The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) said that it has found
three Vietnamese soldiers.
"We have determined that these three men fall within the [definition] of 'foreign
forces' and they will have to go back to Vietnam," the spokesman stated.
The men known as Le Van Lon, 36, Kim Tay, 34, and Le Than Hai, 32, have Cambodian
wives and children. They possess identity cards issued by the State of Cambodia (SOC).
Falt said that Tay-who claims to be Khmer Krom, and who worked as an interpreter
in the 451 Battalion from 1981-1985-cannot read or speak Khmer fluently. "He
has made a contradictary statement that leads us to believe that he is not telling
the truth," said Falt. Lon and Hai are currently serving with the SOC military.
The Khmer Rouge (KR) is dissatisfied with UNTAC's recent announcement on the case.
They accused UNTAC of attempting to fool Khmers into believing in its effort to resolve
the issue of a Vietnamese presence in the country.
"This piece of news does not come as a surprise to anybody. It is rather ridiculous.
The UNTAC authorities will fool nobody," Mak Ben, KR spokesman, commented in
a briefing on Feb. 5.
"We will press the issue until these three men are brought back to Vietnam,"
But, SOC sources indicated ear-ly this week the possibility of not deporting Lon
and Tay-currently residing in Kratie and Kampong Chhnang provinces respectively-to
Vietnam. Khieu Kanharith, SOC spokesman, confirmed that Hai , who lives in Kampong
Speu, is a foreign force, and that the government will withdraw his identity card
from him. "The two [Vietnamese] are automatically Cambodians. Khmer Krom must
be considered as Khmer, they are not Vietnamese," Kanharith told reporters after
a working session of the Supreme National Council on Mar. 9. He criticized the UNTAC
report, suggesting that it conduct a proper investigation into the case before revealing
the issue to the public.