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K.R. Currency Controversy

Editors:

Sorry, but the Gecko is dead wrong about the existence of Khmer Rouge money [Phnom

Penh Post, Aug 28 edition]. In 1981 I saw the stuff for sale in souvenir shops just

up the street from the Hotel Majestic in Ho Chi Minh City. The KR money was in five

or six denominations and I remember that it stood artistically apart from the other

currencies. Each denomination depicted scenes of the KR at war. One image stands

out in my mind most clearly: a group of KR women, complete with Chinese caps and

Maoist hair styles, crouching in a trench and firing their bazookas at an invisible

enemy over the horizon. The KR money was obviously unused and in mint condition.

I found out some months later that the KR money had been printed during 1975 in a

place that was at the time called Yugoslavia. It was only when the money was being

shipped to Cambodia and had already reached Vietnam that the KR decided to cancel

their order. Based on my own admittedly chaotic reading of Cambodian history, I reckon

that the KR made this decision shortly after they arranged the disappearance of their

most popular politician at the time, Hou Youn. Since Hou Youn was never put on trial,

there is no public record of what his capital offense was. It is well known, however,

that he was an outspoken advocate for allowing the existence of money, markets, and

private trade in revolutionary Cambodia.

If you have any questions about what I present here as fact and conjecture, there

are two members of the SNC who could most definitely give to you the true facts with

regard to the mysterious disappearances of Hou Youn and KR money.

Khieu Samphan and Son Sen both studied in Paris with Hou Youn and collaborated closely

with him during all his years within KR organizations. Let these two men tell you

best what happened and then the facts will speak for themselves. After all, why bother

with so-called experts when you can get the story straight from the horse's mouth.

- Wayne Cartwright

(Editors Respond: The Gecko has been duly admonished for his oversight on the

question of Khmer Rouge currency and will keep his eye open for any currently in

circulation.)

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