It’s Khmer New Year B.E. 2561 and we should choose a better topic to celebrate here. But I refuse to go to the Kep Beach to see the many visitors from Phnom Penh for a reason: garbage. At this very moment, while all Cambodians celebrate the new year with all happiness and cheh, cheh, cheh… all Cambodian beautiful spots are target of thousands of plastic, empty bottles, polystyrene utensils, all, spread everywhere by the happy Cambodian families celebrating with joy and love the Khmer New Year. Garbage on the pagodas, garbage along the roads, garbage on beaches and garbage on the national parks… practically every single corner of the country where a good road can reach for their vehicles.
If you want to understand many things of the Cambodian mentality and old traditions that still around, Tum Teav is a film you should watch. Although it is seen as an old story where mothers determine the husband for their daughters upon social and economic considerations, the true is that such practice continues present in modern Cambodia.
- Taking photos of people on public areas without their consent, can be considered espionage.
If you come to Cambodia to take pictures of other foreigners to support campaigns such as the persecution of sexual offenders, you must know that it is considered espionage and thus it is a crime. Working in any organization to prevent or to persecute offenders, does not entitle you to take photos of persons without their consent. A good mission or a great ideal such as protecting children, does not give you the right to commit another crime that could be also abusive like defaming the name of a person that could be mostly innocent. Taking an illegal picture of a man would make him a suspect of a possible undergoing crime. Only the authorities are entitled to proceed in an investigation that includes the production of photographs, videos or audios of possible suspects. Even like that, authorities should respect the privacy of a possible suspect under the assumption that all persons are innocent until the contrary is not proven. It is especially delicate in Cambodia, because in our judicial system, every suspect is guilty until the contrary is not proven. In our Cambodian judicial system, judges and prosecutors keep as a goal to produce a jail sentence. Several Cambodian prosecution cases would not make a case in Japan, Europe and US, as they do in Cambodia and take any example.
On 17th July a Cambodian court reduced the jail sentence of Karl Heinz Opitz, 66, to 10 years. The 2007 sentence gave him a 28 years in jail for getting girls as young as 10 into his apartment. The girls were provided by human traffickers. He used to tie the girls up, whip and rape them while filming and taking photos until 4 consecutive hours.
Sorry, the link was wrong. Here the updated correct one: