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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UNTAC Finds 'Viet Soldiers'; KR Unhappy

UNTAC Finds 'Viet Soldiers'; KR Unhappy

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,"

Falt said.

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.

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