Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 17 November, 1995

The Gecko: 17 November, 1995

The Gecko: 17 November, 1995

T he intrepid press corps was taken out to Koh Tang, site of the "Mayaguez

Incident" where the U.S. military has been digging for the remains of soldiers

who died there 20 years ago. The captain's log for 50-kilometer boat ride out from

Sihanoukville might have read as follows:

Nov 11/95:


05:59: HMS 02 of the Ministry of Fisheries departed without incident, headed past

Koh Pos into waters with 5 foot, gently rolling swells. No white caps. Course set

at 240 degrees south-southwest. Speed ten knots.

06:38. Col. Chan Dy, who is escorting the journalists, loses breakfast over port


06:56. Freelance photographer Al Rockoff wretching violently off starboard bow.

06:58. Magnum photographer Phillip Jones Griffiths falls asleep in captain's quarters.

07:00. Associated Press and Voice of America reporter Som Satana ghastly sick

over starboard beam. Looking a bit green.

07:11. Cambodia Daily photo-grapher David Van der Veen dry heaves over starboard

aft. Never seen a white man look so white.

07:12. Reuters reporter Seng Kim Sieng tosses cookies over starboard beam. Remains

there, looking grim, for 40 minutes.

07:50. Rockoff back to starboard bow. Skin looks greyish.

08:00. Most of HMS 02 crew sleeping comfortably in hammocks strung under aft deck


09:35. Approaching Koh Tang. Jones Griffiths wakes up, looking refreshed and rested.

09:42. Drop anchor at Koh Tang. Journalists trundle ashore, looking less than

eager for the story at hand.

Residents in Sihanoukville are wondering aloud: "Where's Ariston?" Eleven

months after the Kingdom's largest contract-to-date with a foreign investor was signed,

there's no rep office in town, no action on Naga Island and no sign of Ariston anywhere.

Except across from the entrance to the airport where a sign with paint chipping off

reads "Reception & Information Center, Donated by Ariston S.D.N.",

which stands in front of an unfinished building that is already starting to fall


Fielding's "The World's Most Dangerous Places" has downgraded Cambodia

from five stars to two. The shift was made after Cambodia-section author Wink Dulles

came back to reassess the country's security after the RGC protested at the initial

5-star rating for danger. A press statement quotes Dulles as saying after his recent

September visit: "Cambodia certainly isn't as dangerous as Bosnia, and is safer

than it was."


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