A newly elected member of the Constituent Assembly ordered his guards to hold six
UNTAC officials and their interpreter at gun point for seven hours on Sept. 2 after
they raided his house in search of a stolen UNTAC land cruiser.
Cheng Bun, a former vice minister for finance in the State of Cambodia administration
charged that the police officers had illegally entered his compound and demanded
an apology and written acknowledgment that they had acted without court approval.
The UNTAC team which included two Civilian Police officers, a Bangladeshi and Ghanaian
military police officer, an Indonesian soldier and a Brazilian mechanic, entered
the house at six a.m. after receiving a tip off Bun was in possession of a stolen
However the UNTAC team, which was let into the compound by one of Bun's cousin found
only a blue land cruiser which was legally registered to the assemblymen. The team
apologized for the intrusion but when they tried to leave Bun ordered his heavily
armed guards to detain them.
"Your apology won't repair my reputation," Bun said.
The UNTAC team claimed they were acting within the powers granted them by the Paris
Peace Accords and did not need court permission to carry out their search.
Mr. Bashar, an UNTAC police officer who arrived shortly after the lock-in suggested
to Bun that he release the team and make a complaint to UNTAC. But Bun was adamant
his rights had been violated.
"UNTAC is supposed to set an example to the Cambodian people. They are the ones
who brought democracy to this country so they should suspect human rights,"
he told reporters among the large crowd which gathered outside the house on Keo Mony
Boulevard during the course of the drama.
Inside the compound, the stand-off was a relatively calm affair. The UNTAC officers
were served with soft drinks and food although the guards threatened to shoot them
if they tried to leave. Tension mounted, however, when a patrol of Indonesian soldiers
scaled the roof of a surrounding house and trained their guns on the guards. The
Indonesians rescued their detained countryman but left the other UNTAC members behind.
One of the Filipino Civilian Policeofficers also tried to bust his way throughway
the gateway when it was briefly opened but was held back in a scufflle with Cambodian
The standoff finally ended when the UNTAC team signed a statement admitting that
the they were "not carrying a warrant" and that "they apologized"
Bun said he was still not satisfied and vowed to take the case to court to require
UNTAC to admit they had entered his house illegally.
Eric Falt told AFP that the search team was not at fault and did not need a warrant
because they were granted entry before carrying out the search.
"Our people were within their rights," he todl the newsagency. " We
don't believe there was a fault committed but even if there was this is not the way
to handle it," he said.
More than 160 UNTAC vehicles have been stolen, the majority in a spate of thefts
over the last few months.
Four stolen cars have been recovered from the homes of Cambodian police and generals
in similar raids and UNTAC officials believe high-ranking government officials are
behind the organized racket.