Some of the books supplied by foreign countries to the National Library of Cambodia
were stolen from the shelves and sold to newsstands on the city's streets.
Library director Um Neang said he was not aware of the theft, and was surprised when
he asked how many books had disappeared.
"It might be the hand of the persons responsible for each section. I'll check,"
Asking not to be named, a young women who owns a newsstand in front of the Phnom
Penh Institute of Economics said that since the beginning of the month a woman-worker
in the library has brought books to her store almost every day and sold them for
low prices. The books, mostly medical, technical and literature texts in French and
English bore the stamp of the National Library or the Australian Center for English
The stall vendor said she bought the technical and literature books for 3,000 to
4,000 riels each and resold them for two to three times higher. As for the French-written
medical books, which are in great demand by medical students, she said she paid 15,000-20,000
riels for a set and sold them for up to U.S. $90.
"I have earned high profit from selling medical books. The customers never said
a word because they know the books are valuable," the girl said.
"It's easy to make good money if she brings more books," she said.