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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Notes become a little less Royal

Notes become a little less Royal


The old 500-riel note, above, shows the Royal Crest to the left of the serial number; in the new note, below, the crest is missing.

Sharp-eyed citizens might have noticed the presence of the new 500 riel note. Released

last year, the bill features enhanced security features such as rainbow colors to

deter photocopy counterfeiters.

Gone is the pastoral planting scene. Instead there's a powerful rendition of Kampong

Cham's bridge - a Naga, a fastboat zooming up the Mekong, and something sportier

than a Toyota Camry crossing the architectural marvel.

On the reverse is an enlarged Angkor Wat. But something else: Gone too is the Royal

Coat of Arms. Why? CPP machinations, perhaps, or something simpler?

"[It] was issued because the government wanted to show the many achievements

it had made in its second term," says Mon Dareth at the National Bank.

When asked why the Coat of Arms was removed, Dareth says he didn't know it had been.

Examining the new note against an older version, he says he has no idea who designed

the bill.

The finance ministry says the decision rests with the bank, but other bank officials,

including Governor Chea Chanto, won't talk.

And the change doesn't sit well with Prince Norodom Chakrapong: "If the last

one had the Royal Coat of Arms, then the new one must have the same because we are

still in the Kingdom of Cambodia," says Chakrapong. He too would like to know

what happened, but feels the motives are likely less than pure. His opinion: "This

was not done innocently."



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