See More on Facebook

Politics

Phnom Penh Post denies shutting down rumours

The CEO of ANN partner the Phnom Penh Post has denied rumours that the newspaper was on the verge of shutting down due to a massive government tax bill.


Written by

Updated: March 22, 2018

The CEO of The Phnom Penh Post Marcus Holmes has rubbished reports that Cambodia’s oldest English language paper is on the verge of shutting down, characterising recent negotiations on a tax bill as “routine.”

On March 16, news website AEC News published an article alleging that the Phnom Penh Post had incurred a $3.9 million tax penalty for failing to disclose a $2.5 million transfer from Australia and that it would close in 60 days without a massive injection of funds. Other claims include that Post Media, the newspaper’s publisher, will soon have to repay a $200,000 loan to a local bank and that a Phnom Penh court had recently ordered the company to pay a former CEO a six-figure settlement immediately.

Similar stories have been published by other media outlets, including Catholic newswire UCAN.

The sources of the information are identified in the articles as anonymous hackers or people close to Phnom Penh Post Publisher Bill Clough.

The Phnom Penh Post is not the only paper to face tax issues in recent months.

Last year, independent English-language paper The Cambodia Daily found itself embroiled in a bitter battle with the tax department when it was abruptly slapped with an exorbitant $6.3 million tax bill. The paper was forced to shut down in September but continues to run an online, non-commercial publication.

Other media also found themselves hounded by the tax department, with some broadcasters, including Phnom Penh-based Moha Nokor being ordered to shut down.

Some have speculated that the series of events is part of a larger campaign to silence voices of dissent ahead of the country’s next general election, which will be held in July. In September, opposition leader Kem Sokha was arrested at his house on charges of treason and his main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party was dissolved the following month, effectively eliminating the only credible threat to current Prime Minister Hun Sen’s power.

Holmes, however, has insisted that the negotiations over tax were unaffected by the paper’s status as the last independent newspaper in the country, and have been going on since December.

“It’s so routine,” he said, according to The Phnom Penh Post. “We fully expect we are going to explain this, [the GDT] is going to accept that and everyone is going to be happy.”

Holmes did acknowledge that the government had sent a letter alleging that the paper failed to follow proper reporting requirements regarding a $2.5 million money transfer from Australia and that the issue was now subject to negotiations.

He also addressed other matters raised in the articles, stating that the loan from the local bank was normal and that the company planned to pay it off within the next year, The Phnom Penh Post reported.

Holmes also stated that the paper will be appealing the ruling in the wrongful dismissal suit brought by former CEO Chris Dawe.

“None of this is new, or interesting, or surprising,” he said, according to The Phnom Penh Post.

“It’s all painted in these apocalyptic terms because we’re the last independent newspaper in Cambodia. If we weren’t . . . it would be very boring, and no business editor would be vaguely interested in publishing anything about it.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Beijing slams unrest and backs HK govt’s use of lawful means to tackle it

Protests have shut down Hong Kong for the past several days before a government crackdown. Beijing yesterday condemned the unrest that broke out in Hong Kong over the city’s extradition Bill as an organised riot, and said it supported the local government’s use of lawful means to resolve the situation. Asked if the central government supported the use of rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong was against any act that undermines the city’s prosperity and stability. “Any civilised and lawful society will not tolerate the destruction of peace and tranquillity,” he said. “The Chinese central government strongly condemns all types of violence and supports the Hong Kong government to handle the matter according to the law.” Chinese state media


By The Straits Times
June 14, 2019

Politics

Taiwan expresses support, solidarity with Hong Kong

Taiwan advocacy groups call for retaliation against Hong Kong extradition bill. Dozens of civic groups in Taiwan called on the government on June 11 to adopt concrete regulations in response to Hong Kong’s controversial extradition bill, suggesting tighter controls on investments from Hong Kong and visits by its civil servants, for example. In a statement issued ahead of the expected second reading of the bill Wednesday, the groups urged the Taiwan government to submit a countermeasure proposal to the Legislative Yuan during its extraordinary session on June 17. The Taiwan government should also issue a statement, asking the Hong Kong government to halt its review of the bill, which could put the personal freedom of Taiwanese nationals at risk, as it would allow the Hong Kong government to send suspects to China for trial, the groups said. Despite fierce opposition by an est


By ANN Members
June 13, 2019

Politics

China blames ‘lawlessness’ for Hong Kong

Lawlessness undermining rule of law in Hong Kong, says China Daily editorial. The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has explained many times the proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s fugitive law are meant to better protect Hong Kong society by plugging the loopholes in the existing laws in order to enhance the rule of law. Rather than pushing through a bill against the wishes of Hong Kong society as some have tried to portray, the government has made changes to the proposed bill more than once in response to concerns expressed in the community. As a result, most of the members of Legislative Council of the special administrative region, who are accountable to their voters, now support the amendments. Nor is it a hasty or unnecessary move. Indeed the need for an extradition agreement with the mainland was acknowledged by government officials and legal experts ahead of H


By China Daily
June 13, 2019

Politics

Hong Kong protests turn violent

At least 72 people taken to hospital during clashes with police. At least 72 people were injured and taken to hospital during clashes between police and protesters on Wednesday (June 12) over a contentious extradition Bill, said Hong Kong authorities. By night time, police officers were still in a stand-off with protesters on Queensway, not far from Admiralty Station, even though most of the protestors had dispersed following the use of tear gas and rubber bullets. Earlier, police fired rubber bullets at protesters after they declared a “riot” as – for the second time in days – clashes broke out between police and protesters demonstrating against the controversial extradition Bill.


By The Straits Times
June 13, 2019

Politics

Nepal Prime Minister’s speech in UK is filled with irony

Nepal’s prime minister celebrated democratic freedoms in his UK speech but it contradicts what he’s doing at home. While Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s Monday speech at the Oxford Union in the United Kingdom valorised the importance of freedoms, rights and democracy, back home, his government has been criticised for what many see as an authoritarian turn, stifling freedom of speech and steadily encroaching on human rights. In his speech at the Oxford Union, Oli said that as someone who had spent over five decades fighting for democratic rights, and as a result, been imprisoned for 14 years, including four years in solitary confinement, he knew “how important access to education and freedom of speech are for people and society to grow, deve


By The Kathmandu Post
June 12, 2019

Politics

Hong Kong leader defiant despite protest over extradition bill.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says extradition Bill has to be passed as opponents call for fresh protests. A day after what organisers touted as an unprecedented protest with a record one million people taking to the streets to protest against proposed changes to an extradition Bill, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has shown no signs of backing down even as opponents called for fresh protests. Mrs Lam told the media late in the morning on Monday (June 10) that the proposed amendments to the Bill that will go through a second reading on Wednesday (June 12), “will help to uphold justice”. She noted that the intense discussions over the last four months since the idea was mooted in early February “is quite unprecedented”.


By The Straits Times
June 11, 2019