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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko : 21 March , 1997

The Gecko : 21 March , 1997

 

In case you were confused, the "No Guns" signs outside many of the snooker

parlours around town have been placed there so that the soldiers inside packing pistols

or whatever know that it is okay to carry guns.

** Ministry of Tourism officials, hoteliers, and many others say that the

Angkor Wat ticket operations in Siem Reap have turned into a massive scam whereby

thousands of dollars destined for government coffers each month are now being diverted

from proper channels and, instead, are sloshing around peoples pockets.

The ruses are varied and clever. The main one involves the guards at the three gates

surrounding Angkor recycling entry passes so that they can be sold again and again

and again and again. Astute entrepreneurs take the stubs to some shop in town, remove

with some mystery chemical the date stamped on the passes when first used, and then

re-sell them to new tourist arrivals. None of this is too surprising, especially

when just about every cop, soldier or civil servant you talk to says they haven't

been paid in months.

** On a related front, the good news in Siem Reap is that it is now deemed

safe to travel to Banteay Srey. The bad news is that the between $30 and $100 charged

per person to provide security to travel there was such a good deal for all involved

that you still have to pay for guards to take you there, otherwise you can't do it.

** Veteran expat NGO workers in Siem Reap are scratching their heads over

just what the two guys from Scotland Yard are supposed to be doing in town. Teams

have been there for the last year since Christopher Howes was abducted, rotating

every two months or so. In theory, they've been trying to get some leads on the hostage's

fate.

But the puzzle stems from the fact that the British cops are banned from leaving

Siem Reap city and that they have yet to even talk to some key foreigners who speak

Khmer fluently, travel regularly to zones bordering KR areas and are in contact with

traders who slip in and out of the Anlong Veng area.

 

Hey, what a great idea! Maybe it would be good for the Brits to talk to some people

who can talk to the people who might even have some information on the person they're

looking for.

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