AS Cambodia celebrated its sixth anniversary of the return of the monarchy last
month, another "fake" prince has emerged and claimed to be the supposed
successor to His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk.
The owner of a brick kiln
in Kien Svay district, Kandal province, who asked not to be named, said his
father was one of the supporters of the man claiming to be Prince Norodom
Naradipo, who disappeared 23 years ago.
"He even had a letter
transferring the throne to show to old people," said the kiln owner who believes
the claim is a scam.
The kiln owner said that the man told his father
that seven men "who pretended to be himself" had been arrested, but not him who
is "the real prince."
The kiln owner, who lives in a village 25km
southeast of Phnom Penh, said the "fake" prince looked young, but that he told
everyone he was 54.
"He looks like [Prime Minister] Hun Sen, but a bit
shorter," he said. "He has a bent back like that of a shrimp."
the "fake" prince would ride on a motorcycle and wear a helmet to cover his
face. Sometimes he drove an old, white Corolla car when he "comes and goes" to
He said his father had tried to convince all the children to
follow him, but that none of his brothers and sisters believed their
Villagers in Prey Chhor district in Kompong Cham, where the
prince was moved to in 1975, and Julio A Jeldres, the official biographer to
King Sihanouk, are sick of rumors about Prince Naradipo.
who used to work and live with the prince at Tuck Chhar water reservoir during
the Khmer Rouge era, got upset when he came from work and found me questioning
his mother about the prince.
He said there were people coming to "cheat"
his mother out of the history of the prince and that they would fake his voice
to produce tapes for sale.
"I don't know what they really wanted," he
"I told my Mum 'Don't believe them'," he said of his mother,
who was the prince's godparent during at that time.
"If he's really
alive, he would come [to see them]," Sareoun told his mother, Hang
Neither did Muong in Kveth Thom village tolerate those who tried
to fake the prince's voice.
She said someone sent her two tapes recording the
voice of a man they claimed was Prince Naradipo.
"He had a similar voice,
but he seemed too proud [of himself]," she said, explaining that the prince was
reserved and never showed his pride.
According to an article written by
Jeldres, King Sihanouk's biographer, in the Bangkok Post in 1995, a cassette
tape purporting to contain a message from Prince Naradipo began circulating in
Phnom Penh in late November earlier.
The message, claimed that the prince
was well and was living in Kompong Thom and had visited Phnom Penh to address a
gathering of citizens.
The message quoted the prince as saying in the
meeting that he had been living in a Khmer Rouge "liberated zone" since
It claimed that King Sihanouk had counseled him to keep quiet in
Kampong Thom and not to make trouble like his half-brother Prince
Youk Chhang, head of the Documentation Center of Cambodia,
said he had not come across any information or files relating to Prince
"It's not clear [whether he's dead or alive]," Chhang
Chhang said his center is doing an investigation to find out
information about members of the Royal Family who were killed or went missing
during the Khmer Rouge era.