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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vietnam cop 'beat cabbie for not running light'

Taxis wait for customers in downtown Hanoi. A Vietnamese deputy police chief attacked and threatened to shoot a taxi driver for refusing to run a red light, a report in state-controlled media said Thursday

.A Vietnamese deputy police chief attacked and threatened to shoot a taxi driver for refusing to run a red light, a report in state-controlled media said Thursday.

Cabbie Do Quoc Thai said his passenger twice asked him not to stop at traffic signals and, when he insisted on obeying the lights, seized the steering wheel and threatened to shoot him, Tuoi Tre newspaper's website reported.

He said the man then used a belt to attack him during the alleged altercation on Sunday night in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

Running red lights is a routine practice among Vietnamese motorists.

The incident happened outside a local police station whose officers invited the pair in for questioning, Tuoi Tre reported. It identified the passenger as Major Bui Minh Thang, second-in-command of Hau Giang province's traffic police.

"Thang threatened the police and asked one official in the room to kneel and apologise to him," the report said.

Tuoi Tre reported that it interviewed Thang who said he had been drinking wine and beer before calling the cab.

Both the traffic police in Can Tho and neighbouring Hau Giang provincial police -- which are reportedly led by Thang's father -- declined comment to AFP.

Vietnam's traffic police are regarded by citizens as notoriously corrupt.

In a report last year the US-based Human Rights Watch urged Vietnam to investigate "widespread police brutality". The group said it had documented 19 incidents of reported brutality by law enforcers over the previous year, resulting in 15 deaths.
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Military opposes Cambodia border talks in Indonesia

Published on March 25, 2011

Prayuth asks Phnom Penh to host GBC meeting, opposes Indonesian observers in disputed territory

One of the two scheduled meetings between Thailand and Cambodia's two border committees will not take place in Indonesia next month as the Thai military opposes holding talks in a third country, senior government officials said yesterday.

Indonesia, as Asean chair, had called parallel meetings of the General Border Committee (GBC) and the Joint Boundary Committee (JBC) on April 7-8 in Bogor, to find ways to settle the border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.

Doubts arose about the meetings after Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and Army chief Prayut Chan-ocha said they did not want the military-run GBC to meet in a third country. The meeting should be held either in Cambodia or Thailand, Defence Ministry spokesman Thanathip Sawangsaeng said.

"The GBC is a bilateral mechanism on border affairs between Thailand and Cambodia. We have never had a meeting in a third country," he said.

Prawit said he had sent a letter to his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh to ask whether Phnom Penh was ready to host the next GBC meeting. "I believe Cambodia would call a GBC meeting soon," he said.

Following a recommendation from the United Nations Security Council, Asean had planned to facilitate the peace arrangement between Thailand and Cambodia after a major border skirmish in February. It proposed sending Indonesian observers to the disputed areas adjacent to the Hindu temple of Preah Vihear.

Jakarta said yesterday that as Asean chair it was waiting for approval of observers from both host countries. Phnom Penh has already replied it was ready to accept the observers, but Thailand was reluctant as the military said the plan should be discussed in the GBC meeting first.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva tried to gloss over the disagreement, saying the military would participate in the GBC meeting eventually, but it would not hold it parallel with the Foreign Ministry-run JBC.

The JBC is a bilateral mechanism for land boundary demarcation. Its progress was stalled when the Thai Parliament delayed approving the minutes of previous meetings. Parliament will discuss the documents today.

"At this stage, the JBC would be an important forum to talk over the boundary matters, including the Indonesian observers," Abhisit said.

Both countries should examine the way the Indonesians plan to carry out their observation, he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban echoed the military opinion, saying Thailand would not allow any foreign officials to be stationed in the disputed area. "We have to discuss details of the observation first," he said.

Abhisit also said he did not want to see Indonesian observers in the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area claimed by Thailand and Cambodia.

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Cambodia hosts international seminar on maritime security operations

PHNOM PENH, Military officials from 23 countries in Asia-Pacific region and the United States met here on Thursday for a 10-day seminar on maritime security operations.

The so-called MPAT TE-19 (Multinational Planning Augmentation Team Tempest Express-19), focused on maritime security operations, was sponsored by the U.S Pacific Command.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the United States Ambassador to Cambodia Carol A. Rodley said that the seminar focuses on how all nations deal with transnational threats in maritime domain.

"Transnational threats in maritime security have caused harms to our whole economies and have been threatening the effectiveness and efficiency of the work performance and the well-being of our people," she said.

"To deal with this issue, it does not just start with the military alone, but it requires coordination and cooperation between government agencies and there must involvement from all those who live and work at near the water including the fishermen, shipping companies, local police to partner nations."

"With all parties' cooperation, it will help ensure the efforts with maximum results in ending conflicts, stopping piracy, or halting terrorism, criminal activities in maritime domain," she added.

Lieutenant General Nim Sovath, chief of Cambodia Defense Ministry's Department of Politics and Foreign Affairs, said that the MPAT TE-19 is in line with the policy of the royal government of Cambodia to ensure maritime security, sovereignty, territory and economic development.

"Through this maritime security operations exercise, I believe that participants will receive good experiences and ideas in defending maritime borders against criminal activities such as terrorism and trans-border crimes, illegal fishing and so on," he said.

The Multinational Planning Augmentation Team (MPAT) Program is a cooperative multinational effort to facilitate the rapid and effective establishment and/or augmentation of a multinational task force headquarters.

The MPAT provides responsive coalition/combined expertise in crisis action planning. (PNA/Xinhua)

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Indonesia awaits approval on Thai-Cambodia mission

JAKARTA (AFP) – Indonesia said Thursday that an ASEAN plan to send Indonesian military observers to the disputed Thai-Cambodia border had stalled as it awaited approvals from Bangkok and Phnom Penh.

At a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta last month, Thailand and Cambodia agreed to accept Indonesian observers to a flashpoint section of the border where heavy fighting erupted in February.

ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan hailed the agreement as a "historic day" for the 10-nation block, but more than a month later the observer teams remain in Jakarta and Thailand's military now says they are not needed.

"We're still waiting for further approvals from both countries before we can proceed to go to the area," Indonesian foreign ministry spokeswoman Kusuma Habir told AFP.

The observers had not received their operating orders and did not even know where they would be posted or for how long, she added.

"We hope that we will receive their approvals as soon as possible," Habir said.

Thailand's army chief, General Prayut Chan-O-Cha, said Wednesday the observers were not wanted in the disputed area near an 11th-century temple because it was too dangerous and they would only complicate matters.

Prayut said the Thai defence ministry, armed forces and military commanders rejected the idea of outside monitors, but conceded it was up to the government to decide.

A Thai government spokesman denied however that there had been any change in Bangkok's position, and said a joint border committee would be convened to iron out the details of the observers' mission.

Cambodia insisted on Thursday the delay was being caused solely by Thailand.

Foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said the Cambodian government had already sent all the necessary paperwork to Indonesia.

"For Cambodia, there is no problem. We have immediately responded to all Indonesian letters involving the TOR (Terms of Reference)," he told AFP.

"Cambodia has already agreed to the locations and timing (for the observers). If Thailand does not want the observers, Cambodia accepts them unilaterally," he said.

Thailand and Cambodia have each accused the other of starting the border clashes, which erupted around the Hindu temple of Preah Vihear.

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Estaban Lazor meets with top Cambodian government official

Havana, Cuba, Mar 24.- Esteban Lazo, Vice-president of the Cuban Council of State, met on Wednesday with Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, now on an official visit to Cuba.

According to a report by the National Television Newscast, the two leaders tackled several issues on the international agenda and the current situation of bilateral relations.

Likewise, Lazo -also a Politburo member- and the distinguished visitor reiterated their willingness to continue strengthening the bonds existing between Cambodia and Cuba.

Also participating in the meeting were Long Visalo, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Hay Sonnarin, Cambodian ambassador to Havana, among others, while the Cuban party was also represented by First Deputy Foreign Minister Marcelino Medina, as well as by other officials of the island’s Foreign Ministry. (acn).
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