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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 17 December 1993

The Gecko: 17 December 1993

Alas, the Gecko is sad to report the plunder of UN equipment continues unabated.

Field Service employees were more than a bit disgruntled after turning over security

for their warehouse to the local authorities. A gang of bandits managed to break

into one of the "godowns" by using a hacksaw to take out an entire metal

door.

The net haul - while one UN worker was held with an AK-47 to his throat - included

38 generators.

Another UN source says that crooks are thinking big these days. Container loads of

UNTAC equipment heading for Kompong Som are being stopped just outside Phnom Penh

where a crane shows up to turn the container around so the lock can be picked and

contents looted.

The Gecko hears the UN lost $300,000 worth of mobile radios and communications equipment

after one crane heist.

By the way, if you do get something stolen and want to file a police report, be prepared

to have a relatively eager police squad come to your home or office and help you

fill out a report.

But they can't take finger prints on site and have to take the item with the prints

back to headquarters. Fine if it's a table lamp, not as easy if it's a door handle

or a fridge.

You may have a second team come by, too, with a copy of your first report so they

can make another report with the same information you gave for the first.

One resident who was robbed recently had the local police chief tell him he was 95

percent certain who committed the crime but that he couldn't arrest the guy because

he had too many friends in the military.

The Gecko heard a very senior government official say they knew who most of the thieves

were in Phnom Penh and that, because of who their "friends" were, the way

to deal with the problem was to tackle these guys one by one and "eliminate

them quietly".

If another arms cache is found along the Thai border don't be surprised if its uncovered

by a Bangkok-based employee of Johnnie Walker, Inc. who says he spends much of his

time scouring the bush for fake booze being smuggled in from Cambodia.

As Thailand is now the world's largest consumer of the famous Black or Red brew,

the company is eager to put a stop to phony hooch with glued-on tops pouring across

the border.

At 150 Baht a re-cycled bottle, they charge 24 bucks below the going rate for the

real stuff.

Prince Ranariddh should be comforted that his senior generals are in good shape after

spending so many years hiking through the jungles.

The prince went to visit a hydro-power project recently that involved parking cars

along Route Four and heading off on foot into the hinterlands.

After 30 minutes, HRH asked "how much farther?" to which his generals responded

by pulling out a field map and suggesting, without batting an eyelid, that it might

be another three-and-a-half hour trek to the dam.

The prince abruptly decided to visit the site by helicopter at some later date.

If the Gecko could read minds it would have been interesting to see who was thinking

what at a recent reception for American diplomat Winston Lord.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng was one of the relaxed attendees whose official biography

has him joining the KR after the Lon Nol coup.

It's anybody's guess what memories crossed his mind as he met Lord and Ken Quinn;

both were intimately involved in US policy to carpet-bomb Kheng's home turf in the

east during the early 1970s.

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