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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 30 July 1993

The Gecko: 30 July 1993

With all the concern these days over the government being broke the Gecko has

been receiving a number of tips on where the authorities might want to look for some

easy revenue. See, its not that revenue isn't coming in, rather the problem is how

to keep it from going into someone's pocket.

A good first target would be the boys at the airport who issue visas and who do their

job with a smile as long as nobody asks for a receipt. Issuing a receipt means keeping

records, and keeping records means questions by higher ups like "Where's the

money?" It may not be an enormous amount of taxes but if you figure $20 per

visa times 200 visas per day times 30 days you get $120,000 a month. Someone at the

Ministry of Finance should start asking where's the $120,000?

Another, much larger source of taxes can be found, so the Gecko is told, down in

Sre Ambel district on the coast. UNTAC sources say that over 1,000 cars a month are

coming in illegally. They know where the warehouses are and have even boarded freighters

with over 100 cars on board only to be chased away by CPAF soldiers at gunpoint.

One UNTAC official estimates that the lost revenue on untaxed imported vehicles would

come to around U.S. $5 million per month. That's half of what the government claims

it needs to pay civil servants.

During this interim transitional period many of the new FUNCINPEC ministers are trying

to get settled although the Gecko hears that the reception at some of the offices

around town has been less than enthusiastic.

If you go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ask for the new Minister the receptionist

at the front door says he doesn't know where the Minister's office is, what his telephone

number is or how you can leave a message for him. All the while Minister HRH Norodom

Sirivuth is sitting upstairs.

An astonished, concerned member of UNTAC reports that when you enter the Finance

Section at the SNC you are confronted by the smell of cats and disinfectant. Apparently

two little kitties have been offered a home there and can be found sleeping on in-trays,

the computer printer or curled up in a file drawer. The Gecko was asked to comment

on this "unprecedented" state of affairs. Sometimes charity begins at your


This report just in from Luang Prabang. Watch out for the young monks at the temples

there, especially those under ten years of age. They seem to have a penchant for

pinching female visitors.

The Gecko wonders if anyone else is outraged at the double standard exchange rates

offered by hotels around town. An example: if you buy something for $2.50 and pay

the 50 cents in riels, one hotel asks for 1200. If you give them three bucks they

give you 600 riels back. Is this kind of creative math really necessary?

One traveller reports that there was a bit of a shoot-up in Kampot recently. A group

of CPAF sliders on their way back from Kep stopped at the Bokor Dancing Restaurant

and corralled all 40 of the Vietnamese bar girls to the consternation of the local

police chief who had also stopped in for a fling. After a few harsh words the troops

left with the policeman in hot pursuit.

The soldiers were pulled over outside of town and the sheriff approached the car

with pistol in hand. Another car showed up with more armed troops and the policeman,

seeing he was outnumbered, decided to put his own gun away. He was then beat up and

left on the road. As the soldiers were walking away he fired, hitting three. Return

gunfire cost the sherriff his life.

The CPAF troops tried to flee the scene but were pulled over down the road by some

more police where they were beat up and killed.

Just another quiet Sunday in Kampot.



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