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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cambodian vessel detained for poaching in Russia's Far East

VLADIVOSTOK, December 16 (RIA Novosti) - A Cambodian trawler with 14 Russian crew members onboard has been escorted to the Russian port of Nakhodka, in the Primorye Territory, after being detained for poaching crab, a regional coast guard chief said on Tuesday.

"The crew members did not obey border guards' instructions to stop the vessel. The captain tried to sink the vessel and twice ordered the crew to open the Kingston valves," said Vladimir Lakizo, who heads the region's Border Guard Service for the Russian Federal Security Service.

Kingston valves allow sea water to enter a boat's fuel, water and ballast tanks, and can be used to scuttle a vessel.

The border guards discovered more than 5,000 crabs onboard the vessel, which had already been detained in early 2008 for poaching, although at that time there was not enough evidence to impound the vessel, Lakizo said.

A total of 19 boats, including 11 foreign vessels, have been detained by Russia since the start of the year, he added.

This year, Russia has launched a crackdown on the illegal export of crab and other seafood. Since January, Russia's border guards have returned to the sea more than 246,000 live crabs, with an estimated commercial value of over 170 million rubles ($6.1 million).

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Experts predict Cambodian real estate market to recover by 2010

PHNOM PENH, Dec. Economists said that the nearly one billion U.S. dollars in foreign aid pledged to Cambodia by donor nations last week could boost the country's sagging real estate market as early as 2010, national media reported Tuesday.

Kang Chandararot, president of the Cambodia Institute for Development Study, told the Phnom Penh Post that he expected the real estate market will rebound in two years, largely on the strength of foreign aid.

"If the government uses the aid to develop the country...then I think real estate may begin to stabilize," he was quoted as saying by the Post.

But he cautioned that aid would not boost prices to the unprecedented levels seen last year.

Local real estate peaked in 2007 and 2008, partly driven by South Korean investment.

The market started to drop in September, although low transaction volume and scant figures make the depth and impact difficult to assess.

Kang Chandararot said foreign investment would be key to rebuilding the sector, but that other factors, such as the global economic crisis and border tensions with Thailand, could remain obstacles to growth.

Hang Choun Naron, secretary general for the Ministry of Economy and Finance, agreed that the sector was poised to recover.

"I (think) the real estate market will return to normal within the next two or three years," he told the Post.
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