Category Archives: CHOICE NEWS

BEE HIVES

Sarith Laeng receiving his bees.

For a few months now James Dumar has been training two of our Villagers at our Center, both CHOICE staff, and keen to learn the art of Beekeeping. CHOICE has given them an interest free loan to purchase a hive each, repayments will be taken from their salary. They can choose to either extract honey to sell or double their number of hives, say each 3 months. We hope with enough training LaoHeng will become the assistant teacher and manager of our Bee Co-Op in the future. On the bottom is Sokheng with Vanny and on the top is LaoHeng receiving their hives fro Ross.
The next Introduction to Beekeeping training course will be conducted by James on the 24th June at the CHOICE Center, transport from Longlin House in Phnom Penh, for information and  bookings contact:  jamesdumar@yahoo.com.au

Choub Sokheng receiving his Bees

FANTASTIC NEWS

CHOICE finally has a place to call home. After many years searching, we have finally purchased suitable land. Bigger than our current Center area, its approximately 28m x 137m. located nearby and on the Bassac river, and at a bargain price. The purchase on 31st May 2017 was made possible by CHOICE Family Germany, we thank Michael Wieland for obtaining a non-interest loan for our NGO, repayable in 5 years. Maybe a struggle at first for repayments but in the long term a savings of around US$7,000 pa. in rent. As CHOICE has no money to develop the land I personally pledged to donate US$10,000 as a start towards amenities. Then Don Rosenfeldt gave US$14, 686 (AUD$20,000) and other groups and friends have made promises for financial support towards the development, absolutely amazing. All these and other large financial supporters will be acknowledged on site with written sign-age.
We have plans to divide the land into 3 separate areas, the biggest area at the road end will be the school. This will be developed in stages over the next 4+ years. The first stage being the relocation of the Kindergarten and building the necessary amenities, hopefully completed this year 2017.
The second area in the middle will be for Khmer training and accommodation for those Khmers whilst in training. We have acquired the services of a training instructor, James Dumar. James is living at the CHOICE Center and is Co-ordinating the Bee-keeping program free of charge to our Khmer people, further courses will be introduced as the new facility develops. Development in this area is to start this year.
The third area will be mainly for Western accommodation. We intend to lease this area to a supporter of CHOICE Don Rosenfeldt, he will build a Guest House overlooking the river. Don will donate all profits from this to CHOICE. We will be able to offer accommodation to volunteers, visitors and regulars that are sick of travelling out daily on the minibus. To prevent visitors from wandering into the School area a security fence will be erected between area 2 and 3. This will also keep the children away from the river. There are future plans to run a boat from Phnom Penh to the new center and return. We have also acquired the services of the Gordon TAFE Geelong, they will send a team of tradesman each year to help train, build and landscape the Center.
We thank you all, groups and friends for pitching in. Honorary Secretary Ross Wright.

Donating our Dental Equipment

Being advised to Register and License our Dental Clinic by the Ministry we decided it far better to donate the Dental Chair and associated instruments to “One-2-One” a Cambodian Dental Charity. A properly licensed Khmer NGO that provide Dental care to children through out Cambodia. They have agreed to provide free treatment on two five day visits to our school each year. We are very pleased with this arrangement and thank all those involved in helping to put this together. I also thank Giuseppe and Dr. Jon Paul the original donor from Malaysia, they would be happy to see the chair still being used to help Khmer children.

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Honey for Money – beekeeping

Bees are on the brink of extinction in Cambodia mostly due to land clearance and the destructive methods used by locals to rob the honey from native hives. An agreement has been made between CHOICE Cambodia and James Dumar who among many things is a Beekeeper. James will teach the art of beekeeping to Cambodians at the CHOICE Center. The first one day course is free for Khmer and will be held on Saturday the 1st April at the CHOICE Center. “Introduction to Beekeeping”. Transport will be provided at 8.30am sharp from Longlin House #159 in Street 19 Phnom Penh. Interested parties including other NGO’s need book with James Dumar via jamesdumar@yahoo.com.au.

Soon James will commence an in depth three day Beekeeping courses at the CHOICE Center. CHOICE selected Khmers will receive free training, others will be paying for the course and perhaps being sponsored by various NGO’s. This course can be for individuals or families and comes complete with a working kit including the Bees. It will be fully hands on and we already have 5 live hives set up at the rear of the CHOICE Center. Other training courses will also be offered later this year.

CHOICE is providing the facility for James to conduct his small business, in return James is providing training and giving other assistance to help CHOICE activities. After receiving the free Bee training courses our Khmer will need kitting out, we will need donors for this so interested persons please contact us at choicecambodia@live.com

Bee Hives

Our 5th Anniversary

16111614_1341296445942828_1603664442_nLast week saw the the 5th anniversary for the Choice Centre, during which time hundreds of local children from extremely poor families have learnt to read, write and speak English. There has also been Scholarships/Apprenticeships awarded, computer training, art and craft classes, hairdressing, sewing and gardening. To celebrate, Choice organised an extra special lunch for the children. Normally on weekdays CHOICE provide a simple lunch meal for 150 or more children, typically a meat and vegetable soup together with rice. For the anniversary, $200 was spent and that allowed for a special curry with rice and baguette bread as well as a canned drink for each child attending. Steve Murray of Georgia’s children paid half towards it, as GCW are also celebrating 5 years of association with CHOICE. The bakery Tous les Jours also kindly contributed additional breads and donuts like they have previously done. So it proved to be a very popular lunch. Ross and Vanny gave a speech to the children, reminding them what Choice does and how things operate, as well as to explain some of the major changes taking place in the early part of 2017. Most notably the loss of 3 classrooms in an adjacent property that Choice can no longer rent. 3 new replacement classrooms are soon to be built in the main Choice grounds. A container is being planned to provide temporary storage and then to be converted into a classroom. Steve Murray of Georgia’s Children, is kindly paying for the container.

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A Tidy Up

Many thanks Jenny, a great painting job and all done in a day with a little help from the staff. Vanny and staff added their artistic display with potted plants in used Formula milk cans. Jenny is pictured with Lyda our PC teacher, and our staff busy potting. We try to make the school look nice and do the best we can on our limited budget.14937995_1219683451437462_1489897105_n14964195_1327673610577410_195389858_o14924099_1219683101437497_645846356_o14954531_1327673707244067_728540549_o

Opening Day Ceremony

The local Government Primary School had its open day on the 1/11/2016. The morning commenced at 7am and as Vanny is not at the center that early and I am living in the province now, I represented CHOICE to receive an appreciation Certificate. For those that can read Khmer the certificate names items donated in the past Toilet Block, Garden setting, Printer, Computer. Again these items were made possible through you our donors, many thanks. Some 600 primary students attended, each received donations of exercise books, pens, pencils and 1000r (25c) in cash. Donors were a Khmer/American family, CHOICE and others. Nice to see the toilet block donated by “The Nuggets” Narrabeen Australia and the outdoor setting from Michael Wieland Germany are still in very good condition. CHOICE has a good working relationship with the local school. The Government schools provide free education and about 100 of our children attend this school.

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THE 2016-7 SCHOOL YEAR COMMENCES

The new CHOICE School year is well underway now, commencing on 3rd October. We have lost about 20 students that have graduated to the local High School. With our new enrollments our School numbers have increased this year to a total of 230 enrolled, now we are turning other children away. Our biggest classes are Kindergarten now 75 children. We have split them into two groups this year. That means another Kinder teacher has to be employed, another classroom and more mouths to provide lunch for. Sokheng our ex student from the first Village has been selected as the new teacher, she is studying at University weekends and with us Monday to Friday. Pictured below are the children some in the old classroom and some in the new kinder room we call “Northbridge House” This is because the room is completely fitted out with donated items from Northbridge School in Phnom Penh. The problem now is with so many children in classes side by side its too noisy for lessons to be heard. We need other classrooms, we cleared an area in August for an additional large classroom being offered as a donation, but that all fell through. So its the same old problems of not enough money to address all of these issues, and no long term western Teachers to help. Vanny has to spend a lot of her time teaching when we need her as Principle and Manager. Any offers of help would be really appreciated.

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SOY MILK PROGRAM

We wish to thank Mrs. Susanne Floesser from Germany for kindly donating US$600 for the Soy Milk Program. This will be distributed among all of our 250 students on a weekly basis. If your interested in donating to this programs sustainability, or increasing frequency of distribution, then kindly contact us on our website.

Art Class

Famous characters were the subject of Joy’s latest weekly art class. Superman and Hello Kitty were very popular. Collage and capes were created. Cambodia is full off super heroes and heroines now.

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I WANT TO BE A DOCTOR WHEN I GROW UP.

Lily        Please help our children

Our Mission:
CHOICE Cambodia is a non-religious, non-profit organization, formed in 2006 registered in 2008 to improve the well being of extremely poor Cambodian families. Our aim is and always has been, to keep children together with their families.
Who we help:
Many Khmer claim to be poor, we only select the genuine poor. To do this we screen individuals or families before support is given, with many years of experience and having Khmer’s on our Committee we know what to look for. Most of our beneficiaries are families that own no land or proper housing, most have poverty cards and are squatters on Government land. We estimate we support over 1000 people and of these about 500 are children.
CHOICE target 3 areas:
1. Education:
We operate a rural school for over 200 children mainly teaching English, Maths, Computer and Craft work. We supply them with uniforms, backpacks, books etc, transport. Our 35+ kindergarten children are aged from 3yo, our primary and secondary students to about 18yo. Our more advanced students that want Apprenticeships or University degrees are financed and accommodated in Phnom Penh through our “Project 365”. Children attending our school receive a free lunch with fruit as most are at school in the morning and afternoon they cannot go home for lunch. Primary students attend Government school for half the day and are with CHOICE for the other half day.
2. Medical:
Villagers come to us for help with sick babies children and adults. We help by providing transport to the right Hospital or Clinic and paying for their medicine and food if they are Hospitalized. We choose Hospitals that provide free treatment/operations for our children and most of our adults, occasionally we have to pay for the treatment/operation. We have helped with cases of leprosy, amputations, hepatitis, tuberculosis, many heart conditions and one with a hole in the heart, burns, appendicitis, tumors, pregnancies and births, physios, dental, many optical procedures and much more. We have also supplied Villagers with a few wheelchairs, artificial limbs and crutches and we make a financial contribution for the funeral of any deceased villager.
3. Family Assistance:
Our main support is delivering “Safe Drinking Water” on a regular basis to all our Villagers as the few tube wells are contaminated with Arsenic, drinking this eventually leads to death. Clothing, footwear, mosquito nets, eye glasses and more, are frequently distributed to all the families. We provide for disaster relief as was the case in 2011 when we distributed charcoal, rice and tarpaulins due to flooding. We provide extra care such as rice to the families and individuals that really struggle, sometimes its the elderly or families due to the loss of a parent. In some cases we supply formula milk and when asked, assist with contraception for women. We train and employ Villagers at times, 2 ex students are teachers, 2 are drivers and one is a cleaner.
What does all this cost:
We receive and spend around US$65,000 each year plus donations of many other items such as PC’s, playground equipment, desks, clothing, mosquito nets etc and even a new kitchen. Having almost no administration costs we provide an amazing amount of support for each dollar raised. Nearly all donation money goes directly to the projects, all western support is given freely. Transparency and honesty is paramount so donations are shown on our website.
Our Future needs:
As our students advance towards year 12 the numbers requiring Apprenticeships and Scholarships is growing rapidly. Currently Apprenticeships or Scholarships cost about US$2,000 per student per year depending on the course selection. This is for fees, food, accommodation and providing a house supervisor. If possible we ask them to contribute whatever they can, but most are too poor. These numbers will increase, at 30 students per year, it would use nearly all of our current annual income, and numbers will go higher than that. Do we tell our students “sorry we can’t help you any more, go back to the village, marry, find another plot of land to squat on, and continue the cycle of poverty. ”
To avoid this we need more money and your help to attract corporate financial support, a well known patron, net-workers & marketers to promote CHOICE, people with contacts. We cannot ask for more money from our current network of much appreciated friends and donors.
Please forward or add this article in your newsletter or emails. If you need more information, or think you can help then please contact the CHOICE Honorary Secretary, Ross Wright, thank you.
Email: choicecambodia@live.com

 

Rice Donation

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Pictured from left are Mrs. Ruby Wang, Mr. Albert Wu, Ms. Cynthia You (Star Time International Trading Ltd) all from Taiwan. They are donating 8 bags of rice per month from the 1st July 2016 for one year to the Choice Center. Next in line is Angela Tan and Ross Wright. The rice donation is much appreciated, many thanks to this group.

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CHARITY ICE HOCKEY GAME IN CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND APRIL 2016

On April 30th , 2016 Angelique Mawson an avid ice hockey player and coach from New Zealand co-ordinated a fund-raising Charity Game for the benefit of the CHOICE Cambodia non-profit Charity.

Over 40 players jumped at the chance to be a part of this very good cause and get out on the ice in support of this charity.  Many spectators also came to watch. The team uniforms were chosen specifically as Cambodian colours Blue and Red and the teams were made up of players from the local Christchurch region adults of all ages and levels.  The players had a great time and were full of smiles enjoying their sport whilst raising money for a very worth cause.

$USD500 was raised in New Zealand and Angelique visited us in June 2016 at the CHOICE centre to present the money which will go towards school uniforms for the students.  Angelique plans to run this event on an annual basis with the proceeds coming to CHOICE Cambodia.13062147_10153911422362107_1607482367050268216_n 13062414_10153911421482107_8337959719118075908_n 13076846_10153911422302107_221444085036024753_n 13082728_10153911422487107_8916371694088076068_n 13083260_10153911421477107_6802927556713345142_n 13094202_10153911414782107_4995556145061306948_n 13095817_10153911422442107_3848120008542224591_n 13096241_10153911423787107_5850381705421563670_n 13102730_10153911407537107_1409997437101459022_n 13102867_10153911397612107_6358928065734077652_n 13103443_10153911422072107_5856305478987340660_n 13103446_10153911422147107_5136011960993905089_n 13103480_10153911486722107_4920362419361551555_n 13118835_10153911412967107_3589418644502847509_n 13119000_10153911417607107_311913557382611790_n 13133116_10153911422727107_1891479769608433260_n 13133223_10153911423772107_8982948183924615036_n 13139342_10153911481347107_8741111206480081158_n

Phonics Training for CHOICE Staff

Many thanks to specialized teacher Amy Lyall and Adam Parker from England, both have volunteered their services to CHOICE for a month. Pictured below is Amy giving Phonics training to our Khmer staff, Dara is in attendance as well. The Khmer staff have given their time to CHOICE as today, Friday 20th May is a Public Holiday.

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new school uniforms

This week the Choice students from the poor villages received a school uniform set each. This twice-yearly event is much appreciated by the students as the photo below shows.

The uniforms were made last year at the Choice centre, by the sewing ladies in the sewing room, before it was converted into a library.

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CHOICE School Students Celebrate Khmer New Year 2016

Choice students turned up in big numbers to attend the end of Khmer year party. The day began with a blessing from monks who came to the Centre. Customary eating games and musical chairs were hotly contested, as was last year’s favourite – blindfold vase breaking. New games Splat the rat and duck fishing were among other highlights. A delicious curry and bread lunch was served giving the kids the energy needed for the afternoon dance session. A big thank you to all who helped make this happen today.

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News story, video and photos by Dara

Special thanks to Joy for paying for all the soft drinks

Truck tire plant pots

The tires of the Choice truck have recently been changed and the old ones have not been wasted. Volunteers have transformed them into heavy duty flower pots. These flower pots will help the plants inside them survive the wet season flooding. They are being planted with plants such as aloe vera that are suitable for the local environment.

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Update August 2016:  Tire plant pots and plants are surviving the wet season flooding very well. Dara is keeping an eye on them too.

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Bicycle mechanics workshop 2

Terry from Wheelies Bikes in the UK, visited the Choice center last year and kindly shared his extensive knowledge of bike mechanics with boys Sok Long and Sing Lee.

This year he is back again (4th March 2016) and has kindly done another workshop, this time with boys Mengly (in red top), Kimsour and Narin.

There are quite a lot of bicycles at Choice these days, as many bicycles have been donated to the children. Not surprisingly some are now in need of a bit of TLC (tender loving care). Four bikes in need of repairs were used by Terry to teach repair and maintenance skills with the 3 boys.

Well done again Terry. We hope to see you again next year for workshop number 3 🙂

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LY RATANAK

 Ratanak has moved on to new employment, Ratanak has been with us for 7-8 years and has been a tremendous help.

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Ratanak was offered a job with better salary expectations, he was due to finish with CHOICE at the end of January but suddenly called up earlier by his new employer so we did not have a chance to provide a better good bye celebration with all the staff and regular visitors. His skills have improved so much since he first joined CHOICE and with much better opportunities now days its hard for us to match salaries being offered. At the same time we don’t want to hold our friends back from a good opportunity. Good luck Ratanak from us all and we hope you do well in your new position.

Donation of table & chairs.

Many thanks to Michael Wieland from Germany, Michael has donated the table and chair setting to the local Government Primary School for the delighted children. Pictured are the Headmaster, staff and some of the children, many of these children are CHOICE students as well.20160112_11385020160112_113539

1 more bike donated

John from America recently visited Phnom Penh in Cambodia for the first time. He bought a cheap second hand bicycle for $35 from St 107, near St 182. This proved to be a convenient and fun way for him to explore Phnom Penh and avoid the costs and hassles of using motos and tuk tuks all the time. Then when he left, he donated it to Choice to be given to one of the kids. So that worked out well for both him and Choice.  Thanks John.

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4 more tablets

Rob from UK has donated 4 new Android tablets for use with educational learning apps at the Choice Centre. These tablets have been kindly brought in from America purchased off Amazon for about $50 each. Better quality tablets for the price than can be purchased locally. Thanks to both Brian and John for bringing two each with them on their recent visits to Cambodia from the USA.

If anyone is visiting Cambodia from either UK or USA, then please let us know, as you might be able to bring some stuff out for us.

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MORE LAPTOPS

Many thanks to Mirco Galassi and his wife from Melbourne, Australia. They donated 4 very good laptops to CHOICE Cambodia this weekend. Three from the IT Company where Mirco’s wife is employed and the other from Mirco.
A very needy donation as many of our computers are very old and repairs are frequent. We now have 19 Laptops for the children, pictured with the children is Lyda our PC Teacher.
Most of our children come from extremely disadvantaged families, squatter families that have no land or property. These children are from the poorest group of people in Cambodia and are in genuine need.

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Our New Kitchen

Many thanks to the various Rotary Clubs that have helped fund the new Kitchen through the efforts of Don Rosenfeldt. Don sought the help of Pin, Joe, Bob, CHOICE Staff and some mates. The old kitchen did fall over, ( see the first picture ) so timely was the new kitchen. The cost was as expected (around $1,500) with some savings in costs from donations of cupboards and sinks etc.from Northbridge School and the savings with free labor and welding.

Its a spacious Kitchen 7m x 6m fully insulated and designed as to the needs of the Kitchen staff with plenty of ventilation and room for the staff to eat in as well. We can relax a little now knowing that meals can continue, many thanks to all involved.

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150 Million Grains of Rice Donated

NEED A NEW KITCHEN

 Our poor old outdoors kitchen has served us well, over 100,000 meals provided to our 200+ students over the last few years. We have propped it up but soon it will fall over, we need about US$2500 to rebuild or there will be no meals and therefore no school.

Financially its a real struggle, we have recently had to close several programs, Medical and Dental clinics, birth control, formula milk, the sewing room will close and new apprenticeships for boys is on hold due to lack of finances.

I realize the problems with fundraising, as myself and family have all had separate fundraising events in the past. We can’t keep asking the same friends to keep fundraising, as many of you have done in the past. Our friends and family get tired of the regular requests for financial help.

So in order to find better ways to raise extra funding we established “Sponsor a Child” and created “CHOICE Family Australia” but its not working.
We need our supporters to market and promote these two programs as we survive without any major sponsors or Government support. “Sponsor a Child” details can be found on the following link:

http://choice-cambodia.org/blog/sponsor-a-child/

“CHOICE Family Australia” was registered and developed to attract small direct debits of a few dollars per pay upwards from Australians. Paid regularly into our Australian Bank account this money is to provide our senior students with Scholarships or Apprenticeships as needed.

http://choicefamilyaustralia.webs.com/

Please help Ross Wright.

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MORE PUSHBIKES

We are extremely grateful to have been given another 20 pushbikes from “Bikes 4 Life” to hand out to our needy children, many thanks to all those involved. This time we have made a presentation in two lots of 10 bikes as we are out of storage space.

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CHOICE LIBRARY

For the last year or so we have had no students interested in taking on Hairdressing as a career. We have been using the CHOICE Salon as a storage room, now we need more classroom space because the children get wet in the outside classrooms in the wet season. Many thanks to Leanne, Joy, Michelle and her children Georgia and Connor. Having received more school furniture from Northbridge School the group have worked in the salon to convert it to a library which will double up as a classroom and craft room. Thanks to Jackie and Suzette who originally created the Salon. I know they won’t mind and it can always be converted back to a salon if needed. We really are desperate for the dry space it offers.
We will also receive another 20 pushbikes from “Bikes 4 Life” next week thanks again to Leanne Balkin. Leanne will also try to get both Khmer and English books to fill the Library.

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Playground

Thanks once again to Northbridge University. Just as we had to remove some of our old playground equipment which was falling apart due to rust, we were lucky to be offered the chance to remove and keep some of the outdated playground at Northbridge. It only took us 3 hours to remove, but around 3 days to rebuild it at our center. Our children love it. The playground we call “Crystal Park” is named after Leanne Balkin’s daughter. It’s now so popular in the neighborhood children are being brought to play by their mums.

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Medical Clinic’s Closed

For obvious reasons CHOICE no  longer accept medical helpers or run a clinic . We take poor children and adults to licensed clinics and Hospitals when they are sick.

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 Thursday, 28 May 2015; News by Khmer Times/Ban Sokrith and Phun Chan Ousaphea

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Three unlicensed medical clinics operated by Chinese nationals have been closed by authorities in Battambang’s Phnom Proek and Sampov Loun districts.

The crackdown on unlicensed premises comes after Battambang province’s HIV outbreak five months ago. Over 250 residents in the province’s Roka commune tested positive for the AIDS-causing virus.

About 2,000 people were tested for the virus after an unlicensed doctor was found to have reused syringes to give hundreds of injections.

On Wednesday, provincial authorities arrested four Chinese nationals and closed down the three clinics in Bour commune, Phnom Proek district.

Keo Sokyan, 63, from Kampong Thom province and Vann Sengheang, 32, from Kampong Speu province, were arrested when police raided their clinic, a branch of the “Cambodia Virtue Medical Association”.

Both men hold Chinese and Cambodian dual citizenship.

During the crackdown, police confiscated 40 kinds of pills, three types of needles, medical serums, medical treatment machines and other clinical equipment.

Two other clinics in the district were also shut down and two other Chinese nationals, Guo Liuana, 52, and Ma Phy, 48, taken in for questioning.

“According to an expert official, this medical service was being run without a license from the Ministry of Health,” said Sa­reth Viseth, the district deputy police chief. “Prosecutors decided to close the clinic temporarily.”