C ABODIA'S long-awaited new banknotes are about to begin being introduced to
civil servants pay checks. The hope is that the new notes will end the need to
carry foreign currency or wads of riel notes.
Sven new noted-in 1000,
2000, 5000,10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 denominations-are to be fully
distributed by mid-April, according to the National Bank of Cambodia.
coins will also eventually replace the current 50, 100, 200 and 500 riel
Bank governmenr Thor Peng Liet said the new, higher value
notes would reduce the use of foreign currencies or gold by both foreigners and
"[Now] they need a sack of riel if they want to settle a
bill for ten people in a restaurant."
Thor Peng Liet believed the new
riel notes-which bear both a watermark ant a metallic strip-would be less easy
to counterfeit than United States and Thai currencies in wide use in
He hoped that the use of foreign money in the private sector
would be phased out, though it would still be used by firms buying goods from
The bank was keen to publicize the new notes-and the fact that
the old ones would remain legal tender as they were gradually withdrawn-to avoid
anyone being cheated. Thor peng Liet was concerned that some people,
particularly in the provinces, would be conned into believing the old notes were
The new notes, printed in France, have been expected since
October but their introduction was delayed for what was described as a "double
check" of them.
They will eventually replace some 180 billion riel worth
of the old notes currently in circulation.
The 100,000 riel
note-equivalent to US$38-features portraits of King Sihanouk and Queen Monineath
All but two of the other notes feature the king.
Thor Peng Liet said the bank had not decided when to distribute the new
stainless steel coins, minted in France.
He hoped that Cambodia would soon see the introduction of coin operated
machines, which would make the new coins essential.