T HE French Military Attaché in Phnom Penh told the Post that part of the French
military aid commitment to Cambodia is assistance to create a Royal Cambodian
Colonel Francois Torres said the project will be complete
in 10 years and will be done on a province by province basis.
soldiers armed with pistols and dressed in unpatterned military green with PM
armbands can be seen around the city during the day and setting up checkpoints
Post reporters visited the Uniformed Armed Forces Military
Base, the Headquarters of the Police Militaire (PM) and barracks for over 300
One PM talked about his job saying: "We have many jobs, we are
like both the police and military.
"Our job is to eliminate robbery,
murder, and anarchy. One of our jobs is to reduce the number of fake soldiers
who use military uniforms to threaten or frighten people.
"Many of these
fake soldiers are demobilized soldiers who kept their uniforms, but who do not
have legal identity cards.
"Ordinary people do not try to pretend to be
soldiers, most of the fake soldiers are former soldiers."
about training the PM said: "We are trained in Karate, Judo, Tai-wan-do. We
already know how to use our weapons because we were regular soldiers before we
were selected to be PM."
"But we get paid very little, 50,000 to 70,000
riel per month."
Another PM said: "Our life is not good but our salary is
just enough to live.
"My family lives in Phnom Penh. But most soldiers
here are from the provinces."
When asked how the government could improve
its performance a PM Captain said: "In order to reduce corruption, the
government must give the soldiers a fair salary. With our salary we should not
work, but we work anyway because we are patriotic and we love our
The other soldier agreed, and added: "On the salary that we get
we can only live 5 or 6 days. We survive because our wife helps by making extra
"But the situation in the military is the same as during the [SOC
"In order to get a good job or a good position you have to know
someone or you have to pay for it.
"Many officers in high positions do
not know anything, their capacity is very low, but they get their position
because they are well connected."
The PM Captain said: "Most of my
colleagues agree that outlawing the Khmer Rouge is the correct policy.
"But we have still given a chance for the KR to comeback if they
Another PM said: "It was a good idea to outlaw the Khmer
Rouge but I am afraid that the war cannot be ended."
In answer to a
question concerning logging, one PM said: "The Ministry of Defense is the only
Ministry that can protect the timber.
"The Ministry of Agriculture
cannot do it alone. In some zones the timber businesses are protected by the