A self-described "international financier", most recently from Pattaya,
apparently born in Austria, but also claiming Dutch and Thai citizenship, and
now residing at a luxurious $5 a night guesthouse on St 178, has offered one
Phnom Penh businessman a million dollar deal.
Claiming to represent a
consortium interested in investment opportunities in Cambodia, his proposal is
this: he flies to Australia to pick up $1 million but has to leave with a one
per cent deposit - $10,000 -which naturally will be paid up front by the
businessman who would receive the $1 million when the guy returns from
However, with no money in his pocket and no return ticket, he awaits
"funding" from overseas associates to pay his growing, unpaid guest house
How widespread is corruption and how hard will it be to stop it? The
scene last week at the now-defunct Agricultural & Commercial Bank of
Cambodia was a good example. Depositers were supposed to queue up outside the
gate so that the Liquidator could limit the number of those in the building to
no more than five at any one time and pay out claims in an orderly fashion.
But the humble gatekeeper was taking Riel 1,500 bribes to let people in
such that the crowd inside was over 20 and growing fast. And the humble former
employees of the bank were taking bribes through the teller windows to push
passbooks to the head of the line.
With the scene verging on chaos, the
harried Liquidator - unaware of the "market" forces at work - said enough was
enough. He shut his briefcase and threatened to walk out, ordering bank staff to
clear the room. There was a bit of a mini-Mexican stand-off, a lot of hemming
and hawing, and then when nothing happened (after all, how could bank staff
negotiate the re-payment of bribes in public - that might be embarrassing!) the
Liquidator shook his head and got back to work.
The Chinese usually speak
with one voice especially on issues as sensitive as the Khmer Rouge Trial. So
was the Sin Chew Daily's story on Sept 6 an indication of a major policy
The paper reported on Jinan University Chinese Language Institute
President Yang Song's visit to the Tuol Sleng Museum, quoting Ms Song as saying:
"There's a saying 'a life for a life; blood for blood'. An international court
should sternly punish them so that the innocent victims can have justice."