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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Review 2008

Review 2008

Review 2008

January

FREEDOM WARNING

• The crackdown on demonstrations and public rallies during 2007 by the ruling CPP may herald the further curtailing of freedoms in the country, an annual human rights report by Adhoc says.

TRIBUNAL BUDGET

• The ECCC revises its budget upwards to almost US$170 million from an original $56.3 million, with most of the increase going to the administration, in particular to employ more staff.

February

BROTHER NO 2 APPEALS

• Former Khmer Rouge second-in-command Nuon Chea appeals against his pretrial detention, saying that there was no risk of him fleeing as he has "no desire to leave his beloved country".

EVICTION CRISIS LOOM

• Two NGO reports allege that 150,000 Cambodians are at risk of forced evictions, but senior government officials deny that there are forced evictions in the country.

FOOD STRIKES

• Two weeks of strikes over the cutting of food allowances force the Phnom Penh Garment City Co Ltd factory to close.

March

RICE EXPORT BAN 

• To combat soaring rice prices, the government announces a ban on rice exports. But analysts doubt whether the measure can keep prices under control for long.

OPPOSITION DEFECTIONS

• An increasing number of senior members defect from the SRP and are welcomed with open arms by the ruling CPP ahead of the July election.

CHILD SEX SCANDAL

• Alexander Trofimov, head of a planned US$300 million investment project off the coast of Sihanoukville, is sentenced to 13 years in prison for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

April

PHNOM PENH ON FIRE

• Seven major fires and 20 minor ones hit Phnom Penh in just the first four months of 2008, representing a significant increase over previous years.

MARRIAGE BAN

• The government suspends marriages between foreigners and Cambodians out of concern over a "bride export industry".

REBEL LEADER CONVICTED

• A US court convicts Cambodian rebel leader Chhun Yasith for leading a bloody coup attempt against Hun Sen in 2000.

May

KHMER ROUGE HISTORY

• Cambodia's Education Ministry approves long-debated plans to teach the dark history of the Khmer Rouge in high schools.

HEADSCARVE ALLOWED

• PM Hun Sen directs that all Khmer Muslim students be allowed to wear Islamic attire in class.

ANTI-LAND-GRAB MARCH

• Hundreds of farmers who lost their land march on Phnom Penh, to protest increased number of land-grabbing incidents.

June

SRP MEMBER ARRESTED

• SRP newspaper editor and parliamentary candidate Dam Sith is arrested over alleged defamation against CPP leaders.

DEMINERS RETURN

• 135 Cambodian UN soldiers return after a year long mission in Sudan, where they used their landmine expertise to help demine areas in the strife-ridden African country.

NIGHTMARE JAIL CLOSES

• The Koh Kor detention facility in Kandal province, where scores of drug addicts, street kids and the mentally ill had been detained under grim conditions, closes after two months.

July

TEMPLE GAINS FAME 

• Unesco decides to list Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.

TENSIONS OVER TEMPLE

• Thousands of Thai and Cambodian soldiers amass at Preah Vihear temple in the biggest military buildup in years, causing concern among regional leader over open conflict.

CPP WINS ELECTION

• The parliamentary election ends in a sweeping victory and an absolute majority for the CPP, while Funcinpec is almost obliterated.

GUEST WORKERS TO QATAR

• Cambodia will start exporting guest workers to Qatar, a senior Ministry of Labour official says.

August

KRT OFFICIAL FIRED

• The chief of personnel of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, Keo Thyvuth, is removed from office over allegations that staffers paid kickbacks in order to retain their posts at court.

DIPLOMATIC STALEMATE

• The foreign ministers of Thailand and Cambodia meet to resolve the border standoff at Preah Vihear temple, but talks make only limited progress.

DUCH FIRST TO BE INDICTED

• The former chief of the notorious S-21 prison Tuol Sleng is the first among the five Khmer Rouge leaders to be formally indicted for his crimes against humanity and breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

September

RANARIDDH PARDONED

• Prince Norodom Ranariddh, found guilty of embezzling Funcinpec funds in 2007, receives a royal pardon at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

RAMPANT CORRUPTION

• Cambodia falls to 14th-most corrupt country on earth and second-most corrupt in Asia, according to an international index.

CPP TAKE KEY POSITIONS

• A new government is sworn in with the CPP taking all but one key position in parliament, while opposition SRP and HRP boycott the session.

October

CLASHES AT PREAH VIHEAR

• As renewed border clashes claim three Cambodian soldiers' lives at Preah Vihear temple, PM Hun Sen threatens war before tensions slowly subside.

PRINCE QUITS POLITICS

• Having returned from exile in Malaysia after his royal pardon, former prime minister Norodom Ranariddh announces he will quit politics.

TAINTED MILK SCARE

• Government inspectors seize Chinese dairy imports from store shelves to have them checked for the poisonous chemical melamine.

November

WATER FESTIVAL

• Tens of thousands of Cambodians stream into the capital to celebrate the annual Water Festival.

FOOD AID SHORTFALL

• Hundreds of villagers in Cambodia's northwest demonstrate, claiming local officials withheld emergency food handouts from the Asian Development Bank.

POLICE CHIEF KILLED

• National Police Chief and Hun Sen ally Hok Lundy dies in a helicopter crash in Svay Rieng.

MARRIAGE BAN LIFTED

• After eight months, the government lifts a ban on marriages between Cambodians and foreigners aimed at reducing human trafficking. 

December

FOLK ARTIST DIES

• Revered Cambodian folk artist Svay Ken, who gained popularity for painting scenes from everyday life in the country, dies at age 75 after a long illness.

VISA EXEMPTION

• A visa exemption agreement between Cambodia and Vietnam comes into force, allowing citizens of both countries to stay for 14 days using their valid passports. 

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