T HE father of British captive Dominic Chappell had an audience with His Majesty
King Norodom Sihanouk, who said he would try to win the hostages
David Chappell, 55, spoke after a seven-minute audience with His
Majesty inside the Royal Palace grounds.
David said the King told him he
would make an appeal to the Khmer Rouge who are believed to be holding Dominic,
25, his Australian girlfriend Kelly Wilkinson and their British friend Tina
Dominy, aged 23.
He said: "He really did apologize for what had happened.
He thanked me for coming and said he wasn't sure why they were holding them,
whether it was for money, resources or political gain.
"He is issuing an
appeal for the captives to be released unconditionally without any further
Freelance cameraman and writer David, originally from Mansfield,
Nottinghamshire but who has lived in Hong Kong for the last five years, went
down to Sihanoukville where Dominic and Kelly ran a Mediterranean-style
restaurant called Cafe Rendezvous. He spent two days in the port and resort town
being updated on the latest developments in investigations by the police and the
Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.
As a result of his trip he said would ask
British Ambassador David Burns to press Cambodian authorities to appoint one
officer in overall charge.
He said: "I'm quite happy that the Cambodians
are doing everything possible but if two organizations are doing the same things
it can't be very efficient."
David left Phnom Penh to return to Hong
Kong on May 3. Kelly's brother Sean and father Peter remain in the
Dominic, Kelly and Tina were snatched by guerrillas from their
taxi on the road between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville during a regular run to
stock up on supplies on April 11.
The Khmer Rouge abducted US national
Melissa Himes, 24, in Kampot province on March 31. Her employers, Food for the
Hungry International had still not negotiated her release at press
David said on May 2 he had been told by the British Embassy that
the Cambodian authorities had still not made contact with the captors and no
demands had been received.
The Westerners are thought to be held in
densely-wooded hills a few km from the road, 120 km southwest of the capital in
a known KR area.
David said: "My biggest worry is about their health,
the food they are eating and the water they are drinking and the worry they
could get malaria.
"Apparently the guerrillas are quite well off in that
area from logging so hopefully they can afford things like mosquito nets and
keep them in reasonable conditions.
"The one I feel sorry for is Tina
because she is fresh out of England. It must have been pretty traumatic for her
being marched off into the jungle at gunpoint."
David added: "I believe
the King does have some influence over the guerrillas and I am very thankful for
Tina, from south London arrived in Cambodia with three of
Dominic and Kelly's friends and had decided to stay on after they left to
celebrate the Khmer New Year in Sihanoukville, David explained.
their ordeal David said he hopes Dominic will stay in Cambodia after he is
He said: "He loves the country and had found a sense of purpose