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King makes appeal for hostages

King makes appeal for hostages

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

release.

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

delay."

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

country.

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

time.

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

his help."

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.

Despite

their ordeal David said he hopes Dominic will stay in Cambodia after he is

released.

He said: "He loves the country and had found a sense of purpose

here."

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