PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 January, 1998, 12:00am

I refer to the report by Huw Watkin headlined, 'Deserted young of Cambodia face life on the scrap heap' (Sunday Morning Post, December 28).

The situation in Cambodia is tragically grave and leaves me with much mixed emotions, both anger and sadness.

Huw Watkin's report is long overdue and I must commend the Sunday Morning Post for highlighting the problems in this troubled country, given: The time of the year, when people are at their most carefree, because of Christmas and New Year.

The lack of media attention with regard to Cambodia.

The fact that it is important to bring to the attention of the public the growing problem of paedophilia.

It is especially important that the international community is made aware of this, given the fact that most of the paedophiles involved are from Europe.

While I haven't been to Cambodia, I have heard several stories first-hand from individuals attesting to the exploitation of children.

I know that some low-budget backpackers have gone there to exploit the commercial sex workers. Responsibility for this state of affairs lies not just with the Cambodian Government, but also with the developed nations, which have not done enough to intervene.

The spotlight tends to fall on human rights issues in China and other countries in the region are overlooked.

While I would admit that China does have some shortcomings in this department, it has, in spite of overpopulation problems and limited arable land, been able to guarantee the number one human right - the right not to starve. This is not the case in Cambodia. The world's media has spent enough time criticising China.

It is time to look at the atrocities being committed in Cambodia, atrocities which have not been witnessed in that country since the days of Pol Pot and the 'killing fields'.

If more papers and news agencies around the world focused on the tragedy that is unfolding in Cambodia, then perhaps that would encourage people to organise a massive relief operation. Such a relief operation should be started as soon as possible.

ALI W.C. CHEUNG Causeway Bay