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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - How the plot unfolded

How the plot unfolded

Saturday July 2: First signs of the coup attempt come when

residents spot armored cars patrolling Phnom Penh's streets from around 8 pm

onwards. Loyalist forces had already headed off the main force of rebels at the

Mekong crossing point Neak Loung in Prey Veng. According to government reports,

up to 300 men with 12 APCs and five trucks were peacefully persuaded to return

to barracks by loyalist troops.

Sunday July 3: Heavily-armed loyalist troops surround the Regent Hotel

off Monivong Boulevard where alleged coup mastermind Prince Chakrapong is holed

up. After several hours of frantic negotiations by phone and following appeals

from the King and Queen in Beijing, he is allowed to go into exile in Malaysia.

His alleged co-conspirator former Security Minister Sin Song is put under house

arrest. Fourteen Thais are arrested at Pochentong as they try to leave the

country. They are suspected to be part of the plot.

Monday July 4: Gen Sin Sen, a CPP member, is promoted from Under

Secretary to Secretary of State for the Interior.

Tuesday July 5: Second Prime Minister Hun Sen disowns the two alleged

ringleaders who were members of the CPP and says the party is not involved. Thai

Ambassador Sakthip Krairiksh confirms Cambodian authorities are seeking the

arrest of former Thai MP Police Lt-Col Adul Boonsert, who was thought to have

escaped when the other 14 Thais were arrested. First Prime Minister Norodom

Ranariddh says Secretary of State for Defence Chay Sang Yung was involved and

had fled to Vietnam. Other sources say several top officers also made similar


Wednesday July 6: Newly-promoted Sin Sen is arrested at

Pochentong while trying to board a flight to Malaysia and accused of playing a

part in the plot. Soldiers search his house in Street 228. Security officials

said they had also arrested Tes Choy, head of the police department of defence

and also in the CPP. Military policemen surround the house of Col Sar Moline

said to be a close associate of Sin Song's. He is away in Hong Kong. Prince

Chakrapong reportedly formally asks Malaysian authorities if he can stay in the

country. In his letter he denies involvement in the coup attempt. Prey Veng

governor Tep Nannory is quoted as saying that the rebel force used Ministry of

Interior passes while making their move on Phnom Penh. Nannory told the Cambodia

Daily the men knew nothing of what their mission was about. A Neak Loung port

official is quoted as saying the passes were signed by leading Interior Ministry

officials Sok Chamran and Chin Sarann. The two men had disappeared, Interior

Minister You Hockrey told the Daily. Hun Sen denies involvement by King Norodom

Sihanouk, cabinet ministers, or tycoon Teng Boon Ma, who is closely linked to

the CPP. A Khmer Rouge radio broadcast claims the failed coup was intended to

give the government an excuse to declare martial law and to force legislation

through the National Assembly banning the guerrilla group.

Thursday July 7: Hun Sen claims that the plotters had aimed to set up

their own government and topple King Norodom Sihanouk as head of state. Hun Sen

based the allegation on an alleged written confession. Meanwhile First Prime

Minister Ranariddh reiterated that Thais were involved in the plot. He said a

witness had told him nine Thai military specialists were still in the country.

The Thai Foreign Ministry said the 14 arrested men were all civilians, who were

in Cambodia as tourists or seeking jobs. A statement said that among them were

motorcycle taxi drivers and electricians and a man missing an arm.

Friday July 8: The Morning News is closed down and its editor Ngoun

Noun is put under house arrest. The day's edition carries a claim that Interior

Minister Sar Kheng is the next to be implicated in the plot. Kheng is

co-chairman of a committee investigating the affair. State radio says all

government announcements about the probe into the coup must come from the prime


Saturday July 9: Ngoun Noun is led away from his house by

police and after a brief court appearance is locked up in the capital's PJ

Prison. Hockry says only three arrests of top Cambodian officials have been

made, Sin Song, Sin Sen and Tes Choy but admits that other conspirators,

including five generals had fled. Hockry adds the 14 Thais were still being

questioned.-Compiled from wire and newspaper reports by Jon Ogden



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