10 to15 million passengers per year. Siem Reap’s current airport handles the majority of Cambodia’s tourist air traffic, with 766,000 foreigners touching down in Siem Reap between January and August this year compared to Phnom Penh’s 541,500. The airport’s site, which will be owned by Korean companies Camco Airport Co Ltd and Lees A&A, is located 60 kilometres out of town.
Genocide RESEARCH institute designed by Zaha Hadid breaks ground:
Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid, whose buildings have graced major corners of the globe, will design the Documentation Centre of Cambodia’s Sleuk Rith Institute. The institute envisioned by DC-Cam’s executive director Youk Chhang as a leading genocide studies centre in Southeast Asia, has been years in the making, and is expected to break ground this year. Last year, she told 7Days that she and her team will take influence from Cambodian elements of style.
The Last Reel is released:
There’s been a lot of buzz about a new film set to come out of Cambodia – The Last Reel, starring sixties screen siren Dy Saveth. The film follows the story of a directionless daughter of a colonel who runs away from an arranged marriage and makes her home in an abandoned cinema. Inside, she finds an incomplete melodrama from the pre-Khmer Rouge ‘golden era’ of film and tries to remake the missing last reel. Filmmakers are in post-production, and aim to screen at major film festivals. Hanuman Productions, the largest locations services company in the country, is behind the film.
Khmer Rouge Tribunal resumes:
The second Khmer Rouge Tribunal sub-trial for Khieu Samphan, former Head of State of Democratic Kampuchea, and Nuon Chea, former Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, is scheduled to begin this year – though exactly when is still unclear. Hearings in February will discuss the fitness of the defendants to stand trial and what charges will be tried in the new case, but issues to be resolved before evidentiary hearings can begin include whether to start Case 002/02 while drafting a verdict in Case 002/01. Following the death of co-defendant Ieng Sary, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the ruling that Ieng Thirith, former Minister of Social Affairs, is unfit to stand trial, the prosecution is under pressure to wrap up the trials of the octogenarian defendants.