|8th of July – Lima Charlie’s South East Asia End-of-Week News Briefing:
This week #GlobalWitness released its 58 page report on the #Cambodian ruling family. The international watchdog group report, entitled “Hostile Takeover”, uncovers how Prime Minister #HunSen and his family created a vast business empire built on back-door deals, corrupt practices, and cronyism to continue Hun Sen’s 30 year rein of power.
The report illuminates how Hun and his family have a stranglehold on the Cambodian economy by holding key positions in politics, the military, police, media, and charities. It is reported that the family’s influence spans across every sector of the economy with “links to international brands such as Apple, Visa, Procter & Gamble, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo and Ralph Lauren.”
The Prime Minister and his family have been able to hide their vast wealth through the use of “fake names and within shell companies.” The family and their companies have been able to achieve this stranglehold through the use of violence and intimidation.
“These revelations point to a cruel irony of Hun Sen’s model of dictatorship; his family has Cambodia’s economy so sewn up that Phnom Penh residents are likely to struggle to avoid lining the pockets of their oppressors multiple times a day,” said Patrick Alley, co-founder of Global Witness.
Stephen Peel, a former senior partner at private equity firm TPG Capital and member of the Global Witness board, stated, “Doing business with companies that are owned or controlled by the country’s ruling family not only raises ethical questions, it also carries significant legal, financial and reputational risk. It is in everyone’s best interests for investors in Cambodia to carry out careful checks to ensure that their money isn’t being funneled into Hun Sen’s campaign of oppression.”
On Thursday the Prime Minister’s family fired back at the Global Witness report on social media, posting a series of statements on Facebook.
The #CambodianDaily reported that the prime minister’s eldest son, Hun Manet, stated, “Whenever it is close to an election, an organization called Global Witness comes up with very colorful accusations aimed at attacking the government and, in particular, making personal attacks on my father. It is that time again.”
Hun Mana, the Prime Minister’s daughter, said, “I just want to say that it’s unbelievable that your organization deliberately lies to the public to get our reaction,” according to The Phnom Penh Post.
The Prime Minister’s children not only took aim at Global Witness, but also attacked The Cambodian Daily and The Phnom Penh Post for their reporting.
Having been in power for only a week, President #Duterte’s campaign against the narcotics trade is in full swing. In a televised message on Thursday, he named a list of mayors, Chinese nationals, elements of the police force, and military officials who have alleged drug ties.
During his address to the nation, Duterte even presented a chart he called “the matrix” of the extent of the operation in the Philippines. This family tree of criminals shows the links between known criminals and mayors around the Philippines.
Duterte said that even though Kingpin #WuTuan, alias #PeterCo, was in jail, he was still directing operations behind bars. He then gave Mr. Co a stern warning not to escape, threatening death.
Duterte went on to say, “we are really being insulted by the drug people, since they are beyond redemption, they can stop and commit suicide because I will not allow these idiots to run their show – not during my watch.”
Duterte even called out another drug known drug trafficker #PeterLim, aka #theJaguar, who is reportedly still at large: “Better tell him not to come back to the Philippines anymore. The moment he steps out of the plane, he will die.” Duterte added that all three men where from China and are part of a triad drug syndicate.
Duterte’s statements have drawn criticism from one of the accused, Retired Chief Supt. Vicente Loot, who gave a press statement to cameras saying, “He was here to give himself for investigation … I am here will to be dissected, waiting for the truth to come out.”
That same evening, the body of police officer Micheal Lee Manalad was found shortly after midnight. He was a member of the Malls police force and had alleged ties to criminal activity. According to the Phil Star Global, Officer Manalad appeared to have been tortured before he was shot two times. A sign hung around his neck that said “Policeman pusher don’t emulate.”
Local police are now conducting a full investigation.
Now that Duterte has announced his plan to fight the drug war, the Philippines could see extra judicial killings of criminal gang members, drug traffickers, and other lawless elements through the use of vigilante death squads on a national level.
On Monday the 4th, police in #KualaLumpur confirmed that the attack at a nightclub in Pouching, Selangor on June the 28th was the first successful #ISIS attack in Malaysia.
The blast occurred on June the 28th while people at the nightclub were watching a Euro 2016 match on TV. Eight people were injured, including a woman from China.
The police had previously ruled out terrorism as the motive and attributed it to business rivals. But after a Facebook paged linked to a known militant group, #MuhammadWanndy, claimed responsibility for the attack, the police changed their ruling.
This attack comes weeks after ISIS released the graphic video of three men in turbans, said to be #Malaysian, #Indonesian and #Filipino, calling for support in the Southeast Asian region to carry out lone-wolf style attacks.
The Straits Times reported that the police have arrested 15 people in connection with the bombing, including two men whom they believed to have carried out the attack.
“The two of those arrested had received instructions from Muhamad Wanndy, who had commanded them to carry out attacks in Malaysia, on our government leaders, top police officials and judges. These three groups are considered as threatening to (ISIS) activities,” Khalid said at a news conference, according to Reuters.
The #– — USEmbassy in Malaysia has advised its citizens to remain vigilant at all times, reminding them that they might be a target of extremist groups regardless of the country they are in.
New Straits Times reported that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said, “It is clear that they are against the teaching of Islam and universal values, everyone must unite regardless of religious belief in order to counter them.”
The Prime Minister called upon the people of Malaysia to help the government and security forces in countering militant and extremist groups.
Police in Malaysia continue to remain on a high alert following the attack.
On Friday, 12 people were reported killed in a deadly three-day traffic jam as millions of Indonesians headed home to celebrate #Eid. The massive traffic jam is reported to be 13 miles long (20 kilometers).
The traffic nightmare has clogged a major highway junction at Brebes, a city on the main island of Jave. The traffic was so bad that the locals have dubbed the junction “Brexit”, short for “Berbes exit.” Social media was ablaze with photos of cars backed up for miles, due to “Brexit”.
This time of year, roads across Indonesia, the most populous #Muslim nation, swell beyond capacity as millions return home at the end of the holy month of #Ramadan.
Transport Ministry spokesman Hemi Pramuraharjo told AFP, “In terms of this Brexit case, there’s been a total of 12 victims over different days, the deaths occurred between July 3 and July 5.”
Pramuraharjo said that several of the victims were elderly while others died from fatigue and other health complications. Local media has reported that a one-year-old died due to carbon dioxide poisoning.
Health minister Achmad Yurianto told the AFP, “There’s no space on the road. We don’t have a solution.” Yurianto went on to say that heavy use of the air conditioning could also lead to an increase in carbon dioxide levels within people’s cars.
It has been reported that more than 400 motorists have died on Indonesia’s roads so far this holiday season, including those in the “Brexit” jam. Accidents are not uncommon during the Eid holiday as millions travel the poorly maintained road and overcrowding.
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