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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cambodia calls for 15 border checkpoints

Thais suspect ulterior motive in disputed area

The Cambodian military has proposed 15 joint border checkpoints be set up in the 4.6-square-kilometre area near Preah Vihear temple also claimed by Thailand, a military source said.

The idea has been floated to the Thai military through Indonesia, as the incumbent revolving chair of Asean, and the Thai Foreign Ministry, but details have yet to be discussed, the source said.

The proposed joint border checkpoints, which would be overseen by observers from Indonesia, did not include one at Keo Sikha Kiri Savara pagoda, a temple in the disputed area claimed by Cambodia, the source said.

Most of the proposed checkpoints would be located in areas supervised by Thai troops, including Phu Makhua mountain, the source said.

The source said the proposal would put Cambodia at an advantage and there could be an ulterior motive for the suggestion.

There are more Thai troops stationed in the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area than Cambodian soldiers.

Cambodian soldiers will push for the setting up of the checkpoints during a visit to the border area by Indonesia, the source said.

The details, however, will be thrashed out at a meeting of the Thai-Cambodia General Border Committee in Indonesia on April 7-8.

The meeting will be co-chaired by Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and his Cambodian counterpart, Tea Banh.

The proposal came after the Suranaree task force halted construction of a two-kilometre-long road stretching from Pha Mor I Dang cliff to the ancient Sa Trao reservoir and stairway of the Preah Vihear temple.

Thai soldiers had completed 70% of the road when border clashes on Feb 4 brought construction to a halt.

They resumed building the road on March 4, prompting Cambodian soldiers to send a letter protesting against the construction.

Cambodian soldiers last week threatened to open fire if Thai soldiers continued, so the roadworks were suspended, the source said.
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Cambodia paedophile Nick Griffin accused of raping boy while working in Wale

By Darren Devine

PAEDOPHILE Nick Griffin, who used a Cambodian orphanage as a front for his sick urges, repeatedly raped a young boy while running a Scout group in North Wales, it was claimed today.

His alleged victim, now aged 23, told Wales on Sunday that Griffin – jailed earlier this month after being convicted of abusing children – attacked him over a two year period.

His shocking accusation – which is now being investigated by police – came as those who worked with the Griffin in Cambodia revealed they raised concerns about his relationship with young boys long before his arrest but were not heeded by authorities there.

Griffin, 53, was finally unmasked as a sex monster only last week when he was convicted of abusing young boys in the Cambodian orphanage he set up and ran for five years. He was jailed for two years for offences against children.

We found the alleged victim during an investigation into the eight years Griffin spent in North Wales before he emigrated to Cambodia in 2006.

During his time in Wales, Griffin was a fisheries manager and Scout leader in Llangollen.

His alleged victim told us he complained to the authorities at the time but believes he was not taken seriously as Griffin was “a respectable man” – an allegation North Wales Police last night told us they took “very seriously” and would investigate.

He said he was raped repeatedly between the ages of 13 and 15 by Griffin after he won his trust, and that the abuse had changed his life.

He said that he has since had sexual problems with partners and was found with indecent images of child abuse as an 20 year old and put on the sex offenders’ register by a court.

The Scout Association confirmed his account that Griffin had worked as a Scout leader in the Llangollen area during the early 2000s. A spokesman stressed all necessary checks had been done at the time and Griffin had no criminal record.

He said: “Local leaders in the area shocked and saddened by this man's actions. They’ve gone back through their records.

“We will obviously treat this matter very seriously. There is no place in Scouting for a man that abuses the trust of others.

“I would like to say that we have half a million members and the safety of young people is of paramount importance.

“We have a strict code of conduct for Scout leaders. It’s horrible and it has upset the local people that are doing brilliant work in the community.”

He told us Griffin worked as Scout leader in Llangollen, taking charge of young boys.

The alleged victim said the pervert, whom he said was also a former youth worker, started with low level abuse before raping him several times over a period of two years beginning when he was 13.

He said: “I knew him for a few years and then all of a sudden the abuse started.

“It’s completely messed up my life. It’s not a fact of trying to live with it because you can’t.

“It affects your relationships and your daily life. Now when I’m having sex with a partner I don’t like certain things being done because it brings back memories.

“He’d come into the room very slowly and sneakily and [abuse me].

“In those circumstances you’re a bit too scared to say anything. Also because he was a Scout leader we don’t know if there are any more victims.”

Griffin is believed to have arrived in North East Wales from London in 1998 with a property development firm, before going to work at the Glyn Ceiriog Upper Mills trout farm as a manger.

Shortly after arriving it is thought he tried to start up a Scouting group before becoming an assistant district commissioner in Llangollen.

His alleged victim claims he first went to the police in around 2004 about Griffin, but nothing came of his complaint at that time.

“It’s gratifying to find out that he’s in prison, but it’s not going to be for long really and when he comes over here hopefully the police will carry on with their investigation,” he said.

“He’d always had a sideline of working with children whether it was the Scouts or youth work.”

The man said he felt confused by the abuse and couldn’t talk to his parents because he didn’t know what to tell them.

“I didn’t really know what was going on.

“I was confused and just sort of accepted it.

“It wasn’t something I was familiar with and could talk about with somebody else so I just accepted it really.”

Griffin was arrested in a dawn raid in Cambodia last year that saw dozens of officers rescue as many as 100 youngsters from his care.

The children were moved to a safe house.

Griffin had been under investigation for more than two years following suspicions surrounding the fortress-like orphanage, which housed youngsters up to the age of 18.

He ran several centres for deprived and vulnerable children in one of south-east Asia’s poorest countries.

Sun Bun Thorng, of Siem Reap’s anti-human trafficking department, claimed Griffin faced several charges of child molestation in 2008.

These were dropped due to lack of evidence.

Griffin’s alleged Welsh victim said he began to realise what was being done to him was wrong when he started taking an interest in girls at around the age of 14.

“At the higher end of puberty where everything makes sense I started exploring girls and realising that what he was doing to me was wrong,” he said.

The man added he suffered from depression as a result, and had undergone counselling.

“I felt empty inside,” he said.

“Your emotions stop because there was nothing there. It was all forced upon.

“For so many years it was locked away. When I went to the police they disregarded it. The police officer thought he wouldn’t be doing it because he was such a respectable person. It was brushed aside completely.”

The man, who will remain on the sex offenders register until 2019, said he has since complained to the police again and the matter was being looked into.

A spokesperson for North Wales Police said they took the suggestion that the alleged victim’s complaint wasn’t properly investigated very seriously and would investigate the allegations.

His behaviour disturbed us from start, say staff at Cambodia orphanage: next page
We warned authorities about Nick Griffin, volunteers say: page three

His behaviour disturbed us from start, say staff at Cambodia orphanage

CHARITY volunteers who worked with Griffin in Cambodia told Wales on Sunday of the disturbing behaviour they witnessed.

Nick Griffin abused boys under the age of 15 at the orphanage he set up in Siem Reap but was only convicted last week – five years after he founded the institution.

Staff who worked alongside Griffin complained about him first in 2008 but the complaints were never proven and it was not until last year that he was arrested.

Sally Sayer, regional director of Volunteer Project Overseas, lives in Siem Reap and said she had become concerned about 53-year-old Griffin and the orphanage more than a year ago.

She said: “I didn’t have much to do with him at the start, but then in January last year I took over as project manager and I had a huge amount more to do with him.

“It was then that I started to look at things and think things were a bit odd.

“People were moving in to the orphanage and we did not know who they were. I was worried about the children.

“We took our worries to Nick and nothing was done about it. It was the whole set-up of the orphanage. I knew something was going on but I could not put my finger on what it was. I decided that we needed to pull out of the organisation.

“We started to ask questions about this man and what he had done before he came here. But we were ignored and accused of causing trouble and wanting to take over.

“There was one incident which I can remember, where we went for dinner one night and Nick came along.

“He brought one of the boys from the orphanage with him, he was about 14 years old. There was just something that wasn’t right with the body language between them. One of the volunteers came up to me and said ‘just tell me it’s not what I think it is’.

“The next day I went down to one of the coffee shops and the same boy was behind the counter.

“I asked why he was not at school and he said that he was spending time with Nick. He had an iPod with him and said Nick had given it to him. I just thought that it was very odd, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.”

The group then severed all ties with Griffin.

Sally said: “Rumours started to circulate about a previous incident with some boys. I went to ask him about them and he told me that he was with some friends one night and they wanted to see some street kids.

“He said they played with the street kids for a while and then said goodbye. He said the street boys then followed him home and he agreed to let them in for a drink. Then one of the boys opened his drawers and he was worried they would steal something so he asked them to go.”

Sally first met Griffin two years ago, and said he appeared friendly at first but then he began to change.

“When he was first there he did not seem unfriendly but he was very arrogant and he became unfriendly. He had a house with a massive high fence around it. You see things day in and day out and you see small things in people’s body language.”

But she says she is just happy to get a conviction in a country whose attitudes to child abuse have been complicated.

She said: “In Cambodia, a girl’s virginity is considered more important than a boy’s. Boys are thought to be like diamonds, they can be cleaned, but girls are like cotton, and once they are dirty, that’s it. The abuse that Nick did was with boys.

“If I’m totally honest I’m just grateful for a conviction, it could have gone the other way.

“After Nick was arrested we arranged for a bus to pick up the children and take them in. But then one of the trustees came and is running the orphanage.”

Nick Marsh, a trustee of VPO, added: “I can’t say I’m happy about the sentence but even a week in a Khmer prison will be better than 10 years in one of ours.”

Griffin was arrested during a dawn raid, which involved dozens of officers and as many as 100 youngsters were rescued and moved to a safe house.

He was caught after a joint operation by officers from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and the Cambodian National Police.

He had been under investigation for more than two years following suspicions surrounding the orphanage, which looked after children up to age of 18.

According to CEOP, Griffin had run a number of orphanages in a “tourist hotspot”.

The orphanage is now under new management.

In a statement on the Cambodia Orphanage Fund’s website, posted during the investigation, Lidia Linde, of the fund, said she wanted to “guarantee that this nightmare would never happen again.”

She said: “ I will not tolerate any action that will put in risk the life and dignity of the children, especially those who live in conditions of poverty, vulnerability or those who are abandoned.”

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Vietnam, Cambodia boost agricultural cooperation

The very close tie friendship between Cambodia and Yuon is very strange. Also for the co operations that Yuon asking Cambodia are never ended. Every cooperation, the Yuon was always asking for Land concessions or give up a piece of land, spying business or opening free traffic for Yuon to come and go or living in Cambodia illegally. Hun Sen should tell Yuon to plan rubber on its motherland.

Vietnam and Cambodia will jointly implement some 20 cooperative projects in agricultural science and technology, quarantine, forestry and seafood with a total investment of nearly VND365 billion (over US$17 million) from 2011-2020.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it will work with the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Seafood on the signing of a government-level agreement on growing 300,000 ha of rubber and industrial trees in Cambodia.

The two sides will strengthen cooperation in plant protection and veterinary as well as discuss measures to prevent the spreading of epidemics through borders.

They plan to sign cooperative agreements on the exchange of information and data on seafood, aquaculture development and research activities.

Vietnam and Cambodia will attach importance to sustainable forest management, the control of the trading of timber, forest products and wild animals as well as scientific and technological cooperation in forest development.

The two sides will speed up investment and trade activities in seafood processing and cattle-feed production.

In addition, Vietnam will also assist Cambodia in a VND50 billion aquatic breeding development project and a VND200 billion project to build a seafood research institute in Kampot province.

The two sides will also cooperate in developing safe vegetable production in border provinces.

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