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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Cambodia bans sand export for environmental protection

PHNOM PENH, The Cambodian government issued a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen here on Friday to ban sand export for the sake of environmental protection.

"In order to protect the balance of nature and environment in areas of sea and fresh water, the government has decided to allow sand business to meet domestic demand only," said the directive.

After examination by experts, sand dredging is only allowed in places where the balance of nature can be restored or water flow is obstructed, it said.

Meanwhile, the directive "terminates any sand export to foreign countries," too.

The Committee of Sand Management has to check sand trade immediately, and report all the involved institutions to the premier, it added.

According to local reports, Cambodia used to export 40,000 to 50,000 tons of sand per month from its coastal province of Koh Kong, and the annual value of this business stood at 35 million U.S. dollars.

Vietnam and Singapore were the major destination countries.

While sand business boomed, sand dredging frequently caused riverbanks and houses to collapse along the Mekong River and the Tonle Bassac River.
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Swede held for child sex crimes in Cambodia

A Swedish man in his sixties has been arrested in Cambodia on suspicions of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy.

The man, who resides in the Stockholm area, was arrested Wednesday night local time, but denies committing any crime.

According to the newspaper, the Swede was the target of an investigation into other child sex crimes, and was a figure in another investigation into child sex crimes in Cambodia which was abandoned in September last year.

Interpol’s division for child pornography crimes learned of the arrest on Wednesday.

“We’ve received information about it, but haven’t been directly involved in the arrest,” said Interpol’s Anders Persson from Lyon, France.

Varg Gyllander, a spokesperson with the Swedish police’s National Investigation Department (Rikskriminalen), confirmed that a Swedish man had been arrested in Cambodia and that they had received information that he was taken to a detention centre in the capital city Phnom Penh.
“What we’re doing now is making sure that the Cambodian police receive the help they need from us. We’ll help them out as best we can,” he said.

Police don’t know of the exact charges against the Swede, but it has something to do with the sexual assault of a child.

“All we can say is that he’s known for similar crimes from before,” said Gyllander to the TT news agency.

Local organizations which against paedeophiles in Cambodia are said to have had the man under surveillance for some time.

He is reported to have been in the country since 2007 and been in contact with small boys, according to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

Seila Samelang from Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), claims that, prior to his arrest, the man was living together with five boys and had launched an adoption bid with local authorities in Cambodia, according to SvD.
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