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Friday, November 28, 2008

Cambodia sentences Russian pedophile to 8 years in 2nd trial

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia's Sihanoukville Municipal Court has handed down a second child-sex conviction to Russian businessman Alexander Trofimov for soliciting sex with an underage girl, sentencing him to an additional eight years in jail, state media reported Friday.

The 41-year-old former chairman of Koh Puos Investment Group, who is already serving six years for sexual assault in Cambodia's largest-ever pedophilia case, appeared in court for sentencing after missing the first two days of his trial, his lawyer, Saing Vannak, was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post as saying.

He added that he was unsure whether Trofimov would appeal the ruling.

"I will talk to my client about whether to appeal," he told the Post after the sentence was handed down.

Trofimov was convicted on one of two counts of purchasing sex from a minor, brought by a single victim.

The second count involving 17 victims is still under investigation, with a verdict expected later, said Teng Maneth, a legal officer at the anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour les Enfants.

This week's trial was the third attempt to get Trofimov into court after a lack of lawyer delayed earlier trials.

Trofimov was arrested in 2007 and first stood trial in March of this year on charges of abusing a 13-year-old girl.

He was sentenced to 13 years, but his prison term was slashed to seven years by the Appeals Court in October.

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Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia further co-operation on development triangle

Leaders of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia signed yesterday a Vientiane Declaration on strengthening the development triangle co-operation and approved the joint agreement of the fifth summit. These were a part of mechanisms to further their co-operation on development triangle area discussed at fifth summit of the Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh of Laos, his Vietnamese and Cambodian counterparts Nguyen Tan Dung and Samdech Hun Sen in Vientiane on 26 November. At the summit, the joint co-ordination committee has also signed the MoU to build the policy for attracting and provision of facilities to promote trade, investment and tourism in which the mechanism has been asked to determine in order to realise the said MoU.

Mr. Bouasone Bouphavanh, Prime Minister of Laos has said that the signed agreements are very importance and significance because it would be a fundamental principle as well as the key reference for the member country to develop the development triangle area with sustainable, richness and prosperity manner. He added that in order to reach the goal of development triangle, the member country has to double work, particularly to increase the fund to develop the infrastructure and human resources.

During the event, the three sides has agreed to build the forum for business sector and propose to organise the meeting for leaders of three countries with business sector at the next summit. Laos and Vietnam has expressed thanks to Vietnamese government for its great assistance on human resource development. They also agreed to encourage the exchange visit of youth leaders from three countries and considered to organise the meeting for the youth leader of the three countries during the next summit.

On this occasion, the leader of the countries has unanimously agreed that the 5th CLV summit held in Vientiane on 26 November has reached with highest successful and met the target goals.

In addition, the three PMs agreed to propose the ASEAN Secretary - General to ask the Thai government to confirm the hosting of 14th ASEAN Summit.

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Official: Thai crisis adversely affects border talks with Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, The current situation of Thai politics has affected negatively its border negotiation with Cambodia, said Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong here on Friday.

"I can say that the complicated situation of politics in Thailand has exactly negative impact on the border discussion and plantation of border makers between Thailand and Cambodia," he told reporters after coming back from a regional meeting in Laos.

Both sides have already agreed to hold foreign ministers' meeting next month in Siem Reap and the experts from the two countries are also scheduled to measure the land, plant border makers and cleaned the mines near the Preah Vihear Temple during the same month, he said.

The resolution of the border matters now depends on the Thai side's situation, he said.

"We still need more time and are following the situation in Thailand," he added.

In October, Cambodian and Thai troops exchanged fire on their disputed border area, killing two and wounding a dozen.

Prior to the clash, the ownership of the Preah Vihear Temple caused both sides to maintain military stalemate near the border for weeks.

During this period, rounds of meetings were held, but all failed to find common ground on the border issue to break the stand off.

The two countries have 790-km-long border line, but only with 73 border posts which were planted in 1907.
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