Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tax chief backs Daily shuttering

Tax chief backs Daily shuttering

Cambodia Daily staffers check the paper’s final story list last month. The paper ceased publication after a tax dispute.
Cambodia Daily staffers check the paper’s final story list last month. The paper ceased publication after a tax dispute. Ananth Baliga

Tax chief backs Daily shuttering

Tax Department head Kong Vibol yesterday defended his handling of a dispute with the now-shuttered Cambodia Daily, telling attendees at a tax forum that his department only followed procedure by assessing the newspaper’s liabilities and that it was the Daily that sought to politicise the matter.

The Daily ceased operations on September 4 after it was handed an “exorbitant” $6.3 million tax bill and given a month to, as Prime Minister Hun Sen put it, “pay up or leave”. The frequently critical paper failed to come up with the money, and its closure coincided with the expulsion of US-backed NGOs and the closure of more than a dozen independent media organisations.

“So the case of the Cambodia Daily is that they never came forward with the proof that we did something wrong,” Vibol said. “Except they go and take the issue to the press [claiming] that we are trying to shut down the press.”

He added that had the Daily followed tax procedures, it could have appealed the bill, and also could have taken a staggered approach to paying it.

The newspaper’s former deputy publisher, Deborah Krisher-Steele, and former general manager, Douglas Steele, could not be reached.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Using tech innovation to tackle Cambodia’s rampant road deaths

    Cutting corners, rampant phone use, speeding and driving through red lights – these are just some of the reasons why driving in Phnom Penh can often feel like a city-wide game of dodgems. The high death toll on the nation’s roads – combined with several high-profile