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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 27 January 1994

The Gecko: 27 January 1994

W hile the Gecko hears that there was at least some discussion about whether or

not Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai would give a press conference during his

visit to Cambodia, the word at PPP press time was that all bets were off on his

doing so, although the late word Tuesday night was that there might be some

event for Thais-only, with the requirment for entry being a Thai passport

presented at the door.

So just for the record, the Gecko was asked to

pass along a few questions to the Honorable Chuan from some of Cambodia's

friends.

On top of the list is the nagging issue of whether or not

various, always un-named Thai elements are supporting the Khmer Rouge. For

whatever strange reason the reports of Thai military elements or other border

denizens continuing to give a helping hand to the Khmer Rouge don't seem to go

away, in spite of the repeated denials from Bangkok.

So the key question

the Gecko was asked to pass on is whether or not the Khmer Rouge maintain bank

accounts in Thai banks, and, if so, would the Thai government be willing to

freeze these accounts to demonstrate its committment to the new,

internationally-recognized Cambodian government that finds itself under

continued armed assault from a political/military faction that boycotted the

elections and continues to refuse to recognize those in power in Phnom Penh? (By

the way, has anyone ever noticed that the only bank in Borai, the town in

Thailand closest to the KR-controlled Pailin gem mines, is the Thai Military

Bank.)

With published estimates of what the Khmer Rouge make from

gem-mining and logging along the Thai border ranging from $20 to $300 million

per year for the past 5 years, if not more, the Gecko hears that it's logical to

ask "Where's the dough?"

Is it invested in a Fidelity Mutual Fund

earning a hefty 20% return per year, sitting in Chinese banks in the form of

gold bullion, burried as cash in Pol Pot's backyard, or maybe, just maybe,

resting comfortably as three-month CDs earning a meagre 8.5% in a Thai bank?

After all, half a million or perhaps many, many more bucks is a lot of

money and most of the KR senior officials have a basic understanding of simple

economics. They know that money sitting idle is money lost.

It doens't

take too much common sense to figure out that all these profits would be best

serve the KR if they are invested somewhere. So, Mister Prime Minister, with all

due respect, could you please contact some of your Thai generals who no longer

have any contact with the Khmer Rouge but who worked closely with them for the

last decade and ask them where the KR put their cash? And if you find out that

there are KR funds in Thai banks and the Thai government won't freeze them does

that, Your Excellency, constitute continued Thai support for the Khmer Rouge? If

it doesn't, could you please explain why not?

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