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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Plot is hot gossip

Plot is hot gossip

T HE coup plot set tongues wagging in the capital for several days, as events

unfolded. The Post has sounded out the word on the street.

With little evidence of military activity some questioned if it really

happened.

Sor Lardin, a student at the Faculty of Archeology,

Fine Arts University.

"I was listening to a Voice of America radio broadcast at 8:30 pm and was

surprised to hear there was a coup. I could hardly believe it because during the

day-time the situation in Phnom Penh was normal. I think it was a real coup. If

the coup was successful Cambodia would have become a communist country again

because the members of the coup are mostly former communists. And Cambodia would

have been plunged into war again. Some of my friends say it was the King's

initiative. But I denied it because Prince Chakrapong does not normally follow

the King."

In Viracheath a student at Institute of

Economics.

"I think the coup was real. The people arranging the coup had conflicts with

their political party because after the elections they didn't have the power

they wanted. It would have been bad for Cambodia if the coup had been successful

because it would have provoked turmoil in the country and would have blocked our

economy both domestically and internationally. I think certain neighboring

countries may have been the prime instigators of the coup, especially those who

encouraged Khmer politicians to wage war with each other over the past two

decades."

Doung Sopheap, a policeman in Russeikeo

district.

"Prince Chakrapong and Sin Song set up the autonomous zone when they failed

in the elections which means they are power-thirsty. So far they have had no

positions in the government so I think it was a real coup to get power. It was a

terrible thing which we don't want to hear about anymore. We are now fed up with

the war. I don't think the King was behind the coup because he loves Cambodia

and the people so much. He would not want to put his children, the people, in

trouble. Another coup may happen if the government does not dig up and root out

all the coup leaders. I think there might be foreigners who have gained benefits

for a long time from the Cambodian conflicts arising from coups such as Lon

Nol's."

Yim Deth, a student at the Faculty of

Medicine.

"I think the coup was just a political line pre-prepared

by Khmer politicians. If it was a real coup, they should have done it when the

two Premiers were outside Cambodia for the peace talks with the Khmer Rouge -

like Lon Nol's coup when the King was away. And why was one of the coup leaders

arrested while the other was freed? I'm not surprised or panicked. However, not

many people believe what I think."

Thao Sarathoum, a student at

Phnom Penh University.

"It was just a political trick which we cannot understand. The coup leaders

should have ordered the convoy of APCs to open fire when they were blocked on

the way to Phnom Penh. If the coup were true it really was a most serious

criminal offense so why has the King ordered the release of Prince Chakrapong?

If it was a real coup and the leaders of the coup were released just as easily,

there will be more and more coups in the future. Most of my friends believe

this."

Uy Borasy, Psar Chas market trader.

"Almost all people didn't know about the coup when it happened, and neither

did I. We just read the papers and spread what they said to others. If the

papers said it was a coup we would say it was a coup. If they said it was

terrorism, we would then say it was terrorism. So we don't know whether it was

real. However, it affects the peoples' lives a lot. Before the coup a sack of

husked rice cost 50,000 riel but in the last few days the price has risen to

nearly 70,000 riel. Secondly, it affects the security of the people who have

been living quite peacefully since the elections."

An anonymous

moto-taxi driver.

"I felt Prince Chakrapong and Sin Song could not arrange the coup because

they were not popular nor famous. My experience in the past is that Lon Nol had

a lot of support, and in the morning when Lon Nol's coup broke out there were

tanks in all the streets."

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