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Military police root out army imposters

Military police root out army imposters

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

Gendarmerie.

Colonel Francois Torres said the project will be complete

in 10 years and will be done on a province by province basis.

Already

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

at night.

Post reporters visited the Uniformed Armed Forces Military

Base, the Headquarters of the Police Militaire (PM) and barracks for over 300

soldiers.

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."

When asked

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

country."

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

money.

"But the situation in the military is the same as during the [SOC

Regime].

"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

surrender."

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

KR."

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