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
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