Korean Sex And Cambodian Govt Corruption: Why You People Read My Blog And What You Are Fiddling Around With On The Internet
By Nate Thayer
It is, together, alarming, confusing, depressing, and downright fascinating sometimes when reviewing the analytics of who you people are that come and read my blog–and exactly how you get here.
The top search terms that drove people to my blog today are as follows:
4.air koryo business class
6.westboro baptist church number
7.khmer police big cock
8.bd korian sex.com
You will note there is a theme that emerges here: Sex
However, I rarely write about sex, Korean, Cambodian or otherwise–at least not professionally and for public consumption on this blog.
It did not go unnoticed that exactly none of the issues that I have devoted several decades to investigating and comprise the body of my life work, such as, say, mass murder, torture, crimes against humanity, and other related human rights abuses by governments, appear to be of primary interest to the majority of the readership.
Despite the fixation on sex, which I am wholly sympathetic with, I remain flummoxed by the number one phrase, “Choeung Sopheap”, which has dominated the top rankings of what people click on to arrive at my blog scribblings.
Does anyone know exactly what this is all about?
They are both Cambodian words, and, depending on the phonetic translations, can be understood to mean several things:
1.It is apparently the name of a major corrupt business woman in Phnom Penh with connections to the ruling government political party.
2.”Choeung” also can be translated, in Cambodian, as the verb “to want”. “Sopheap” can be translated as a derivative of the word for “peace”.
The phrase “Choeung Sopheap” is not just a one-off random search term that popped up on the analytics today for my blog.
It is, in fact, the top search term used for the last year by people who arrive at my blog via Internet search engines–used more than 2,800 times.
A simple Google search shows that this woman, “Choeung Sopheap”, appears to be a very bad apple indeed.
Number three on the google search appears my blog entry http://natethayer.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/happy-chinese-new-year-in-cambodia-corrupt-govt-officials-hand-cash-to-hundreds-of-soldiers/
Number one is an article which begins: “The Finance Ministry has sent a letter to well-known businesswoman Choeung Sopheap thanking her for paying her taxes…..”.
Number two is titled “Senator’s Wife Showers Police with New Year Cash.”
This February 2013 article in the Cambodian Daily includes the following:
“All were waiting for their promised “ang pao”—red envelopes containing cash usually handed out during Chinese New Year—from Choeung Sopheap, the powerful owner of controversial land development firm Pheapimex and the wife of CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin.
Pheapimex holds a number of economic land concessions around the country, most notably a 316,000-hectare site in Pursat province’s Krakor district where villagers have staged several protests alleging that their land was illegally cleared. Armed military police officers have been deployed to guard the concession.
Ms. Sopheap’s husband, Mr. Meng Khin, is also the owner of Shukaku Inc., which has used armed government security forces against protesters at its real estate project in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak neighborhood.
Rights groups have long accused government security forces, especially the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, of protecting the private land concessions of well-connected families in a clear conflict of interest.
But the grateful officers clogging the streets around the house of “Yeay Phou,” or Grandma Phou, on Sunday—picking up between 30,000 riel ($7.50) and 50,000 riel ($12.50) each—readily admitted to the special relationship.
“We help her when problems arise, not only in Phnom Penh but also in the provinces,” military police officer Sieng Radin said while waiting outside the gates. “She loves the armed forces because she knows we protect her and she is a high-ranking official. She may be a business woman, but she also works with the Cambodian Red Cross.”
“And it’s not only the Gendarmerie [national military police], it’s also other joint forces that help her with strikes, and if the strikes affect her projects, like Boeng Kak,” Mr. Radin added.
Chan Dora, a military police officer who said his unit worked directly for the family, attributed Ms. Sopheap’s generosity to her gratitude for their services.
“I’m part of the unit that protects her family, so she gives us ang paos to thank us. I really appreciate it,” Mr. Dora said. “We are military forces and we are also assistants to her. We always help with whatever she needs help with.”
More than 5,000 ang paos were finally handed out, said Lao Van, Mr. Meng Khin’s son, though he did not know how much money it all added up to.
“This is our kindness, to distribute the ang paos to the armed forces because they work very hard. All of them, like the traffic police and other police, they not only work for my family but also for everyone’s families,” Mr. Van said, adding that his family had been making the annual mass donations for nearly a decade.
Chea Vannath, an independent political analyst, said this practice of private business owners providing money to state employees would inevitably raise questions.
“What you see now is the result of the [informal] policy for the higher-ranking [officials],” she said. “So if there is any change, there needs to be a policy from the top that the military and the police have to be independent and not have…financial transaction whatsoever from the business or private sectors.”
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the country’s armed forces exist for the benefit of the public, not private enterprises, adding that he could not comment on whether Ms. Sopheap’s tradition of giving the armed forces ang paos was appropriate.
“It’s hard for me to say if it’s proper or not proper because we don’t have any such law or regulations on what we call a conflict of interest,” he said.
Either way, Lon Saran, a military police officer who has received the ang paos five years in a row, summed up the deal with Khmer proverb.
“Mean tou mean mork,” Mr. Saran said, meaning roughly that when one provides a gift to another, help will come to the benefactor.”
The Google search for “Choeung Sopheap” also lists–at #5–a Wikileaks secret cable from the US embassy titled “Ruthless Gangster”, detailing Cambodia’s “Top Ten Tycoons.” It reads:
“Yeay Phu & Lao Meng Khin: “Power Couple”
¶14. (SBU) One of the most politically and economically
connected couples in the country (after Prime Minister Hun
Sen and his wife and Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh and his
wife), Lao Meng Khin and Yeay Phu (aka Choeung Sopheap) were
born on January 1, 1944 in Sihanoukville and May 11, 1949 in
Kampot Province, respectively. They are the co-owners of
Pheapimex Fu Chan Co. Ltd, a controversial logging company
that has expanded to cover salt iodization, iron ore
extraction, bamboo cultivation, pharmaceutical imports and
hotel construction. According to a number of NGOs that
monitor environmental issues, Pheapimex is the company that
has acquired the largest total land area through the logging
business. Recently, the company has shifted from logging
concessions to economic land concessions (ELCs), by which it
now has access to at least 315,028 hectares of land for
¶15. (SBU) Phu, who is of Chinese origin, uses her contacts in
China to attract foreign investment from Chinese companies
such as Wuzhishan LS and Jiangsu Taihu International. Her
husband, Lao Meng Khin, is a Vice President of the Cambodian
Chamber of Commerce, and he serves as a CPP senator and
advisor to Hun Sen. Together, they have a joint venture with
Sy Kong Triv through Wuzhishan LS for a pine tree plantation
in Mondulkiri Province. This dynamic duo has a rather strong
relationship to Hun Sen and his wife, Bun Rany. Lao Meng
Khin has accompanied the Prime Minister on more than one trip to China, while Yeay Phu, who is a board member of the
Cambodian Red Cross, is reportedly a close friend and
business associate of Bun Rany. Yeay Phu is also a business
associate of Tep Bopha Prasidh, the wife of the Minister of
Commerce; and Ngyn Sun Sopheap, the wife of the Director of
the National Department of Customs and Excise. The Pheapimex
couple’s son is married to the daughter of Lim Chhiv Ho, the
Managing Director of Attwood Import Export Co., Ltd. In
addition to Khmer, Lao Meng Khin speaks Mandarin Chinese and
Yeay Phu speaks several Chinese dialects.”
As far as I know, I have never met this woman, written about her or used the phrase “Choeung Sopheap” in any articles I have authored.
But I would like to personally thank her for sending readers my way, as it appears that her shenanigans are exactly up my alley of the issues that need the harsh glare of public scrutiny.
I would appreciate any thoughts on what the hell this phrase means and why it is dominating the Internet traffic from search engines towards my blog.
This may be another example of how I may go to my grave not understanding how this whole digital age of transferring information actually works. Perhaps I should consult my 17-year-old nephew for technical advice and expertise…..