Friday, September 9, 2016

"How China bought its way into Cambodia"

FT:

An investigation by the Financial Times reveals the favoured treatment that Chinese companies have won from Cambodia’s leadership, resulting in the award of land that far exceeded legal size limits, the apparent overriding of a state decree for the benefit of a Chinese investor and official support against the protests of dispossessed farmers.

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An analysis of state documents shows that in several cases, Chinese investments were facilitated personally by Mr Hun Sen, a ruler of 31 years who insists on being referred to as “Lord Prime Minister and Supreme Military Commander”. Global Witness, the UK campaign group, claimed in a report this year that the Cambodian leader presides over a “huge network of secret dealmaking and nepotism” that has allowed his family to amass stakes in leading industries and help “secure the prime minister’s political fortress”.

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“I express my personal thanks and support for your company to carry out this tourism project,” Mr Hun Sen wrote in the letter, seen by the FT. It is dated nine months after Mr Fu’s company donated 220 motorbikes to Mr Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit, a 3,000-strong private army equipped with armoured personnel carriers, missile launchers and Chinese-made machine guns. The gift was the latest in a series of donations to the unit, which is charged with guarding the prime minister and his wife, Bun Rany, officially known as the “Most Glorious and Upright Person of Genius”.