Michael Dickison
Development on the Boeng Tompun wetlands, in a E.U. Sentinel satellite photo from February 19, 2021.

UN Raises ‘Serious Concerns’ Over Lake Project, Gov’t Offers Response

A major Phnom Penh lake development involving several oknha and senators threatens livelihoods and wetlands, as well as rivers with sewage contamination, and puts 1 million people at risk of flooding, the U.N. said in a letter to the Cambodian government — which in turn responded with seven pages summarizing assessments of the development.

A cashew farmer in Kampong Thom province (Hun Dimo/VOD)

Land Loss, Debt Rise Recorded in Latest Socio-Economic Survey

A national government survey of 10,000 households, released on Tuesday, shows increased debt burdens as well as fewer households owning land, more cultivation of fruits and nuts, and the disappearance of video tape recorders and radios.

The Sihanoukville port in 2014. (kinnla/Flickr)

Four Sihanoukville SEZ Firms Linked to Transshipment in 2020

Four factories in the Sihanoukville SEZ were last year put under investigation for or found to be falsely shipping Chinese plywood, cabinets and pipe fittings to the U.S. as if they were Cambodian-made, according to U.S. Customs documents.

Sihanoukville port. (Heng Vichet/VOD)

US Customs Says Svay Rieng Factory Transshipped Chinese Pipes

A factory in an industrial park in Svay Rieng province shipped China-made pipes to the U.S. as Cambodia-made to evade duties, U.S. Customs said this week, with investigators finding production machinery “unused, dry, and covered in spider webs.”

General Hing Bun Hieng, in a photograph posted to the ruling CPP’s website.

PM Bodyguard Chief Denies Grabbing Orphanage Land

General Hing Bun Hieng, the head of the Prime Minister Bodyguard Unit sanctioned by the U.S. for alleged human rights abuses, has been accused by a Johnson & Johnson-linked orphanage of attempting to take over its prime waterfront land.

Orm Nhhorm and Chhun Sothea rally at Phnom Penh’s Boeng Tamok lake for land titles, on January 24, 2021. (Michael Dickison/VOD)

Boeng Tamok Residents Appeal to Hun Sen for Land Titles

About 40 Boeng Tamok residents on Sunday staged an appeal to be granted land titles for their houses on the edge of the Phnom Penh lake, saying they are nervous following evictions nearby and are only asking for 5 hectares for 300 families.

Tractors are used for pumping water from a drying reservoir in Kampong Cham province’s Batheay district on December 29, 2020. (Michael Dickison/VOD)

Signs of Drought Arrive Months Early in a Kampong Cham Commune

For farmers in the area, there’s little hope for this year’s dry-season rice harvest. They irrigate in desperation, but they can already see there won’t be enough water. They are bracing to write off their crops, fall deeper into debt, and maybe lose their land, several said this week.

People gather on the shore of the Tonle Sap river in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district for prahok season on December 23, 2020. (Michael Dickison/VOD)

Bustling, Ephemeral Prahok Economies Sprout on Banks of Tonle Sap

For less than two weeks, hundreds of people will cram into markets now sprouting on the banks of the Tonle Sap, chopping and raking fish heads, heaving and weighing large baskets of small fish, and haggling over prices every step of the way.