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November 28, 2010 | By Dustin Roasa, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Phnom Pehn, Cambodia ? On an unseasonably cool evening last month, nearly 700 people filed into the Chenla Theater for the final night of the inaugural Cambodia International Film Festival. The four-day event had drawn sizable audiences to films from more than 30 countries, but it was the premiere on this night of a Cambodian film called "Lost Loves" that attracted the festival's largest crowd. As TV crews angled for shots of the well-coifed cast members stepping onto the red carpet, inside the theater multigenerational families chatted excitedly and students snapped cellphone photos and waved to friends.
June 23, 2010 | By My-Thuan Tran, Los Angeles Times
Yasith Chhun never made a secret about his plans to overthrow Cambodia's government. The Long Beach man boasted to reporters about his role in a rebel attack in Phnom Penh in 2000 that resulted in the death of at least three people. In interviews, Chhun denounced the government as tyrannical and said his group, Cambodian Freedom Fighters, would try again. Chhun and his supporters drew up plans for another attempted coup from his office, where he worked as a tax accountant.
May 23, 2010 | By Dustin Roasa, Special to the Los Angeles Times
On a muggy evening last week, a crowd of thousands gathered around a temporary outdoor stage in this city's Cambodian Vietnamese Friendship Park. As with most nights, the manicured grounds had a carnival atmosphere, with mobile vendors selling sweets wrapped in banana leaves, and rows of middle-age women stepping their way through aerobics routines during the respite from the blazing sun. But this night was different, because the Los Angeles band Dengue Fever, which takes its inspiration from Cambodian rock music of the 1960s, was scheduled to perform a free show.
May 19, 2010 | Mark Magnier
Peace has not been kind to practitioners of the 2,000-year-old tradition, which holds that magic tattoos can make you invisible, divert bullets and boost your net worth. In a haze of incense, clients approach Kol Sambo and humbly request his help, sometimes seeking rush jobs for an imminent crisis. He listens and asks why they require added force. If he thinks they'll abuse the power, he turns them down "in a nice way." Kol is a practitioner of magic tattoos, a 2,000-year-old tradition some call the "soul of the nation."
May 7, 2010 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
About 2,000 Cambodian and Vietnamese immigrants in this remote bayou community — mostly families that have staked their American livelihoods on shrimping and fishing — have found themselves isolated by more than just vast stretches of swampland since the gulf oil spill disaster. Language barriers have made it even more difficult for them to be plugged into the latest information about temporary jobs offered by BP after thousands of fishermen like themselves have been put out of work by the oil spill.
May 1, 2010 | By My-Thuan Tran, Los Angeles Times
Kieng Seng never wanted to relive her memories of the brutal Khmer Rouge era. She never said a word to her friends or children, having "buried the memories in the ground under 100 layers." But last year, she recounted those nightmares openly for the first time, entering them as witness testimony in tribunals against former Khmer Rouge leaders accused of crimes against humanity. Seng was one of about 170 Cambodian refugees in the United States who submitted personal histories at the urging of activists who aimed to give expatriate Cambodians a voice in the Phnom Penh tribunal.
April 5, 2010 | By Corina Knoll
Dressed in a bright red uniform with a green scarf around his head, David Thong beamed Sunday as he kicked and punched an imaginary attacker while thousands watched. The 43-year-old was leading a group of students in a demonstration of labokator, an age-old martial art, at the sixth annual Cambodian New Year parade in Long Beach. Being able to publicly show off the Cambodian fighting technique on such a grand scale was a sign of how far the community had come, Thong said. "We have the ability to show to the world that we live here now," said Thong, who arrived in Long Beach two decades ago. For years, the Cambodian community in Long Beach, believed to be the largest outside Southeast Asia, has gathered to celebrate the Cambodian New Year, a three-day event that takes place in April.
January 21, 2010 | By My-Thuan Tran
On a rainy night nearly 14 years ago, Haing Ngor parked his gold Mercedes in a graffiti-lined alleyway behind his apartment on the edge of Chinatown. The Cambodian refugee-turned-actor had won an Academy Award for his role in 1984's "The Killing Fields," but he still lived in a tiny apartment where he kept his Oscar next to a large Buddha statue. As he stepped out of his car, gunshots echoed off the alley walls. A neighbor rushed outside to find Ngor slumped on the pavement of his carport.
November 28, 2009 | By Brendan Brady
A former Khmer Rouge prison chief who presided over the torture of about 15,000 prisoners who were later executed astonished observers of Cambodia's first genocide trial Friday by asking judges to release him because he had already served enough prison time and arguing that he shouldn't have been prosecuted in the first place. After months of professed remorse, Kang Kek Ieu, known in tribunal filings as Kaing Guek Eav but best known by his revolutionary name, Comrade Duch, challenged the legitimacy of the 9-month-old U.N.-assisted war crimes tribunal as it ended its hearings in his case.
September 21, 2009 | Charles McDermid and Jakkapun Kaewsangthong, McDermid and Kaewsangthong are special correspondents.
A bloody clash at an ancient Hindu temple on the Cambodian border. Security forces deployed in the capital to quell tens of thousands of anti-government protesters. A popular former prime minister calling his country a "dictatorship." And a beloved 81-year-old monarch hospitalized for the second time in four days. These are some of the scenes from a tumultuous weekend in Thailand, prompting Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to call for peace and lament his nation's image in the world.
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