Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 1998's The year in review

1998's The year in review

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec JANUARY " />

1998's The year in review














The year begins with news that the European Union (EU) would provide $11 million

in aid to support the process of national elections in 1998, an event whose lead-up,

conduct and debate afterwards dominates the Cambodian political scene for most of

the entire year.

The EU's announcement is made while the key question of Prince Norodom Ranariddh

and other opposition politicians' participation in the elections remains uncertain.

The Prince and many others have yet to return to the country since the fighting in

July 1997 and have not determined if they will participate in the planned polls.

Second Prime Minister Hun Sen writes to Sam Rainsy on Jan 2 saying

that he will formally ask King Sihanouk for a pardon for Srun Vong Vannak.

The question of an amnesty for Prince Ranariddh remains a touchy subject.

King Norodom Sihanouk leaves the Kingdom abruptly on Jan 5 with many of the King's

own staff unaware of the hasty departure for Beijing. Diplomats speculate that the

King is upset over the previously-agreed deal to amnesty the Prince which had come

under attack by pro-CPP elements.

Business tycoon Teng Bunma has an honorary doctorate degree rescinded by Iowa

Wesleyan College in the US on Jan 9. The college's board of directors say that "based

on State Department information" they felt it necessary to take back the degree.

On Jan 10 Second Prime Minister Hun Sen plays his first-ever round of golf

at the Cambodia Golf and Country Club, joining the list of numerous other senior

Cambodian officials who have taken up the game as a favored pastime.

The Kingdom's print media runs into trouble in the new year. Six newspapers are

suspended on Jan 8, only to see the order reversed by Second Prime Minister Hun Sen

six days later. On Jan 11 Nou Kim Ei, editor of Nokor Khmer, is shot at while

driving his car. While nobody was injured, one of the attackers shouts, "I will

kill you next time."

Khmer Nation Party (KNP) leader Sam Rainsy announces that he might consider

a governing coalition between his party and the CPP, which comes just one month after

an historic handshake between Rainsy and Hun Sen after the two had met at the premier's

residence in December for the first time since the coup.

A review of police statistics reveals that at least one in 14 crime suspects

is either killed or wounded during attempted arrests by police and security forces

in the capital. The figures come from municipal police who say that during all of

1997, 1,118 people were apprehended, of which 65 were killed and 15 others injured.

Fighting near the border town of O'Smach flares during the week of Jan 15

to 21. Medical staff in Samrong say that more than 100 soldiers were killed in fighting

and over 50 seriously wounded.

Motorola donates $60,000 to the British demining organization Halo Trust on

Jan 21.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson meets with Hun Sen and

says that her discusions were "full and frank... and a positive discussion."
UN Special Representative for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg is excluded from

the meeting.

The National Assembly votes 70 to 15 on Jan 26 to confirm the Council of Ministers

NEC nominee list. Critics argue that the nominee list is stacked in favor of the

CPP while Hun Sen declares the vote a victory for democracy. MP Thach Reng

walks out of the Assembly in disgust after protests filed by self-exiled politicians

were dismissed by Assembly President Loy Sim Chheang.

The British government donates 1,025,000 pounds to Population Services International

on Jan 29 to support the group's Social Marketing of Condoms Program.

According to a survey conducted by IFRASSORC, 53.9% of 1,217 people polled

say they think the elections will be free and fair.

KNP officials say one of their members was gunned down at his house on Jan

30 in a politically-motivated execution. The party says that because of this they

might be forced to campaign "underground". Government officials say the

killing was part of a robbery attempt.


Hundreds of children and adult supporters march into Phnom Penh on Feb 1 as

part of a global effort to raise awareness about the prevalence of child labor worldwide.

A coalition of 22 NGOs helped coordinate the event. ILO statistics indicate that

16% of children aged 5-17 are classified as child laborers in Cambodia.
Cambodian long distance runners Chheng Piseth and To Rithya place third

and fourth in the Vientaine International Half marathon on Feb 8. More than 1,000

participants from 10 countries take part.

About 450 workers stage a violent demonstration at the Sin Lan Ho garment factory

on Feb 16. The workers, disgruntled with salary and workplace conditions, pelt the

factory with a barrage of stones.

The Thakral Group opens a television factory on Feb 16. They plan to produce

300,000 TVs per year for local and export markets.

The World Bank approves a $30.96 million loan to Cambodia on Feb 17 for water

supply projects in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

King Sihanouk bemoans the state of affairs in the Kingdom. Writing in his

monthly bulletin, the King says he expects to die in exile to avoid inflaming another

catastrophic civil war. Listing a litany of ills facing the country-including deforestation,

labor troubles and unrelenting poverty-the King says that if he tried to solve them

he would bring about large-scale fighting because Hun Sen does not want him to wield

any power.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd and Cambodian Resources Company NL sign a $3

million deal on Feb 20 for offshore oil and gas exploration in Cambodia.


The first nation-wide census since 1962 begins on Mar 3. Undertaken by the

National Institute of Statistics and the Ministry of Planning, with funding support

from the United Nations Population Fund, UNDP and UNESCO, the ten-day process involves

25,000 enumerators and 8,000 supervisors who visit every village in Cambodia. Planning

officials say the census will serve as a valuable data base for national development.

A Ministry of Environment official says that up to 1,000 hectares of land has been

cleared of vegetation within the Angkor Wat protected zone.

Funcinpec Brigadier-General Kim Sang is executed by assassins on Mar 4 near

his home. The killing occurs just two hours before the trial of ousted premier Norodom

Ranariddh. Sang's execution is the third of a high-profile Funcinpec officer in a

week, following the killings of Mom Sameth and Keo Savan.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh, General Nhek Bun Chhay and Thach Suong

are tried in absentia at the military court in Phnom Penh on Mar 4. All three are

found guilty of illegally importing weapons. Ranariddh is sentenced to five years

in prison, Bun Chhay four years, and Suong is given a two-year suspended sentence.

A number of legal observers call the process a "show trial".

Police discover a bomb loaded in a sugar cane cart near Wat Phnom on Mar 5. The device

contains three B-40 rockets, TNT, detonators and a timer. CMAC experts are

called in to dismantle the device which had not been set to explode. Authorities

say the bomb had been planted by "anarchic forces".

Anti-drugs squad chief Heng Peo's house in Phnom Penh is attacked by up to

100 military police on the night of Mar 6.

Prince Ranariddh is convicted Mar 17 of colluding with the Khmer Rouge.

The National Assembly approves by a vote of 79-7 the law establishing the Constitutional

Council on Mar 19.

King Sihanouk grants a pardon to Prince Ranariddh after it was requested by Hun Sen.
The Royal Pardon, issued from Bejing Mar 21, annulls a 30-year jail sentence

and $54 million fine handed down to the prince at the end of his absentia trial in

Phnom Penh three days earlier.

Hundreds of peace marchers, led by the Venerable Maha Ghosananda, head off

from Kampong Cham on Mar 20, beginning the seventh Dhammayietra, or Peace

Pilgrimage. The marchers expect to cover 170 kms over a two-week period, with the

march ending in Sen Monorom, Mondulkiri.

Khmer Rouge General Ta Mok flees Anlong Veng on Mar 22, taking with him Khieu

Samphan, Nuon Chea and Pol Pot, as government forces and KR defectors begin an

assault on the key KR base area.

Three men riding a motorbike roll a grenade under a car parked outside Wat Po Ampil

in Takeo on Mar 26, a pagoda patronized by National Assembly president and CPP

Chairman Chea Sim. The explosion kills Nob Phanit, 30, a school teacher, and

severely wounds Nhem Valy, an advisor to Chea Sim.

News is leaked of a secret $25.8 million deal-signed by the two Prime Ministers,

NEC head Chheng Phon and Argentinian company Ciccone Calcographica SA-to hire

a private company to run the elections. Foreign donors involved in funding the elections

are perplexed.

A World Bank-funded study is released that states 95% of timber production

was illegal in the previous 12 months. The report surmises that the government lost

about $60 million due to the illegal trade and that 21% of protected forests were

subjected to intensive harvesting.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh returns to Cambodia on Mar 30, after an absence of

eight months, having fled the country on Jul 4, l997 one day before fighting broke

out between Funcinpec and CPP forces in the capital. The prince is met by about 1,000

supporters and Funcinpec officials at the airport. He proceeds to the Royal Hotel,

spending five days in-country meeting with party members.

RCAF troops fly to Preah Vihear temple on Mar 30 to meet with Khmer Rouge

defectors. The guerrillas, who had controlled the temple since 1993, had decided

to drop their loyalty to KR General Ta Mok and give up their struggle against the


Pro- and anti-Prince Ranariddh street demonstrations come to a head on Apr

1 with demonstrators battling each other for several hours near Wat Phnom.

Details of human rights abuses since July 1997 documented by the UN Center

for Human Rights become public. Figures indicate politically-motivated killings in

the last nine months are more than 100.

Nine men are executed in Kampong Thom on Apr 2. Their bodies are found with hands

tied behind their backs and gunshot wounds in their heads. Rights workers believe

that RCAF soldiers were responsible for the executions. A district military commander

says that the nine were involved in stealing buffalo and were killed by villagers.

Pol Pot - the architect of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime which during its

three-year, eight-month and twenty-day reign of terror was responsible for up to

1.7 million deaths from disease, starvation and execution-dies on Apr 15.

His jailer, Non Nou, says he died from heart failure. No autopsy is allowed and Pot

is cremated the next day, his body placed on an old mattress with tires and old chairs

on the coffin to help keep the fire going.

Twenty-three people, including 13 ethnic Vietnamese, are slaughtered in the floating

village of Chnok Trou near Kampong Chhnang on Apr 19. Eight others are wounded

and 33 houses are burned down during the hour-long attack with rifle and rocket fire.

Officials and witnesses blame Khmer Rouge guerillas from Unit 785. KR radio

claims responsibility for the killings the next day.

KR commander Ke Pauk, after defecting to the government, is embraced by Hun

Sen at a "Peace Day" celebration at Olympic Stadium on Apr 29. Pauk is

believed to have been responsible for thousands of deaths during the KR regime.

Faced with repeated indications the CPP would influence the election in its favor,

Funcinpec, the Sam Rainsy Party and the Son Sann Party-using their pre-coup banner

of the National United Front instead of their self-exiled moniker, the Union of Cambodian

Democrats-begin a National Assembly boycott on Apr 30.

Leng Hun, 74-known as "Grandma Hun" - is feted at a luncheon

on Apr 30 and presented with a Korean passport. Hun had been brought to Cambodia

during World War II as a comfort woman and would soon return to her homeland for

the first time in more than 50 years.

About 15,000 Khmer Rouge civilians and unarmed soldiers cross the border into Thailand

on May 1. They are fleeing a continued government offensive in and around Anlong

Veng. After several days of shelling, KR troops are dislodged from Hill 200,

18 kms north of Anlong Veng, on May 4, one of their last major strongholds in the


On May 5 Hun Sen speaks directly to Prince Ranariddh for the first time since the

prince was ousted from power in July, 1997. Their telephone conversation ends an

opposition boycott of the National Assembly, clearing the way for amendments to the

election law and approval of membership on the Constitutional Council.

Documents reveal that the government has successfully claimed 12.4 tonnes of "old"
Cambodian gold held at the Bank of International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland.

The gold, with a current market value of $135 million, was determined to still be

part of Cambodia's foreign reserves.

The annual Ploughing Ceremony takes place on May 14 with Queen Monineath presiding

as King Sihanouk decides to remain in Siem Reap. The Royal oxen, when presented with

their traditional array of food and drink, choose mainly to eat. According to astrologers,

the bovines predict a mixed fortune for the coming year: no rain, but no war.

The first batch of 196 refugees, who fled fighting in the Samlot area in July 1997,

return to Sisophon from Thailand on May 14. The repatriations are facilitated by

the UNHCR. A second group of 121 refugees is transported back to Cambodia

on May 28. UNHCR officials say that there are still about 60,000 refugees in camps

in Thailand.

The minutes of exclusive political study meetings for top Khmer Rouge cadre led by
Ta Mok and Nuon Chea-comprising 273 pages and covering events from

June 24, l997 to January 19, l998-are discovered on May 15 in Choam, atop Hill 200.

The documents outline the KR thinking and strategy in its secret dealings with Fun-cinpec

prior to the coup and document that the KR were plotting to betray the alliance with

Prince Ranariddh and wage a new war.

Nationwide voter registration starts on May 18.

In response to complaints that people are being turned away from registration centers,
NEC Chairman Chheng Phon goes on national television on May 20 to tell registration

teams that they must register anyone who has proper identification.

Three members of the Constitutional Council appointed by King Sihanouk-Chau Sen

Cocsal Chhum, Son Sann and Pung Peng Cheng - refuse to attend a planned

innaugural meeting of the body on Jun 3, thus preventing its ability to convene officially.

Chau Sen Cocsal Chhum alleges he was pressured to convene the council and decides

to flee to Bangkok on Jun 2. He says that several members of the council have been

appointed by the National Assembly illegally and that any meeting with them would

be invalid. A meeting takes place on Jun 3, minus Son Sann and Cocsal Chhum, but

Peng Cheng says it is "not official". Donors are anxious to see the council

up and running as it is a key component of the effective management of national elections.

The editor of Koh Santepheap, Thong Uy Pang, is shot twice in the shoulders

on Jun 8. One of his bodyguards is also wounded. Both men survive. Officials differ

as to the motive for the attack.

Hun Sen flies to Siem Reap on Jun 8 to meet with King Sihanouk in what

is believed to be an effort to untangle the deadlock over the convening of the Constitutional


Five senior Khmer Rouge cadre defect to the government on Jun 11. Chan Youran,

Mak Ben, Thiounn Thioeunn, In Sopheap and Kor Bun Heng announce from Pailin

that they have split with Ta Mok and have now joined the government.

On Jun 13 Pung Peng Cheng announces that he will tender his resignation following

the convening of the Constitutional Council and that he would step down as soon as

the King replaces him.

Seven members of the Constitutional Council attend an inaugural ceremony at

the Royal Palace on Jun 15. A meeting of the council is convened the same day. Peng

Chheng resigns afterwards.

Voter registration ends on Jun 15. NEC officials say that 92% of eligible voters-about

4.7 million people-registered.

A draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations is submitted

to the Council of Ministers on Jun 16. Foreign NGO workers call the draft "draconian"

and say that if passed the law would mean a cutback in aid for Cambodia.

EU Observer Chief Sven Linder is elected as the spokesman of the foreign observation

mission called the Joint International Observer Group (JIOG), on June 17.

A group of more than 100 soldiers attack the village of Boeung Trakoun in Banteay

Meanchey province on Jun 18. Five people are killed including two CMAC employees.

The rampaging soldiers also burned down 61 houses.

Sven Linder holds a press conference Jun 23 and says that he believes that

the registration of voters has provided the technical base for a "free, fair

and credible" July 26 election.

The official campaign period starts on Jun 25. Hun Sen, Prince Ranariddh and

Sam Rainsy all hold rallies which draw substantial crowds.

The corpse of Funcinpec electoral observer Thong Sophal is found Jun 27 in

Kandal. His head and face are smashed; his eyes, ear, fingers and the flesh on his

legs from mid-thigh down are missing. A local official suggests the death is a suicide.

On June 30 Sam Rainsy Party workers gathering for a parade in Battambang receive

six parcels containing explosive devices, but wrapped and presented as if

they were cakes.

The UNCHR releases a report stating that media coverage is skewed toward the


Rights workers say that seven people have been killed in politically-related violence

in the last two weeks since the end of registration and fear that a "hunting

season" has begun.

The World Food Program says it will provide immediate relief to 20,000 people

and will likely call for emergency donations to feed an estimated 200,000 facing

severe food shortages in southeast Cambodia.

The Cambodian Development Research Institute (CDRI) releases a report stating

that the most vulnerable of Phnom Penh's poor were hardest hit by the previous year's

double blow of political turmoil and the regional economic meltdown, and that the

poor's suffering is getting worse.

The German electronics giant Siemens AG opens its office in Phnom Penh on

Jul 15. They estimate a $5 million investment in 2-3 years.

UN human rights envoy Thomas Hammarberg says the opposition leaders are inciting

hatred and racism against ethnic Vietnamese. He says he has raised the issue of the

use of the term "yuon" with party leaders but they have not reined in their


A band of guerillas suspected of being Khmer Rouge ambush a group of Cambodian

electoral officials near Anlong Veng on Jul 17. Two election workers are killed and

five injured in the attack on a tractor carrying ballots, ballot boxes and other

polling materials.

The Venerable Maha Ghosananda along with hundreds of monks and supporters

begin a peace march on Jul 19 in Takeo. Heading for Phnom Penh, they plan to arrive

in front of the Royal Palace and conduct a prayer service on Jul 24.

LICADHO and ADHOC jointly win the $25,000 Robert Baldwin Medal of Liberty

Award on Jul 20. The groups say they are too busy to celebrate given their workload

in dealing with reports of suspected political murders, attacks, arrests and intimidation.

Elections were on the verge of being postponed on Jul 22 but quick action

by NEC technical staff and a last minute charter flight from Bangkok ensures the

delivery of three tons of indelible ink used to mark voters' fingers on polling day.

Elections take place nationwide on Jul 26. Despite a few hiccups at polling stations

swamped by voters and a Khmer Rouge attack near Anlong Veng in which 11 people were

killed, balloting goes smoothly.

Votes are counted on Jul 27. More than 25,000 local and foreign observers

monitor the balloting and counting processes.

JIOG announces on Jul 27 that the vote was "free and fair", before

vote counting is finished. Opposition politicians criticize both the timing and content

of the statement.

In response to mounting criticism, JIOG meets again on Jul 29 and issues another

statement which says: "We find no reason to change [our Jul 27] conclusions

after the debriefing of our observers."

Representatives from 15 parties hold a joint press conference on Jul 29 to express

their dissatisfaction with the entire election process and demand an investigation

of their concerns.

Prince Ranariddh and Rainsy say on Jul 28 they would refuse to recognize

the election results and were willing to risk a constitutional crisis if the NEC

did not conduct proper investigations of their complaints.

Opposition parties barely beat a Jul 29 afternoon deadline to lodge complaints of

fraud. The NEC says it is actively investigating complaints from all parties.

The NEC releases partial results on Jul 30. With 2.5 million votes counted

from 17 provinces, representing approximately half of the electorate, results show

the CPP leading with 1,019,743 votes (40%), Funcinpec 821,119 (32.2%) and the SRP

with 414,841 (16.3%).

A debate about the seat allocation formula for new members of Parliament comes

into play as the NEC releases preliminary seat numbers giving CPP 64 slots, Funcinpec

43 and the SRP 15.

Opposition parties say they weren't aware of the determination on which formula was

being used. The NEC says parties were adequately informed.

Nuon Paet, a former Khmer Rouge general, is arrested Aug 1 after his car was

stopped at a weapons checkpoint on the road from Pochentong airport. He is accused

of planning the abduction and then subsequently killing three western tourists in

July, 1994.

Hundreds of people head for opposition party and human rights offices complaining

of post-election intimidation. Funcinpec says it has received reports rom

126 people; the SRP says it has received 235 complaints.

King Sihanouk offers on Aug 12 to host a "Siem Reap Informal Meeting"

as a means of breaking the deadlock over the formation of a new government.

On Aug 13 clerical staff at the Constitutional Council turn away a stack of

SRP election complaints, accepting only one complaint about recounting.

A grenade is thrown outside the Ministry of Interior at 11pm on Aug 20, killing

a driver for Kyodo News, while Sam Rainsy is inside the ministry.

Rainsy is detained for over an hour before being taken home under armed escort.

Opposition parties begin a sit-in demonstration across from the National Assembly

on Aug 24. Demonstrators vow they will maintain a 24-hour vigil until their complaints

about the election are dealt with properly. The crowds grow in subsequent days. Protestors

dub the site "Democracy Square".

The National Census Committee releases preliminary figures Aug 25 on Cambodia's

first census in 36 years. The Kingdom's population is pegged at 11,426,223 as of

Mar 3, l998.

On Aug 31, after scores of speeches filled with anti-Vietnamese rhetoric, protestors

at "Democracy Square" vandalize the nearby Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship

Monument, dousing the statues with gasoline and setting them alight.

The Constitutional Council flatly rejects opposition election-related complaints

on Aug 31.

Members of the CPP, Funcinpec, SRP, NEC and the Constitutional Council meet with

King Sihanouk Sep 5 for two days of talks designed to resolve the political impasse

preventing the formation of a new government.

Two grenades are thrown at Hun Sen's residence near Independence Monument

on Sep 7. The premier returns quickly from Siem Reap, where political talks were

about to fail, to inspect the damage, telling the press that the 15-day-old demonstration

should be broken up and demo leaders should be arrested.

Rainsy takes refuge in the UN office at the Cambodiana. Demonstrators and

riot ploice clash outside the hotel and one person is killed.

Police charge and clear "Democracy Square" on Sep 8, driving out protestors

and razing the tent city. Demonstrations turn ugly and spread through Phnom Penh.

On Sep 9 two monks are shot near the American Embassy. Pro-CPP demonstrators

also take to the streets, resulting in violent clashes between opposing forces.

Opposition parliamentarian Kem Sokha is prevented from leaving the country

on Sep 10. Other MPs are also subsequently prevented from leaving the country.

On Sep 15 Prince Ranariddh agrees to call off street protests, visit his father,

the King, in Siem Reap, and declare that his party would attend the first session

of the new national Assembly on Sep 24.

Rainsy follows suit the next day.

Human Rights envoy Thomas Hammarberg releases a statement Sep 16 saying that

16 bodies, including two in saffron robes, have been found floating in rivers, in

irrigation ditches, and in shallow graves around the capital since police began cracking

down on anti-government demonstrators.

The first substantive summit meeting hosted by the King with Chea Sim, Hun Sen, Prince

Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy takes place in Siem Reap on Sep 22.

In the early morning of Sep 24, a rocket is fired as a convoy of MPs and senior officials

is headed to meet with the King in Siem Reap. No vehicles are hit, but 12-year-old
Sor Chanrithy, who lives across the road, is killed in the incident. Three

other rockets fail to go off.

New MPs are sworn in to the National Assembly in front of Angkor Wat on Sep

24. The travel ban on MPs leaving the country is lifted.

The UN rights office submits a report to the government on Sep 28 documenting

26 instances of killing and other apparent violent deaths.

Tripartite talks over the formation of a new government break down on Sep 29.

Srun Vong Vannak, Sam Rainsy's former security chief who had been in jail

for more than one year, is released from jail on Sep 30. He was convicted of masterminding

the murder of Hun Sen's brother-in-law in 1997, a charge he confessed to but later

recanted claiming police threatened it out of him.

EU Chief Observer Sven Linder leaves Cambodia on Oct 2 saying that the elections

were a step forward for Cambodian democracy.

King Sihanouk arrives in Phnom Penh on Oct 5, after cancelling his planned

departure for China, in an effort to help break the political statemate.

The US House of Representatives passes a resolution on Oct 10 condemning Hun

Sen for being a human rights abuser.

The NEC releases a nine-page report on Oct 10 which says that there were no

discrepancies on the reconciliation of the ballots from July's election. The report

says all the valid, invalid, spoiled, destroyed, lost or unused ballots are acounted

for. The opposition says they want an open audit process where party agents, electoral

observers and the media can observe the process.

Economists and government officials warn that if a new government is not formed soon

there will be an economic crisis within two months.

Lt Col Sat Soeun is ordered to take "temporary" leave from duty on Oct

24. Soeun was acused and acquitted of murdering journalist Chan Dara in 1994. In

relieving him of his duties, police also go to his house and confiscate his 200 weapons.

The "International Forum on Demining and Victim Assistance: Towards Zero

Victims Based on Ownership and Partnership" convenes in Phnom Penh on Oct

26. Delegates from 31 countries and representatives from NGOs, UN agencies, Cambodian

ministries and CMAC attend.

People in rural areas face increasing hardship in the pre-rice harvest period forcing

some villagers to sell thier children. Authorities in Kampong Thom say that 30,000

farmers have run out of rice. Aid and government officials attempt to streamline

the provision of emergency food aid.



Prince Ranariddh flies back to Phnom Penh on Nov 12 for talks hosted by the

King. That evening he meets with Chea Sim and Hun Sen at the Royal Palace to undertake

negotiations on a coalition deal. Rainsy does not attend but does send his wishes

for success from Paris.

A micro-rebellion is quashed in Phnom Malai Nov 11-12. Twenty-four people

are detained in Battambang prison and in Thailand.

A three-man UN team visits Cambodia from Nov 14-22 to evaluate the existing

evidence and assess the feasibility of bringing Khmer Rouge leaders to justice.

Hun Sen, Chea Sim and Prince Ranariddh meet at the Council of Ministers on Nov 23

to sign a coalition deal on the formation of a new government. The three leaders

toast each other with champagne.

The deal ends a four-month stalemate since the July elections. Prince Ranariddh agrees

to accept the position of president of the National Assembly, something he'd previously

balked at, in return for full amnesty for exiled Princes Norodom Sirivuth
and Norodom Chakrapong, and Generals Nhek Bun Chhay, Srey Kosal and Sin

Song. Bun Chhay and Kosal will not get positions in the new government.

The deal also calls for the establishment of a new legislative body, to be called

the "Senate", with Chea Sim as its head, and as its deputies Funcinpec's
Ing Kiet and the CPP's Chem Sgnuon.The Senate idea draws criticism

from Sam Raisny and various NGOs as it is unclear how the body will be created, whether

the Constitution will be amended and what powers the body will have.



Hun Sen is voted in as Cambodia's new Prime Minister by a 99-13 majority at

the National Assembly Dec 1. A new cabinet is struck quickly. The CPP takes 15 of

the 29 ministries-including most of all those that control money; Funcinpec took

14, including most of the difficult social ministries. The ministries that control

the guns-Interior and Defense-are shared.

KR guerilla commanders Non Nou and Khem Ngoun meet with senior RCAF

generals at Preah Vihear temple on Dec 4 to finalize a deal allowing the KR and their

troops to reintegrate with the government. Ta Mok, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea are

abandoned. The latest defectors say they don't know the whereabouts of the three

top KR leaders. The Far Eastern Economic Review reports the three are being detained

at the request of the United States on Thai soil. The deal effectively ends the Khmer

Rouge's presence as a military movement.


They said it...

"In Brunei, power rests with the monarchy. In Indonesia some newspapers that

criticized the government were closed. And in Thailand when they have an election,

it is corrupt. Other things, like economics, they can teach us, but on the subject

of democracy and human rights, they must not teach us."
- Hun Sen, Jan 12, criticizing ASEAN.

"If we don't suspend these newspapers... and if [journalists] don't know their

limits, we could find ourselves at their funerals."
- Secretary of State for Information Khieu Kanharith, Jan 8.

"The procedure of appointing the NEC was not democratic at all."
- MP Thach Reng.

"They call Hun Sen a strongman. If the NEC members are pro-Hun Sen, he must

be a superman instead of a strongman from now on... [because] the law stipulates

that the NEC must not be subordinate to any political party."
- Hun Sen, Jan 26, after the assembly voted 70 to 15 confirming the NEC list.

"We have to look at our priorities: the bats or the statues?"
- Hab Touch, commenting on the problem of housing 2 million bats at the National


"He's a lovely child and I wish more than anything he could live to become a

man. But I know that he will die soon."
- Nuth Dara commenting on the child Rasmey he found abandoned near the Post Office

who was later diagnosed as HIV-positive.

"What does Ranariddh stand for? What does Toan Chay really stand for?...The

King, that's what they say. Everyone can use the name of the King, except the CPP.

That's why CPP considers the elections are not fair-you control the power, you control

the country, and the ballot papers can take that away from you? No."

- CPP official speaking aonymously on the prospect of free and fair elections in


"The armed forces are financially independent and call the shots in the areas

they control. Everyone from villagers to provincial governors are afraid to speak

out. It is really out of conrol."
- Global Witness' Simon Taylor, commenting on illegal logging after a trip to

the northeast in Jan.

"If Hun Sen allows a chance for legal opposition, we will take it. If not, we

will go into the jungle for resistance."
- Prince Ranariddh, Feb 24, from Bangkok.

"I belive we will be killed, one by one."
- A colleague of Funcinpec General Kim Sang after Sang was executed on Mar 4.

"The census is important for development-but I don't know what kind of development."

- Commune Chief Pich Pray, Poh Leh village, Mondulkiri

"You cut the tree, you cut the Buddha."
- Maha Ghosananda, at the start of the 7th Dhammayietra.

"Ta Mok is a very bad man."
- Im Hoeun, KR Div 612 commander after defecting to the government at Preah Vihear

in March.

"I can not campaign from the roof of a hotel, not even a very nice hotel."

- Prince Ranariddh, quoted by diplomats who met with him at Le Royal upon his

return to Cambodia Mar 30.

"Pol Pot is dead and I am very happy."
- Non Nou, Pol Pot's jailer, announcing the death of Pol Pot to reporters on

Apr 16.

"He was a good husband to me, we met in 1985."
- Mea Son, widow of Pol Pot.

"Up to today, there is not a single Khmer Rouge with me."
- Gen Nhek Bun Chhay, speaking from O'Smach.

"The [National] United Front wins, the yuon soldiers immediately die. We retake

the legal position and plan. In doing so we survive. The Front is only a transition

to grab forces, not to go to die but to grab forces and fight the yuon."
- Tem, Notes from KR documents.

"Hun Sen and Heng Samrin were my messengers and Chea Sim my student and they

were very lazy,"
- Nuon Chea. KR documents.

"Ranariddh is the stooge of France and he fears Hun Sen because he has no forces,"
- Nuon Chea. KR documents.

"The United States Government hates us but the American people like us."

- Ta Mok, KR documents.

"Whoever blows up and shoots fish are yuon and have to have their throats cut."

- Ta Mok, KR documents

"It is so complicated I want to run away."
- Pung Peng Chheng, Jun 13, commenting on his decision to resign from the Constitutional


"Me, Sihanouk, I can not have broken stones thrown at my chest by these three

- Hun Sen relating what the King had said to him about his three nominees who

were blocking the convening of the Constitutional Council.

"My assessment of these elections is in no way a foregone conclusion. There

are no blank checks connected with this observation process. Should there be any

chance those who believe that anything goes...they will find themselves to be badly

mistaken. Please don't take us or our conclusions for granted."
- Sven Linder, EU observation chief, Jun 23

"I would be prepared to step down. From Second Prime Minister to First Prime

- Hun Sen responding to an opposition demand that he not be part of any new government.

- Ranariddh, asked in August if he would ever work again under Hun Sen.

"What do you want? You want a real bloodshed in this country or not? I think

that my people will understand. [They] will understand we as leaders of the nation,

we could not bring all the people to death."
- Prince Ranariddh, Sep 14, explaining his decision to end demonstrations.

"I have never said 1998 elections were absolutely perfect... but they are in

my opinion, and I remain convinced, a step forward in Cambodia's democratic development."

- Sven Linder, Sep 30.

"And if there is a party that needs to ask a few questions [about the election]

it is really the CPP. We have 4 million members and we hardly had more than 2 million

- Hor Nam Hong.

"We are like the used sugar cane stick. Once the juice has been sucked out he

threw us away."
- A refugee in the Funcinpec-aligned camp in Surin, referring to Prince Ranariddh.

"The struggle is dead-and for no meaning at all."
- Choeun Ny, commander of Battalion 24, a Bun Chhay loyalist, commenting on the

end of fighting at O'Smach.

"I feel confident and hope for a bright future of our country Cambodia."

- Ranariddh, Nov 24, before being voted Assembly president.

"We love democracy, support democracy and protect democracy, but all the people

are still calling me Khmer Rouge. They are not calling me the ënew struggle movement'."

- Former Ta Mok chief of staff Khem Nguon, after defecting to the government.


  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At