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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Burmese cab driver returns $10K

Burmese cab driver returns $10K

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Som Vannak speaks yesterday at the Myanmar Embassy, where more than $10,000 in lost cash was returned to him. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Som Vannak speaks yesterday at the Myanmar Embassy, where more than $10,000 in lost cash was returned to him. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

A Burmese cabbie got the tip of a lifetime after going above and beyond the call of duty to return a missing bag containing more than $10,000 to a Cambodian passenger who had not only already left his cab, but his country as well.

Recounting his story at the Myanmar Embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday, Cambodian Som Vannak said that he left a little more than $10,000, his passport and other valuables including three mobile phones in the back of a taxi while visiting Myanmar’s major city Yangon.

“It was hot, so I took off my coat and put it on the handbag in the back seat. When I got out, I took only the coat and left the handbag. After arriving at the airport I realised I forgot it, just two hours before the departure time to go back to Cambodia,” Vannak explained.

But even with his possessions missing, all was not lost.

Upon discovering the valuables, taxi driver Kang Myanp reached out to the Cambodian Embassy in Myanmar to report the missing bag.

“The taxi driver wanted to give the money, phones and documents to Vannak himself, but Vannak  knew a monk who could get the things back sooner, on February 27,” said Tn Vong, first secretary at the embassy, and the man who took Kang Myanp’s call.

Upon arriving back in Cambodia, Vannak got a call from the embassy, telling him that his valuables were safe and would soon be returned.

“I almost can’t believe my eyes,” Vannak said as he received the prodigal bag in the presence of the Myanmar ambassador, whose culture he praised. “It’s a good example for people: taxi drivers, tuk-tuk drivers and moto drivers. I don’t mean to look down on Cambodian drivers, but if I had left the money like this here, it would be lost.”

The fortunate traveller added that such a good deed would help Myanmar’s reputation, and gave the conscientious cabbie, Kang Myanp, $1,000 as a reward for his bag’s safe return.

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