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The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong 香港外國記者會



JAN–FEB 2010



In the second of its unique awards honouring the memory of legendary correspondent Kate Webb, Agence France-Presse has rewarded a fearless Philippine investigative team. Jonathan Sharp reports.









in review













then and now


STILETTO: Max Kolbe on the growing number of journalist murders



CARTOONS: From Harry Harrison and Arthur Hacker



DEAR DICK...This issue’s letter to Dick Hughes


The FCC has organized a fundraising exhibition for Oxfam and the Zanmi Lakay charity, which works with Haitian street children Photographers globally feel they are increasingly under attack as public and private worlds blur, writes Michael Coyne Reef photograhy is an “intimate affair” that needs the photographer to get very close. Delfs’ stunning work shows just how close he got Patrick Hennessey talks at the Club on the media and war Christopher Dillon reviews a novel about a foreign reporter in Japan This New Journalism classic is reissued, writes Michael Mackey Luke Hunt talks to Nic Dunlop about an image that captured a torturer

Cover: Harry Harrison

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2521 1511 Fax: (852) 2868 4092 Email: Website:

President: Tom Mitchell 1st Vice President: Keith Bradsher 2nd Vice President: Francis Moriarty Correspondent Governors: Thomas William Easton, Anna Healy Fenton, Jim Laurie, Kees Metselaar, Colum Murphy, Christopher Slaughter, Stephen Vines, Douglas Wong Journalist Governors: Barclay Crawford, Jake Van Der Kamp Associate Governors: John Batten, Andrew Paul Chworowsky, Thomas Crampton, Steve Ushiyama Club Secretary: Douglas Wong Finance Convener: Jake Van Der Kamp Membership Convener: Steve Ushiyama Professional Conveners: Keith Bradsher, Colum Murphy Publications Convener: Kees Metselaar, Anna Healy Fenton House Food and Beverage Convener: Stephen Vines Wine Sub-committee Co-chairperson: Anna Healy Fenton, Stephen Vines FCC Charity Fund Co-chairman: Andrew Paul Chworowsky, Thomas Crampton Press Freedom Conveners: Francis Moriarty, Barclay Crawford Constitutional Convener: Christopher Slaughter Wall Convener: Christopher Slaughter Goodwill Ambassadors: Clare Hollingworth, Anthony Lawrence General Manager: Gilbert Cheng The Correspondent © The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong FCC MAGAZINE The Correspondent is published six times a year. Opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Club. Publications Committee Conveners: Anna Healy Fenton, Kees Metselaar Editor: Richard Cook Produced by WordAsia Limited, Tel: 2805 1422, Email:



From the Club President

Dear Members, The climb from the Pedder Street MTR station to the FCC is familiar to most of our members. For many of us, it is the only regular exercise we get. I like to think of that steep set of stairs between Wyndham and Ice House streets as the Club’s own Hillary Step – a final formidable obstacle before reaching the welcome summit of our Main Bar. The next time you are at the bottom of those stairs, pausing to catch your breath before tackling them, take a second to note the small door to your right, under a faded old FCC sign. For February is our unofficial Staff Appreciation Month, and it is through that easy-to-miss back door that our staff enter and exit the Club. On February 6 the Club will be closed for our annual off-site staff party, an evening of fun, food and games also attended by the FCC’s 17 governors. To those members who pride themselves on their prodigious tolerances, I promise that many members of our otherwise sober staff can probably drink you under the table. They often trounce the governors at one of the party’s most important traditions – the drinking games. And we governors are hardly a bunch of lightweights when it comes to quaffing booze, although I must confess I failed the Board team miserably at last year’s beer relay race. 2


But back to that door. As our staff enter they pass by a small shrine to Mo Di (as in Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road), the Han dynasty warrior and god of war revered by soldiers, policemen and triads alike. Less reverentially, there is also a picture of each governor hung on the wall. If there to aid recognition, the pictures’ usefulness is distinctly limited. That is because most of the photos are the same ones we submitted for our first membership card. Let’s just say that most of us governors have become, over the ensuing years, considerably more, errr, “prosperous” around the middle. My own picture there was taken seven years ago on the eve of my 33rd birthday, when my hair

was much longer and less grey than it is now. It bears rather more of a resemblance to Little Lord Fauntleroy than it does to my soonto-be, sighhh, 40-year-old self. It is a wonder that the staff are able to recognise me at all. After changing into their uniforms, our staff go about their often difficult jobs with their usual good cheer and considerable work ethic. Those labouring in the kitchen have it particularly tough. Whether it is Chef George and his team, or Jimmy and the other dishwashers, all work in a very hot and small space. Orders punched in at Bert’s, the Main Bar and upstairs Dining Room come in via a ticker, where they are read out to the chefs over a small speaker system. Remarkably, the chefs simply make a mental note of the fast flowing verbal instructions and execute them entirely from memory. A small room by the Wyndham Street entrance provides a final reminder of how hard our staff work. Sweaty uniforms are deposited for washing at the end of every shift. For our lucky laundry company, it is very good business indeed. So the next time you dash through our beautiful front entrance on Lower Albert Road, the door held open for you, spare a thought for our hard-working staff and wish them a great night out on February 6.

Tom Mitchell Club President


Haiti Earthquake Appeal The FCC and Bloomberg TV have organized a Club-based fundraising exhibition and appeal after the recent Haiti earthquake with proceeds assisting Oxfam and the Zanmi Lakay charity, which works with Haitian street children. The exhibition runs from February 8th to 28th.

Zanmi Lakay runs photography workshops and outreach programmes and supports homeless youths. They now need to do so much more. Above images by photography workshop participants – Left by Jacmel Whitnie Charles, 13 years old; Right by James Lherison, 15 years old.

I first went to Haiti in 1997 and lived at Lafanmi Selavi, a home created for street children by JeanBertrand Aristide in 1986 when he was still a parish priest. Close to 500 children found their way to Lafanmi Selavi for a variety of reasons. Some were orphans or abandoned, others had been abused, many families could not afford to take care of their kids, and many were restaveks or child slaves. I took their pictures and got to know them during the years I worked on my documentary project and held Photography Workshops. When Lafanmi Selavi closed, many children no longer had the opportunity to go to school, a place to sleep, food and clothing, sports, music, art, or a family that their former home provided. Street life is harsh, miserable and dangerous for children in Haiti. They have no one and they need help. They want to learn and go to school, they want to be safe, and they want to contribute to society. Zanmi Lakay 4


was created because of the growing needs of street children in Haiti, and my husband and I want to continue helping them on a more consistent basis. The seed of Zanmi Lakay was the Photography Workshops. My inspiration was the book, Shooting Back about a successful project founded by Jim Hubbard while he was working with homeless children in Washington D.C. Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. Haiti is almost exactly the same size as Massachusetts, with a population of over eight million people; Massachusetts has 6.4 million. But per capita income in Haiti is under $400, compared to nearly $42,000 in Massachusetts. Haiti’s early history is slavery, succeeded almost continuously by even more brutal tyranny. As a result, 80% of Haitians live in abject poverty, at least 50% are illiterate, and two thirds have no formal employment. Over 40% of the population are under the age of

15. According to UNICEF, more than 173,000 Haitian children are domestic workers (restaveks), 3,000 have been trafficked in the Dominican Republic, and 200,000 have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Many schools charge tuition, plus the costs of books, uniforms, food and transportation. There are small group homes in Port-au-Prince, as well as food programmes, and various NGOs that are helping street children. But the number of street children is estimated at 9,000-250,000, and obviously assistance is pitifully inadequate. In addition to our outreach programme and Photography Workshops, Zanmi Lakay supports a group of homeless and at-risk youth with general living and educational assistance. We would like to do more.

Jennifer Pantaléon, Director, Zanmi Lakay. For more see


Bottom right by James Lherison (15 years old); All other images: Zanmi Lakay workshop director, Jennifer PantalĂŠon.



Club News

Kung Hei Kung Hei!

Future Speaker Events


Another wide variety of topquality speakers will address the Club in February and March. Upcoming speaker events include: young political activist Christina Chan (pictured above), who will talk at the Club on February 4 about “Why is the Post-80s Generation Angry?”; on March 1 Christine Loh will talk about the “History of the Communist Party In Hong Kong” and on March 30 the Hon. Tim Groser, New Zealand Minister of Trade, will address the Club. In March the Club will also host a number of Man Literary Festival lunches and dinners – more information will follow closer to the time. These events follow yet another busy period in the Club’s speaker diary that saw a series of near back-to-back events in January. These included:



Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, talking at the Club on “The Rise of the New Right: Free Trade, Markets and Entrepreneurship” on January 13; Barry Wain, Author/Writerin-Residence at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, talking on how “Mahathir’s Legacy Haunts Malaysia” on January 20 and former SCMP Editor-inChief Thomas Abraham, now the Director of Public Health Communication Programme, University of Hong Kong, whose subject was “Inside the Swine Flu Pandemic”. For full speaker listings, information or event reservations, talk to the Club reception staff on +852 2521 1511, email the Club on or check the FCC website at www.

To celebrate the end of the Year of the Ox, the FCC Chinese Dining Room will be serving two special 12-course year-end dinner sets. Both are available from February 1 until February 11. Alternatively, for members who want to greet the New Year of the Tiger with a traditional “Spring Dinner”, the Club is serving two seasonal festive dinners from February 17th until the 27th. The price (to be confirmed closer to the date) includes 12 cans of Carlsberg beer and a bottle of white wine. A complimentary bottle of house sparkling wine is given to parties who book more than seven days in advance. The Club will be, as usual, running a limited schedule over the Chinese New Year holiday period. On Saturday February 13 (Chinese New Year’s Eve), the Club will close at 4PM. On New Year’s Day and the 2nd and 3rd days of the Chinese New Year (Sunday 14, Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 respectively), only the Club’s Main Bar will be open – from noon until midnight – and will only serve food from a special Chinese New Year menu from noon until 11PM. On Wednesday February 17th, all the Club’s facilities return to normal hours. May we take this opportunity to wish all The Correspondent’s readers a wealthy, healthy and, most importantly of all, a very happy Year of the Tiger. Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Club News

Great Year of Golf and Another to Come

The FCC Golf Society is dedicated to getting out and playing a round of golf every month with a group of people who enjoy the game, friendly competition and some social entertainment. We play most often at the three public courses in Kau Sai Chau the third Friday of every month. In the summer time we play on selected Saturdays. The Zhuhai courses in China and the Macau Golf and Country Club provide some added variety to the mix. We plan to partner with the CCC club to play for three days in Thailand later this year. You don’t have to be an obsessive golfer to join. Currently we have 43 members with handicaps ranging from 12 to 40. Generally, we have 12 to 20 golfers for each event. We do encourage you to get a Hong Kong Golf Association handicap card as some courses and some events require it for booking. The cost to join the society is HK$350 annual dues payable in April and billed through your FCC account. Event fees are standard greens fees plus HK$100 for prizes, lunch and drinks afterward. Guests are welcome to join you for a slight additional cost. One added advantage to joining is that, as an FCC Golf Society member, you can book Discovery Bay Golf Club on Monday, Tuesday or Friday for the reduced fee of HK$1000. These are great courses with excellent facilities and only twenty minutes from Central. We kicked off our 2010 schedule on January 15 on the North course at Kau Sai Chu with a Texas scramble event. Four teams vied for the top score on a cold crisp day of brilliant sunshine. Returning back to the 19th hole, we celebrated the start of another great year of golf in Hong Kong with lunch, prizes and good cheer. For further information contact Russ Julseth at

Left to right front: Wendy Allen, Rick Allen, Sabrina Wong, Russ Julseth. Left to right back: Julian Marland, Robin SwafďŹ eld, Richard Castka, Willi Flanhardt.



Club News

Cricket Team Bats On

FCC 9-ball Tournament

Long-time FCC member, Tony Chan won the Rocky Lane 9-ball pool tournament for the third year running in early January. The event – in its sixth year of a 10-year programme, was founded in 2004 by the Rocky Lane Foundation – a charity trust set up by former FCC member Rocky Lane – as a way to promote the sport of pool at the FCC. The latest event featured 19 participants vying for the coveted trophy. The initial round robin and knock out rounds were played at Joe’s Billiards, located on the second floor of King’s Hotel in Wanchai – with the table fees generously waived by the owner of the establishment and FCC member Joe Nieh. The players then migrated to the FCC’s Bert’s Bar for the subsequent rounds of the event and the elaborate lunch buffet laid out by the FCC management. Chan qualified for the quarter finals only after a narrow win over FCC pool team member Demo Choi, who had his chance



to take down the then two-time champion in the round of 16. After building a commanding 3-0 lead, Choi missed a crucial 9-ball that allowed Chan to come back for the win. Chan then edged out Nieh and another FCC pool team member, David Line, before overcoming former winner Paul McConomy in the final. Over 35 FCC members and their significant others turned up to support the event. “It was a great event which brought many FCC members together with a common goal – to have fun and enjoy what the Club had to offer,” said FCC Pool Society Convener Anthony Wong. “We hope to attract more FCC members to the event in future tournaments.” The FCC Pool Society has been actively representing the Club fielding teams for multiple seasons in citywide pool leagues, including a weekly 8-ball league organized by Joe’s Billiards that features over 10 teams and more than 100 active players. Anthony Wong

The omen for a day’s cricket can only be good when your wicketkeeper’s dedication is such that he dashes from the pulpit on a Sunday to the University of Hong Kong’s Sandy Bay ground for the match. Pastor John Snelgrove’s commitment on his busiest work day, plus several solid evening net sessions, meant there was a touch of confidence about Club’s side for their second-ever game at Sandy Bay on a grim and chilly Sunday, 24th of January. However, bowling like the wind and cracking imagined boundaries within the cloistered confines of the India Club’s net – and repeating this during a game with fielders and league-level batsmen – are very different propositions. And it became obvious this University team would be more serious than social and yes, HKU were generally younger, fitter and more seasoned than the F.C.C.C.C, but the Club side lifted to at least partially meet the challenge. Catches were made, fielders dived to cut off singles, and still everyone managed to bowl at least three overs. While the ball was dispatched frequently onto the nearby football pitches before finally being lost forever by one well-timed shot into the ocean, the Club side were by no means disgraced. Catches were actually held – one brilliantly by Matthew Wake on the boundary, two by Richard Cook and another by Paul Christensen – and runs were saved. Diving, sliding, skidding stops on the boundary by Nick Gentle and Richard Frost were an example of a new-found resolve. Their knees must have been feeling it for days after. HKU were not quite dismissed for 275, bringing on the Club’s batsmen.

Reciprocal Clubs

Club News

New Cavendish, London The FCC’s overseas reciprocal clubs provide useful boltholes and an aid to orientation in strange cities, writes Robin Lynam.

Despite the daunting total, no one shrank from the challenge and there were some notable batting performances. Hari Kumar and captain Neil “Daddy” Western produced some quality shots, Western coming undone to a brilliant catch at mid-on and Kumar lifting his head while looking to drive. God was on the Pastor’s side, allowing him to survive a torrid opening spell, and become the bookend on which an innings could be built. While a classy-looking John Batten was called back to the wicket by Club’s opponents, who deemed him unfairly dismissed, the best batting performance was left to Alistair Bruce, who clubbed a series of boundaries and sixes, and looked set to become the first Club player to be forced to retire at 35. Alas, he fell two runs short of this still elusive target. Club was eventually dismissed for 156. Best news of the day was there were no ducks and the captain’s children Isabella and Daniel survived unscathed. Special mention goes to Tom Mitchell on the sidelines who enjoyed goodnatured ribbing from both teams while quaffing wine and cheese. Anyone who wants to join the FCC Cricket Club please contact team skipper Neil Western: neil_western@yahoo.

London does not qualify as strange, at least in the sense of unfamiliarity. I was born there and regard it and Hong Kong as my two hometowns, but I don’t have a place of my own in the city, and many times over the years now the New Cavendish has provided me with a very convenient temporary base. The club is something of an oddity on our reciprocal list. It has no special connection to journalism, and its history, by comparison with our own, is rather genteel. It was founded by Margaret Russell, Baroness Ampthill, who was Chairman of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) of nurses during the First World War. After the war the Baroness decided that there should be “a first class ladies club” in London for VAD nurses past and present, and the original clubhouse in Cavendish Square opened in 1920. In 1959 it moved to its present Great Cumberland Place location and became the “New” Cavendish Club. Lady members without VAD credentials were admitted, and eventually the rules were changed to allow gentlemen to join. The more modestly priced of the club’s rooms lack en suite facilities, and it is perfectly possible, late at night, to encounter elderly ladies in dressing gowns in the corridors who look as though they still do not approve of this innovation. For those who like clubs – particularly London clubs – to be a little old-fashioned, the New Cavendish is a very comfortable environment. There is a dress code, and although the club no longer insists on a jacket and tie, you do feel more comfortable there if wearing them. Conversation at breakfast – an excellent “full English” is included in the room rate – is muted. The facilities in most rooms are basic, but you certainly get everything you could reasonably expect for one of the lowest room rates in London, in a prime location. The club is a few minutes walk from Oxford Street and Marble Arch Underground Station and a short cab ride from Paddington Railway Station from which the Heathrow Express departs. The only meal I have ever The New Cavendish Club eaten at the club is breakfast 44 Great Cumberland Place, – one is in London after all – but London W1H 7BS, UK the menus look good, and as Tel: 44 (0) 207 7230 391/6 reasonably priced as any food or drink in the city is these days.





Kate Webb Award

In the Kate Webb Spirit In the second of its unique awards honouring the memory of legendary correspondent Kate Webb, Agence France-Presse has rewarded a fearless Philippine investigative team. Jonathan Sharp reports.


he Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, with its proud motto of “We tell it like it is. No matter who. No matter what”, began life 21 years ago with little more than a second-hand typewriter and a battered computer. Since then, the PCIJ, still with no more than ten fulltime editorial staff, has firmly established itself as a sturdy and respected bulwark of independence in a free-wheeling media environment where journalists frequently face intimidation – or death. Along the way, the PCIJ has itself made many enemies. The dangers of incurring the wrath of powerful interests in the Philippines were horrifically demonstrated last November when 31 reporters and media workers were among 57 people abducted and killed in Maguindanao province, a massacre allegedly orchestrated by members of the province’s ruling Ampatuan clan. Those deaths brought the number of journalists killed in the Philippines since the fall of Ferdinand Marcos to 134, underscoring the nation’s reputation as the world’s most lethal place in which to be a reporter. “The last stories of journalists killed in the Philippines are typically about local graft, local corruption and local criminal activities,” said PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas. She wants this year’s Kate Webb Award to recognise all reporters who worked bravely in the Philippines. “It is very difficult, almost discomfiting, to say our situation as journalists from Metro Manila could even come close to the vulnerability of our colleagues in Maguindanao or in the provinces of the Philippines. So I think a fitting tribute is to accept it in their honour.” The PCIJ plans to use the 5,000 euros (US$7,250) prize to train Filipino journalists how to report safely while investigating the nearly 200 families that dominate Philippine politics. The award will be presented by Eric Wishart, AFP’s Asia Pacific Director, at a ceremony in Manila on March 24, Kate Webb’s birthday. Kate succumbed to cancer in 2007 aged 64. Wishart, the moving spirit behind the award established in honour of one of AFP’s most distinguished reporters, said that many people did not realise the dangers of reporting in the Philippines.

“Normally this is an individual award, but we looked at the entries this year, and we thought that what had happened in the south of the Philippines was so extreme, we felt that, exceptionally, we would award the prize to the PCIJ.” He added: “What’s very important for AFP is that when we send journalists into danger zones, first of all they must do combat training. A lot of journalists get killed because they haven’t had previous training. PCIJ will use the money to train journalists on the basic ways of staying out of trouble. “The 31 who were killed in the south walked straight into a trap. I’m not judging whether or not they could have avoided it, but with training they would at least have been in a better position to decide whether it was a good idea to get involved in a situation like that.” Conventional wars may have some basic rules, Wishart said, but these rules did not apply in places like the southern Philippines. “This kind of lowgrade, dirty war that goes on in the south has no rules. And that’s the most dangerous kind of conflict for a journalist to cover.”



Kate Webb Award

However it was essential that such conflicts were covered, he said. “Local journalists who do cover them are very brave. Foreigners going in have a certain protection because they are foreigners. Local journalists are the most exposed.” In 2008, a PCIJ reporter, Jaileen Jimeno, took three trips to Maguindanao to report on the province’s impoverished population despite warnings from local reporters not to file negative reports on the Ampatuans. While in Maguindanao, there were mysterious knocks on her hotel door warning here she was being watched. As a form of protection, Jimeno made only short trips to the danger zone, her movements were carefully followed by the PCIJ and lawyers were informed of threats made against her. Among the notable scalps of PCIJ’s investigative

reporting has been ex-president Joseph Estrada, who was deposed in 2001 after it was revealed he had helped himself to the nation’s wealth. The PCIJ’s reports were used as evidence in his impeachment hearings and the later trials found him guilty. Current President Gloria Arroyo has also been in PCIJ’s sights. The Kate Webb Award, which is administered by the non-profit AFP Foundation, is unique as a prize that is named after a war correspondent and aimed exclusively at local journalists – a feature that would have been applauded by Kate, who was a renowned defender of the rights of local journalists and a supporter of their well-being. Wishart said that Kate’s family members, Jeremy and Rachel, had been consulted on the appropriateness of the award being won by the PCIJ and they approved. “They thought it was really in the Kate Webb spirit.”

Kate Webb 1943 – 2007

Kate Webb belonged to that most exclusive of clubs – one whose members read about their death before they have actually died. And in Kate’s case, this was no low-brow rag that published news of her supposed demise. It was reported in the mighty New York Times no less, and on its front page to boot. The episode that led to the greatly exaggerated reports of Kate’s death took place in Cambodia in 1971 when she was taken prisoner with five others by North Vietnamese troops. They were marched through jungle for 23 days during which she was reported to have been killed. Kate and other captives were released just as her family held a memorial service for her in Sydney. “It caused a bit of a stir at home,” she said a few years before her death to cancer in May 2007. But the Cambodia ordeal was by no means the only defining experience in a life and career, much of it spent in Asia, that made New Zealand-born Kate a media legend. As AFP, Kate’s employer from 1985 until her retirement in 2001, recorded: “Webb’s knack for being in hot spots at the right time, a fearsome wrath and her colourful barroom antics became the stuff of legend among fellow Asia hands who made their mark in the pre-internet era.” Although she built her enviable journalistic reputation in the Indochina conflict,




Kate’s byline also featured prominently in many hot spot datelines elsewhere: in India covering the assassination of Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi, the rise of “People’s Power” in the Philippines, the first Gulf War, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and ensuing civil war, the strife in East Timor, the death of North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung and Hong Kong’s handover to China. Less well publicized was the enormous generosity she showed to people and causes she cared deeply about, including, not least, local journalists, the beneficiaries of AFP’s innovative Kate Webb Award.

Kate Webb Award

Award a win for all the Philippines In naming The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism as the recipient of this year’s Kate Webb Award, Agence FrancePresse has thrown a spotlight on a corner of the earth where being a reporter is just as deadly as it is in Afghanistan and Iraq, writes Luke Hunt.

The Philippines’extraordinary press corps rarely flinches. “Investigative journalism is very important in the Philippines,” said veteran reporter Al Jacinto. “Corruption in the government and wrongdoings of government officials are most of the topics that Filipinos read.” Jacinto’s family publishes the Mindanao Examiner where he is part businessman, reporter and editor and he knows only too well the perils in reporting from the Philippines’ troubled south. The killing of 31 journalists which has been linked by authorities to the Ampatuan clan, a political ally of President Gloria Arroyo, remains by far the biggest issue in the Philippines, particularly in the lead-up to the May 10 elections. Jacinto said the single biggest massacre of journalists in history came as an enormous shock that went far beyond anyone’s expectations. “I have friends who were brutally killed,” he told The Correspondent. “When news broke out about the massacre, I was holding back my tears as I was interviewing the regional army spokesman in central Mindanao. “We live in a small world in the Philippines - anything bad that happens to a journalist is one deadly stab in our heart.


We are journalists, we are only messengers of truth,” he added. Andal Junior is the scion of the powerful Ampatuan family and the alleged mastermind of the November 23 massacre of 57 people, including journalists and supporters of a political rival, in the southern province of Maguindanao on Mindanao. His father, Maguindanao Governor at the time of the murders, Andal Ampatuan Senior, has also been implicated along with two other siblings. In praising the PCIJ, Jacinto said the Philippines needed more media outlets that focused on investigative journalism. He also said the resolve of those already in the business would be sorely tested as they focused their attention on “the unbelievable wealth of the Ampatuan clan”, Arroyo, her husband and the rest of the family ahead of elections. “Filipinos get a glimpse of all this, thanks to investigative

journalists - but the threats to the people working on these issues are also great.” He was particularly saddened by the death of photojournalist Gene Boyd Lumawag in 2004. Twenty-six-year-old Lumawag was on assignment in Jolo where he had just taken some shots of a sunset at the local pier. On the way back to his hotel he was approached by gunmen and shot in the head, Jacinto said his friend was shot by the Abu Sayyaf, probably on the orders of somebody who did not appreciate Lumawag’s research into corruption. Four years later an unidentified gunman opened fire on the offices of the Mindanao Examiner in Zamboanga City for the same reason. With so much horror in the job, Jacinto leaves no doubt where he stands. “They should have put those who are involved in the brutal killings to death as well.”




Shooting the messenger As the distinction between public and private space continues to blur, photographers globally feel they are increasingly under attack, as police, security guards and property owners prevent them doing what they do best – taking pictures of interesting people and places. Hong Kong-based photographer Michael Coyne joins the debate. “

A security guard blocks Michael Coyne’s lens as the photographer attempts to shoot an everyday street scene in Hong Kong.




eware of illegal photo taking. Report crime for benefit of all.” These were the words on a sign at Causeway Bay, a bustling tourist area in Hong Kong. Such a warning isn’t unusual here; wherever you go, you can find signs reading, “No Photos, No Videos, No Smoking and No Dogs.” There are approximately 60 million cameras being sold in the world each year. And yet, it is getting harder and harder to use them without being accused of being a spy, a pervert, or a paedophile. The problem is not unique to Hong Kong. A quick Google search reveals numerous instances of photographers in the West being stopped from taking pictures in public areas. For example… Earlier this year, a London photographer was arrested under anti-terror laws for photographing a building near his home. In Greece a photographer was arrested when a woman complained he was photographing her daughter on the subway. He apologized and erased the pictures — but the police still arrested him. In the U.K. an amateur photographer was handcuffed and arrested for photographing a policewoman. In Australia the local council tried to ban cameras from Bondi Beach, and school councils have banned cameras at children’s


sporting events — claiming it would stop paedophiles. In the U.S.A. a photographer was prevented from taking pictures of an oil refinery in Colorado and was told that it was forbidden after 9/11. Some time ago, I was making candid photographs on a Hong Kong street when a woman began verbally abusing me. She was convinced I was taking pictures of her infant. “Madam,” I explained, “I don’t take baby photos.” On another occasion, I knelt in a roadway to take photos of people who were walking in a crossing. “You can’t take pictures from that angle,” warned my assistant. “You will be arrested and accused of trying to take pictures of women’s underwear.” On yet another occasion, I was standing on a footbridge that spanned the main road through the centre of Hong Kong. I was there to scout for a location and test the length of the lens I would need for an upcoming shoot. Suddenly, I was surrounded by three guards. “No photos!” one of them exclaimed as he planted a hand in front of my lens. Another guard stood in front of me in case I tried to do anything dangerous, as a third spoke rapidly into his phone. My crime was I had taken pictures of traffic and tourists crossing the road through Central

Hong Kong. But it gets worse. There is a famous building in Hong Kong that appears in every skyline photograph that is taken of the city. I needed to shoot a picture of the front of this building from the street. No sooner had I pulled out my camera than a guard came rushing over waving his arms and calling out, “You can’t take pictures! Stop! Stop!” The Best Camera for Spying? Everywhere I go I see people pointing their phone cameras at everything and anything — but bring out a Digital SLR and the whole world goes into panic. I can never work this out. Does it mean that spies only use a Nikon D3 with a large zoom lens? This would make them as obvious as a fly on the end of your nose. Blimey, if I were a spy I’d use a Nokia phone


camera. No one would suspect you then. One time I came upon three girls standing in the street dressed as fairies. I thought it would make a nice stock picture. I wasn’t alone in seeing the moment; so did 10 others who were shooting away with their phone cameras. And yet, as soon as I put my DSLR up to my face, a guard came running over and yelled, “No pictures! No pictures!” She then proceeded to jump up and down in front of me, trying to make it to difficult for me to take pictures of the girls. Unfortunately for her, she was a great deal shorter than me and didn’t quite get in front of the lens. I did, however, miss the picture that I wanted most — a man dressed as a giant condom walking right past the fairies, unobstructed and undisturbed. He was being paid to promote Durex. Easier in Iran? You want to know what’s odd? Earlier this year, I worked in Iran. During my time there, I took pictures of babies, women, buildings and tourists. And nobody accused me of being a spy, a pervert or a paedophile. That’s right; it was easier to work in Iran, of all places, than in the tourist areas of Hong Kong. This article originally appeared on the Black Star Rising Photography Blog ( THE CORRESPONDENT


The Wall

The Intimate Reef by Robert Delfs

Robert Delfs says that reef photography is an “intimate affair” that needs the photographer to “get close and then closer”. His stunning work, which hung in the FCC during December and January, shows how close he got. “The real subject of these images is the inconceivable richness of coral reef communities of Eastern Indonesia at the heart of the Southeast Asian Coral Triangle. This is the most biodiverse marine ecosystem on the planet, home to 75% of all known coral species, more than 3,000 different fish species, six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles and the playground for dozens of different species of dolphins, whales and other marine mammals. Many of these species and their habitats are critically threatened by coastal development, climate change, over-fishing and destructive fishing practices, including the unsustainable demand for live wild reef fish restaurants in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. Help protect reefs by saying no to shark’s fins and supporting sustainable reef fish and tuna fisheries and contributing to the International Coral Triangle Initiative through Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy,WWF and RARE Conservation.” By Robert Delfs 16


Robert Delfs is a conservation consultant and underwater photographer who divides his time between Bali, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China. As a consultant, Robert has worked for The Nature Conservancy, WWF and RARE Conservation. He has been an FCC member since 1981 and previously worked for the Far Eastern Economic Review, as China Correspondent and Beijing and Tokyo Bureau Chief, and the Eastern Express as China Editor. Subsequently, he worked on government relations and NGO projects in Hong Kong and China. Currently Robert is helping RARE Conservation plan a suite of community-based conservation programmes at wetland nature reserves in China. For enquiries about exhibition prints or the Coral Triangle Conservation Initiative, contact Robert on:

Above: Banded Archer Fish; Raja Ampat, West Papau. Below: Octupus and Goldsaddle GoatďŹ sh; Raja Ampat, West Papau. Facing: Tailspot Blenny and Chinese Tree Worm; Raja Ampat, West Papau.

Top: Banded Sea Krait; Banda Sea. Middle L: Whitemargin Stargazer, Middle R: Weedy Scorpionfish; both Lembeh Strait. Facing: Cuttlefish; South Maluku. Bottom L: Pygmy Seahorse, Bottom R: Spinecheel Anemonefish; both Komodo. Overleaf: Cathedral Windows, Raja Ampat, West Papau.

In Review

Wartime pain in the arse Ex-British soldier, veteran of the Afghan war and now writer, Patrick Hennessey ventured into the FCC to point out how the media are getting it wrong in covering that conflict. Jonathan Sharp reports.


atrick Hennessey might seem an unlikely author of a book about the British army whose chapters include one entitled “Welcome to Fucking Iraq”. He was expensively educated at Berkhamstead school and read English at Oxford’s Balliol College – not the background of the average salty-tongued British squaddie. But then his book is also unusual. The title, “The Junior Officers’ Reading Club”, is itself deceptive, conjuring up images of young learned types swapping literary aperçus while gathered round the campfire. There is in fact very little about any such reading club in this book, and a lot in it about its sub-title: “Killing Time and Fighting Wars”. And it’s by turn riveting, perceptive, evocative and above all hair-raising about the experience of combat, built around a series of wonderfully articulate e-mails Hennessey sent to friends, from the time he entered Sandhurst military college in 2004 to the end of his Afghanistan tour with his beloved regiment, the Grenadier Guards, in autumn 2007. If you want to read one book about what combat is like – terrifying but also addictively exhilarating, Hennessey says -- in Afghanistan’s hellish Helmand province, this is it. And if you are convinced, like many, that the United States and its allies are on a hiding to nothing in Afghanistan, like the 19th century British and 22



20th century Russians before them, then take time to read Hennessey’s unfashionable take of “cautious optimism” on the outcome in that supposed quagmire. Read also his spirited defence of what he regards as the much-maligned Afghan National Army. He told an FCC lunch that a core aim of the book was to try to overcome a gap between the reality of what is happening in Afghanistan, Iraq and other conflicts and what the public at home understands or perceives is going on. It is a gap that he says the media are not always helpful in narrowing. He said that before Afghanistan had become a hot political potato in Britain, a real source of anger among British troops fighting for their lives was that in the UK there was more interest in the Big Brother reality TV show and the football season than what was happening in Afghanistan. Hennessey politely told his lunchtime audience that his book was not “overly complimentary about journalists”. In the book, the language is rather stronger. He writes: “Journalists were a fact of life but it didn’t stop them being a pain in the arse.” Elsewhere he says: “I’m sceptical of the press, always what we call the ‘Goldilocks’ distance behind the fighting (not too hot, not too cold, just right) but for all that he’s a bit ill-informed...” He was particularly scathing about news reports quoting

In Review

soldiers who complained about shortages and inadequacies of their equipment. Yes of course there are problems, Hennessey writes. But no army in the world ever had all that it needed, and anyway, soldiers always “whinge and purge and moan, that’s what kept us going”. “I suppose what riled us about the media, especially the journalists who flitted in and out like butterflies, got snaps of themselves looking stubbly in the desert, and then back up to Kabul to flirt with the NGO girls, was that they hadn’t earned the right to broadcast our whingeing.” He said the best-case scenario was embedding, where reporters stayed with the troops for a week or more. He was particularly withering about a two-man BBC team who joined his unit and came up short in several respects. One of them was “cocky”, regaling soldiers about where he had been and about his exploits of derring-do, and then making the elementary error of turning up carrying a red rucksack – not the best colour when out on patrol with troops in a lush green landscape akin to low-canopy jungle. “Then we got into a reasonably punchy scrap (with the Taliban), but nothing too out of the ordinary for that part of the world, and we were in it for about 20 minutes and these (BBC) guys wanted to go home.” Hennessey nonetheless praised the resulting BBC film, which was shown at the Frontline Club

– London’s nearest equivalent to the FCC. What struck Hennessey was that the film was applauded by all present – except by the team’s fellow journalists, who trotted out the common criticism that embedded reporters became too close to the subject and to the soldiers who were protecting them and therefore lacked impartiality. But Hennessey’s view is that if you want to report from hazardous places like Helmand you have to be embedded, and in those circumstances it’s difficult not to become too close to the troops who are saving your skins. “I don’t have a solution to that particular conundrum.” He condemned the media for seizing on individual incidents and using them to claim that the entire war was a failure. One such episode was the killing of five British troops by a rogue Afghan police officer last November. “There was a tremendous enthusiasm (by the media), and I would say a slightly indecent haste, to jump on the bandwagon that this incident in isolation proved that the entire strategy was flawed, nothing was ever going to work etc.” Fractious though the relationship may be between journalists and the military, it is one that is vitally important, Hennessey says, “because actually we could be winning the war in Afghanistan – and in certain respects I think that is happening – but it doesn’t matter if it’s not understood at home.”


The Junior Officers’ Reading Club – Killing Time and Fighting Wars By Patrick Hennessey Published by Allen Lane ISBN 978-1-846-14186-7



In Review

Tokyo vice, American eyes When American Jake Adelstein worked as a crime reporter for Japan’s largest newspaper, he was the first foreigner to do so. Now he’s written a book about the experience. It’s quite a read, writes Christopher Dillon.


Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan By Jake Adelstein Published by Pantheon Books ISBN: 978-0307378798



okyo Vice opens with a yakuza enforcer telling author Jake Adelstein that if he writes a story, Adelstein and possibly his family will be “erased”. The story is that Tadamasa Goto, the head of a powerful Japanese criminal gang, received a liver transplant at the Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center in the United States in the summer of 2001. In exchange for permission to enter the U.S., Goto is alleged to have sold-out other Japanese mobsters to the American authorities. If Adelstein prints his story, Goto will be executed. Missouri native Adelstein learned about the transplant while working as a police reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest daily newspaper. And that’s where the story gets interesting. Adelstein joined the Yomiuri from Tokyo’s prestigious Sophia University, where he was studying comparative literature. After passing a comprehensive exam, in April 1993 he is assigned to the Yomiuri’s Urawa office. Adelstein calls Urawa, a bedroom community outside Tokyo, “the New Jersey of Japan”. As a junior reporter, Adelstein works seven days a week. When he’s not covering purse-snatchers and pickpockets, he and his fellow recruits are fetching dinner for senior employees, updating the office’s scrapbooks, compiling sports scores and writing birth announcements for a local

In Review

community paper. Adelstein’s early duties are dull, but his description of life in a Japanese newspaper provides numerous insights, ranging from publishers’ political affiliations and the formula for writing news stories to the acceptable beverages (sake, shochu, beer and whisky) to drink with cops. Despite the constraints of press clubs — which Japan’s government and corporations use to manage the domestic media and exclude foreign reporters and freelancers — Adelstein portrays a media environment that is diverse, vibrant and surprisingly competitive. Writing and working in Japanese, Adelstein lives like a typical salary man. He often sleeps in a cot at the office, doesn’t go home for days and puts his job above all else. Along the way, he develops relationships with several police officers, including Detective Chiaki Sekiguchi, who becomes a confidant and mentor. Befriending police officers is an essential skill for crime reporters in Japan, who are expected to show up at the officers’ homes at night and on weekends with gifts. In return, the police provide information that reporters hope they can turn into a scoop. Through these relationships and his day-to-day reporting, Adelstein gains an insider’s knowledge of the yakuza, its factions, culture, history and business interests. He also explains Japan’s vice laws and the contradictions of Japanese sexual


morality, where the display of pubic hair and plain-vanilla prostitution are forbidden but nearly anything else is acceptable. A phone call from Helena, an Australian whom Adelstein met while researching the disappearance of British hostess Lucie Blackman, introduces Adelstein to Japan’s human-trafficking business. Helena wants Adelstein to write about the women at the club where she works, who are lured to Japan from Poland, Estonia and Russia with promises of high-paying hostess jobs. When the women arrive in Japan, their passports are

confiscated and they are forced to work as prostitutes. Due to Japan’s strict immigration laws, women who complain to the police are deported. In addition to reporting on the sex industry, Adelstein becomes a minor participant when he spends an evening working as a male escort in a host club that caters to wealthy women. Like hostess bars for men, host clubs fill a need for companionship and attention that Adelstein describes as “virtual love”. This is not a self-congratulatory memoir. Adelstein is blunt about his shortcomings and the mistakes he makes in his relationships with sources, particularly Helena. “It hit me like a punch in the gut: the realization that I’d endangered every person I cared about, liked, loved or simply knew,” he says. The book covers nearly 17 years, including multiple postings with the Yomiuri. That span, and the number of colleagues, cops and criminals it covers, means the book could have benefited from the addition of a dramatis personæ. But that is a minor fault. And the death threat that opens the book? Adelstein agrees not to write the story for the Yomiuri, which satisfies the yakuza enforcer. The Washington Post ran the story on May 11, 2008, and it was subsequently picked up by the Japanese press. Adelstein now hopes to find a company that is brave enough to publish a sanitized, Japanese edition of Tokyo Vice. THE CORRESPONDENT


In Review

John Hershey: Hiroshima In 2009, Penguin Books re-issued six classic pieces of American journalism, under the Magnum Collection banner. One of the series is written by an old friend of the FCC, writes Michael Mackey.


n 2009, Penguin cleverly reissued six classic pieces of American New Journalism. Under the Magnum Collection title, the republished works have been issued with additions that include essays, articles and powerful jacket images (up to now, unpublished) from the famed Magnum archive. The books are Andrew Chaikin’s A Man on the Moon, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, Norman Mailer’s The Fight, Nick Tosches’ Hellfire, Hunter S Thompson’s Hell’s Angels and John Hershey’s Hiroshima. Pulitzer-prize winning Hershey has close FCC connections. Born in China in 1914 to missionary parents, he learnt Chinese before English. After being educated in America he returned to Asia as a journalist in his thirties and worked in the Time bureau in Chongqing, which is of course where the FCC was based in its pre-Shanghai and



pre-Hong Kong days. Which means Hershey was almost certainly an early FCC member. Written only a year after the first atomic bomb had been dropped on August 1945, Hiroshima brought the event vividly alive to an audience who relied mainly on the written word for their news. Hershey’s structure is simple and effective. He uses a heart-rending account of six men and women who survived despite all the odds – a foreign Jesuit priest long resident in Japan, a widowed seamstress, two doctors, a Japanese Methodist minister and a young woman clerk at a local tin works – to tell what happened on that day and in the period afterwards. He added a further chapter when, forty years later, he returned to Hiroshima to discover how the same six people had struggled to cope with catastrophe and with often crippling disease. The result is a devastating picture of the long-

term effects of one small bomb. It’s not a major political or historical analysis but a retelling of that momentous day from the oftneglected human or civilian side. It was considered so momentous when written that the New Yorker magazine devoted a whole issue to its initial publication. Today Hershey is recognized as one of the founders of what has become known as New Journalism, where story-telling devices normally found in novels are fused with non-fiction reportage. As such, Hiroshima – still very relevant and very readable today – is one of New Journalism’s earliest and perhaps finest examples.

Hiroshima by John Hershey Penguin Magnum Collection (first published 1946) ISBN 0141041862

In Review


All images: Penguin / Magnum Photos




Catching the Executioner For years, photographer Nic Dunlop carried with him a crumpled picture of the notorious Khmer Rouge executioner “Duch”. The picture helped put the fugitive Duch behind bars, writes Luke Hunt.

Nic Dunlop


n the manicured lawns surrounding the special chambers that house Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge tribunal, photographer Nic Dunlop holds his own occasional court. He sits slightly uncomfortably with his own publicity and the notion of celebrity journalism. But Dunlop also knows a chance ride in the back of a pickup truck a decade ago landed him a place in history, and an entire circus of judges, lawyers and perhaps the most difficult war crimes tribunal ever. 28


“It wasn’t simply a desire to see the Khmer Rouge brought to justice. It wasn’t a crusade to bring down the Khmer Rouge but it was more about trying to understand what made them kill like that,” he says. “Photography has enabled me to do that.” Being a visual literate would be to Dunlop’s advantage. As a child Dunlop first saw the photos of Toul Sleng (S21) prison when they were published around the world in 1980, revealing the horrors of the Killing Fields and the industrial-scale slaughter of men, women and children at S21.

Dunlop was haunted by them. He came to Cambodia as a late teenager in 1989 and visited S21. There, amid the thousands of black and white prints of the victims, he saw the photograph of Kaing Guek Eav, the camp commandant also known as Duch. Permanently etched on Dunlop’s mind was that picture. He also carried it in his wallet. It showed the well defined lines, wide eyes, distinctive jaw and jutting ears of Pol Pot’s most effective executioner. A career in photography and assignments in Southeast Asia


followed. Then in 1999 while on the job in the remote village of Samlot near the border with Thailand, Dunlop hitched a ride with Canadian de-miners. As they left he spotted the face from the photo and recognized it immediately. “It was a very ordinary day,” he remembers. “It was an incredible accident. I never really thought I’d find him. I’m not a newsman. As a photographer I like to do longer term projects.” Duch had left the Khmer Rouge a few years earlier, become a born again Christian and returned to teaching. He was working for the American Refugee Committee under the name Hang Pin when Dunlop approached him. “We presented him with the evidence and he confessed before us,” says Dunlop. It was an extraordinary moment because, as Dunlop puts it: “The Khmer Rouge was highly secretive and finding answers was difficult... and Duch said the truth should be known and on the public record – that surprised me.” “Oddly,” he recalled, “he noticed that I was carrying a Leica and commented that this was an expensive camera. I wondered how he knew that and then I remembered he had his own extensive photo collection back at S21.” Dunlop and the journalist Nate Thayer met with Duch a handful of times, recording his interviews as he revealed the grisly details of his stewardship at Toul Sleng, the suburban school he converted into a death camp. Duch then surrendered to the authorities, Dunlop wrote The Lost Executioner winning widespread


praise, and despite enormous opposition from pro-Khmer Rouge corners the first trial of a senior cadre is now finished. The trial of Duch, known as Case 001, was wrapped up late last year. Sentencing is expected by early April and the sentence will be reduced for time already served. In calling for a 40-year sentence prosecutors acknowledged that Duch had shown limited remorse and importantly provided evidence that was necessary for history’s sake and the prosecution of other senior leaders. Prisoners were routinely beaten, faced electric shocks and had their toenails torn out. They were whipped and faced waterboarding. Surgery was performed on prisoners without anaesthesia and blood was extracted from them until they lay dying. The extent of those crimes

was probably best captured by a Vietnamese cameraman who entered Toul Sleng with Hanoi’s invasion in late 1978. Footage shot was ruled inadmissible by judges after it was challenged by the defence for its authenticity. To the court the footage remained unseen. But Greg Stanton, President of Genocide Watch, has no doubts to its authenticity. Speaking about the film, which he has seen privately, he says, ”It makes Nazi death camps look tame.” “It’s black and white, silent, about 10 minutes. It shows bodies chained to beds, fuel was tossed on them and they were burnt alive. Bodies were shackled at the ankles and disembowelled. It’s the most horrible thing on earth,” he said. Duch’s crimes, co-prosecutor William Smith from Australia said, were comparable with Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia. Smith was also critical of the defence, arguing that Duch had not accepted full responsibility for his actions. Duch pleaded no contest and his defence counsel won few fans by their arguments. “I apologise in advance to the victims for what I am about to say,” defence lawyer Francois Roux said in front of a packed public gallery. He then claimed the total number of deaths under Duch’s stewardship was less than one percent of those who perished across the country at that time. In comparing the evidence offered before the court with the information Duch surrendered a decade ago, Dunlop said the truth had been told in varying degrees. “We look at him in the context of today. It’s been 10 years since we first met. He’s been truthful THE CORRESPONDENT



Nic Dunlop speaks to the media outside Duch’s trial in December 2009 (AFP) and Dunlop’s picture of Duch taken the day Dunlop unexpectdely discovered him hiding in a remote village near the Thai border in 1999 (Dunlop).

up to a point, there is a measure of sincerity. There is consistency in what he says but he’s had 10 years to script it,” he said. “The prosecution asserts he lacks sincerity and lacks empathy for the victims, perhaps, but 10 years ago he wasn’t reading an apology from a piece of paper. “It’s like we are taking down a brick wall – brick by brick – a wall that separates his emotional life and reality. Duch is being tried for the crimes he committed but not for the type of person he is. He always seemed disconnected.” Therein lies the rub: what makes a man like Duch? According to Roux, the former math teacher was “a decent man by all accounts” before the advent of Pol Pot. “A Christian convert made him much more interesting,” Dunlop said. “Being honest with oneself and for the general good is central to being a Christian and Duch’s needs are seen in his position with the KR and later as a Christian. “I think he is one of those people who requires a structure. He 30


The Lost Executioner: The Story of Comrade Duch and the Khmer Rouge, by Nic Dunlop Published by Bloomsbury ISBN-10: 1408804018

needs a group but I’m not sure that he has the courage of his convictions,” he said. “I think he has minimalized his individual responsibility while accepting a broader guilt,” says Roux. Limited guilt and whether Duch is truly sorry was a contention not lost on Dunlop, the prosecution, the victims or the defence who compared Duch’s position with Albert Speer, Adolf Hitler’s armaments minister who was sentenced to 20 years in prison at the Nuremberg war crimes trial. Speaking in his own defence Duch said within the ranks of the Khmer Rouge “the collective led but the individual had responsibility.” He then stunned the court, did an about face and asked to be acquitted and released from the chamber. It was as if the ramifications of Duch’s own admission had failed to register on his own personal moral compass. His request was rejected and the bench of five local and international judges retired, to deliberate on one man’s humanity.


Sambath’s Giant Leap

Journalist Reach Sambath was happy to be able to take on the role of chief spokesman at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, writes Luke Hunt.


s the United Nations entered Cambodia amid the final years of war a fresh era in local journalism was emerging. Reach Sambath, along with Ker Muntith, became the vanguard of local Cambodian reporting, not seen since Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge marched into the capital in April 1975. When at his best, Sambath rates among the most affable men in Cambodian life. Selfeffacing, he witnessed first hand the brutality of a regime that wiped out a third of this country’s population and left the rest destitute. But a series of scholarships resulted in studies in India then the United States and a career in journalism followed. Initially, he was a regular stringer for The New York Times, he then spent 10 years with Agence France-Presse (AFP), often filling in as bureau chief, and lectured at university. At AFP, he earned his stripes leaping into helicopters at the drop of a hat as Cambodia’s civil wars continued throughout the 1990s with the occasional outbreak even into the next decade. Then he made the giant leap, becoming chief spokesman for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The push for a tribunal to put Pol Pot’s henchmen into the dock for genocide began in 1998 but for most of the time Sambath did not believe the tribunal would happen. Nor did he envisage becoming the official spokesman for the United Nations-backed war crimes trial.

Luke Hunt

“I am happy that people trust me in this job, and let me represent the millions of Cambodians who died”.

In fact, he used to pray for the forgiveness of the victims if the tribunal failed to materialize. “I only started to believe that the trial was going to happen for sure when judges adopted the internal rules on June 12, 2007, and five suspects were arrested,” he told The Correspondent. “I think this has been the most rewarding professional experience of my career and for my family,” he said. “I am happy that people trust me in this job, and let me represent the millions of Cambodians who died during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, and those who have survived.” The tribunal has not been without its controversies. Funding problems amid allegations of kickbacks being paid for jobs dogged its early days. But as case 001, the trial

of Kang Guek Eav or Duch got underway those issues gave way to the testimony. As former head of the dreaded S-21 detention centre, Duch’s evidence gripped Cambodians and long-time observers alike, casting a fresh light on the inner workings of Pol Pot’s ultra-Maoists who remained in power until ousted by invading Vietnamese forces in January 1979. “I see more and more victims and visitors come to the court,” Sambath said. “This is extremely good for Cambodia and we Cambodians are proud to have our own court with the support from the UN and the international community.” He says juggling the role of spokesman with his natural bent towards journalism can be tricky but in the end the job of reporter and a war crimes tribunal spokesman both require truth, honesty and faith in the broader public. Additionally the tribunal should bring closure to the decades of Khmer Rouge menace, help with reconciliation and improve Cambodia’s own and much-maligned legal system. But for Sambath the most important opportunity is the chance to watch as Duch, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea head into the dock. “I am happy to see that justice finally came and the victims get their chance to confront those who 30 years ago treated them as disposable.”




Lost world - China in the early 1980s

Photographer Bob Davis captured early 1980s China with his camera but after the trip, the film was lost. Rediscovered years later, the stock had acquired a cracked grainy feel that today fits the subject matter perfectly.

Above: A portrait of Mao in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, Right: A PLA soldier in Luoyang Caves, Henan Province.

For three years in the early 1980s I thought these images were lost – then they were returned to me in a radically different form to that I had originally envisaged. In 1980 I had a rare opportunity to travel in China with a Mandarin-speaking friend - without the then obligatory minders. It gave me a free hand to shoot China before the transformation started by Deng Xiaoping’s “Open Door” policy had really begun. In the course of a month I visited Suzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Hangzhou and Nanjing and shot perhaps 30 rolls of Kodak TRI-X film. I eventually left Beijing for Paris on the Trans Siberian train, leaving my film of China with the staff of the Australian Embassy who sent them to a friend in Hong Kong. He mislaid the package, and that, I thought, was that, until three years later when he was leaving town, he found it while packing up. I took the parcel home, thinking I might as well dump it as the film would 32


have largely disintegrated, but I was curious to see what shadows might remain so I processed one roll. The result was remarkable. The original images could still be discerned, but the passage of time and exposure to heat meant that the film had become reticulated – a photographer’s technical term meaning that a network of cracks had formed in the film’s emulsion. It produced a grainy, aged effect, suggesting that much more than three years had elapsed since the pictures were taken. Thirty years on, after so much change in China, that seems particularly appropriate. I processed the rest of the batch, and this exhibition comprises the best of the images so preserved, and accidentally modified. They capture a different and in some ways more innocent time and country. Clearly they were never intended to be lost. Blue Lotus Gallery,Wah Luen Industrial Centre, Wong Chuk Yeung St, Fotan. Until February 28th.


Pigeons in front of a building - Suzhou, Jiangsu Province.

Father and two babies - Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.




Men and their caged birds - Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

Empty boulevard - Central Beijing.



Press Freedom

Stiletto By Max Kolbe

Journalist deaths hit grim record A record 121 journalists were killed in 2009. They died in 25 countries, and represented an increase of 33 percent from a year earlier, according to a report by the Press Emblem Campaign. It said the killings in the Southern Philippines marked the “worst massacre of journalists in history”, when 31 were killed in November during an attack on an electoral convoy in Maguindanao. “On average 10 journalists were killed per month by armed groups, criminal groups, governments and in terrorist acts,” Blaise Lempen, the group’s secretary general, said. “Others were kidnapped or exiled and in many cases silenced while impunity continues.” The Philippines had the highest media casualty numbers, and together with Mexico, Somalia, Pakistan, Russia and Iraq, accounted for two-thirds of the casualty count in 2009. In the Philippines the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) is investigating allegations that its regional office had been giving special treatment to the four detained Ampatuan clan members, charged in connection with the November 23 Maguindanao massacre. Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Versoza ordered the investigation following the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s report the detainees were allowed to use their mobile phones, and had their cooks and maids on hand to feed and clean their cells. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor, Zaldy Ampatuan, and his younger brother Sajid were among the four while dad, Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr, has been hospitalized.




Andal Jnr, a local mayor (pictured above), was also among them. Military officials said the clan were not receiving anything special but were simply being given the attention that fits a wounded soldier from battle. The poor things. Major Randolph Cabangbang, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said Andal Sr has been “treated as a detained patient who receives the same food as our sick soldiers”. “If he wants to order out, it is from his own pocket,” Cabangbang said. And that’s not special treatment at all. Meanwhile, the junta in Burma has been up to its old tricks. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has thrown some light on the harsh sentencing of Hla Hla Win, a broadcast journalist with the Oslo-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). She was sentenced to 20 years in prison on December 30 for violating the vague and draconian Electronic Act. The CPJ said Hla Hla Win was first arrested on September 11, 2009, on her way back from

a DVB reporting assignment in Pakokku Township where she conducted interviews with Buddhist monks in a local monastery. Then on October 6, a Pakokku Township court sentenced Hla Hla Win and her assistant, Myint Naing, to seven years in prison for using an illegally imported motorcycle. According to DVB editors, she was working on a story pegged to the second anniversary of the 2007 Saffron Revolution, when Buddhist monks rose up against the military-run government in countrywide protests which were violently suppressed. “Burma’s military government says that it is moving toward democracy, but at the same time continues to punish journalists with harsh sentences,” said CPJ’s Southeast Asia senior representative Shawn Crispin. “Before the international community rewards the regime for holding ostensibly democratic elections this year, it should demand demonstrable progress on press freedom, including the release of Hla Hla Win.” Meanwhile The Vietnam Journalists’ Association (VJA) has condemned attacks on three of its members. Interestingly, the VJA’s complaint made it into the official government media. In the most serious case to date, reporter Tran The Dung was seriously beaten while working on a story about poultry smuggling in the northern province of Lang Son. Le Quoc Trung, VJA deputy chairman, condemned the attacks and asked local authorities to protect reporters as they work. Trung said journalists had a right to be protected.

Then and Now

Repulse Bay Hotel, Repulse Bay. Images by Bob Davis


In the late 1970s, as the small but luxurious and popular Repulse Bay Hotel began to lose value, it was decided that it needed to undergo a major redevelopment and luxury high-rise apartments started to be constructed.

2010: The architect for the new buildings tried to preserve as much of the original colonial-style structure as possible but due to space constraints, only the main building and the front garden were kept. Š Bob Davis. THE CORRESPONDENT


Meanwhile in the Main Bar



Back Page Bitch

Send all media-related confessions and adulations to the Bitch. Don’t hold back:

January, 2010

Dear Dick, Most in the FCC would argue that the closest a humble freelance hack should ever get to liquidation proceedings is in the Main Bar late on a Friday night. But in early January the company that owns Prestige magazine, CR Media Pte Ltd (Singapore), sent an email message to freelances that have been working for this most prestigious of titles saying that 3CM Media Limited – the company that CR Media has been licensing to publish the title in Hong Kong – would be going through liquidation proceedings in the Hong Kong High Court in late February. The Singaporean e-missive was at pains to point out that Prestige will still appear in Hong Kong, that 3CM Media Limited are no longer the publisher and that this time round it will be published – again under licence – by CR Media Limited (Hong Kong), under the capable tutelage of Anne Lim (wife of photographer Ira Chaplin). But it did say that anyone that was owed money from 3CM will – wait for it, wait for it – not be getting paid. Okay, the email does go on to point out that the hapless hacks can contact 3CM for their hardearned coin (a slight problem as 3CM are soon in court for liquidation) or they can wait for the liquidator to divvy up any remaining funds between what is an apparently a very long list of creditors. Which means, of course, that the freelances – who will line up well behind the banks and the landlords and all the others with pressing claims and deep pockets – will almost certainly not see a

cent. We may have heard this story once or twice before. Meanwhile former 3CM Media Group Publisher, the much-loved Brian Chow, can still be seen nipping around Central in his big white Hummer (so necessary to get up that steep hill between the Key Club and Dragon Eye), possibly trying to peddle what titles he may or may not still own. He was spotted visiting one former 3CM Media client with what looked very like the everglamorous Winnie Chung, who was until very recently Features Editor at the SCMP. Winnie has just been moved upwards – not sideways, no, no, no – to be in charge of custom publishing at SCMP Group. One jealous rumour is that lovely Winnie was the next head to be put onto the muchused SCMP chopping block but that new Editor-in-Chief Reg Chua was overruled by a member of the owning Kuok family who gave this most talented of journalists a lastminute reprieve. And so continues her gravitydefying upward path at the Post, albeit in a sideways sort of manner, into custom publications – which another rumour says is being dusted up to be sold off by the ever penny-pinching Kuoks. None of this, of course, is true. What is true is that the industrial-sized layoffs at Tai Po’s finest newspaper factory continue. While one gleeful long-term staffer walked away with a payout that he bragged “was enough to buy a Ferrari”, general morale is said to be at a low point and some are so

keen to escape the slow-deathby-golden-boot that they are just quitting. Without the pay-out. It’s not too surprising. Since the move to Tai Po, whole departments have been axed, most editorial staff have been put on a clunky rolling roster and the only “recreational facility” anywhere near the newsroom is the staff canteen. The days of breezing in at noon past the barfilled streets of Quarry Bay remain a teary distant memory. But things could be worse. The sad SCMP staffers could be working at Reuters in New York, that apparently has something way worse than the Tai Po canteen. A local newspaper article on media eateries, that appeared after The New York Times shut down its cafeteria because of a gastro-intestinal outbreak, reported that city health department inspectors found the Reuters Times Square facility was not vermin-proof, was home to “potential contamination sources” and was the source of numerous “Other General Violations”. It was New York’s worst media cafe (unsurprisingly, squeaky-clean Bloomberg were the best). So what could be worse for hacks than working in Tai Po or eating at Reuters? Um... freelancing for Prestige?




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The Correspondent  

The official publication of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong

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