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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Father & Long-Lost Son Reunited After One Year

Father & Long-Lost Son Reunited After One Year

A dream came true for a father and son early this month when the long-lost lad was

reunited with his father.

After more than a year apart, the father and son, Lik and Thong respectively, were

reunited on Dec. 12 after a relative saw an announcement the lad's rescuer had placed

on local television.

"It was the most rewarding incident to have been involved in," said CivPol's

Sgt. John Gallagher, who was with the boy when his family and home were finally found

after a long misadventure.

On Nov. 10, 1991, Thong, age 10, was found to be missing from his family home in

Phnom Penh by an unknown means.

"Likely the little fellow simply got lost," said Gallagher. And at some

time later he was "offered for sale" by what Gallagher described as an

"eccentric woman," to a cyclo driver for 5,000 riel.

The cyclo driver, Kong Young, bargained and purchased the lad for 3,000 riel, and

took the boy to his home in Oudong in Kompong Speu province where "he treated

the boy as he would a little brother," said Gallagher.

Once in Oudong, Gallagher and his CivPol mate, Sgt. John Mahon-both of whom are part

of the 40-man Irish contingent to UNTAC's Civilian Police-got involved in the fate

of Thong.

After the boy's aunt made the identification of the boy from the Dec. 8 television

announcement, Gallagher and Mahon drove Thong and his cyclo-driving guardian back

to Phnom Penh for the joyous reunion-where the boy instantly recognized his father.

"There was no question in my mind that we found the right family when we brought

the boy home," said Gallagher.

Gallagher and Mahon, who will be rotating home in January to Donegal and Sligo respectively,

said they found that the Cambodian people were friendly and deserved of the U.N.'s

effort at bringing peace to this country.

"No better people deserve this more," Gallagher said.

"We're glad to have met the Cambodian people-and their kids," said Mahon.

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