A lleged coup plotter Prince Chakrapong made his first public comments from exile
during an interview with Nate Thayer in Kuala Lumpur on July 9.
Prince Norodom Chakrapong went into exile in Malaysia on July 3
after troops surrounded a Phnom Penh hotel he was hiding in. He was accused of
treason and being linked to a rebel force of up to 300 troops. They were
persuaded to peacefully return to barracks before reaching the
On his alleged role in the coup.
You know as a
professional, it makes no sense. They say I had 200 people. Compared with more
than 100,000. I am courageous but I am not stupid. Three hundred to compare with
100,000. What can they do? It is ridiculous to do that. In guerrilla warfare,
yes. You know, in the jungle we can do that but in the town, how can we do that?
Secondly, those responsible for the coup must stay with their troops, you know,
at least to protect him, in case it is not successful. At least they know where
to escape, to prepare the retreat, the withdrawal. Not to allow myself to be
surrounded like that.......
If I knew anything, I would have gone into
the jungle already or in the province. When I go into battle I tell no one the
time, the day I go. Nobody knows what I am going to do, even my bodyguards don't
know and nobody can find me. That is the reason I can survive ten years in the
jungle. And all of us - General Sin Song has experience during 70-75. He was the
Minister of Security more than 14 years. I have my military experience of more
than 30 years and more than 10 years in jungle warfare. We are not young people
who have just become Generals. We are professionals. How can we do
The government elected by Untac is collapsing, the regime is
collapsing. But they must find someone as a, you know, as a wall to protect
them. What they did finally is they found the people, Chakrapong and Sin
Song........I say to you, for myself I think we don't need to have a coup.
Because everybody expects the government is going to fall by itself. Why to make
the coup illegally?......Everybody expects that this government must be changed.
If this government must be changed, why do you need the coup, why? It is
illogical to do that and it is illogical to have 200 or 300 men to make a
You say that we, Sin Song and so on, are behind it. But how can you
be assured that we are behind the coup. We have no voice to explain our point of
view. Sin Song so called confessed, but who has come to ask him what he is
really saying? Because what you know is only by the government , not by the
people themselves who are responsible. If you have a democracy, you know,
looking at even your country, the mafia even has a right to answer in public.
Only the government says he confessed. What is the proof? They can falsify, they
can change anything, they can make it up. Whoever has the power can make it
On the state of the government.
I have been very
disappointed with what was organized by the United Nations, what has happened
here. But never mind, the past is the past. I believe in the constitution, but
what is now happening with democracy in Cambodia? Nothing is new. Nothing. Has
Cambodia become as a dictatorship, but under another way, another form? It is
more dangerous. Before I am fighting against the regime of the communists but
now the so-called liberal democracy because on behalf of the liberal democracy
they have made a dictatorship. It is more dangerous.
A lot of countries,
the super powers and so on, they are looking just only at the face and
artificially. It is very dangerous. But the super powers and the other countries
forget. In any country, in your country, in the democratic country, if something
is wrong, all the people who do something wrong must go, but the institutions
must be there.... this government cannot stay forever, must be replaced. Make
new elections and so on......The fruit is already ripe for the collapse of the
government. Everybody is talking about that. Not just me, but everybody. The
question is just a question of time already. Just only that.
The best way
is new elections. They will give the people the choice to elect the Khmer Rouge
or to come and enter the government. They don't need to make an amendment if the
people choose the Khmer Rouge. We cannot. But if the Khmer Rouge are not
elected, they have no reason to reject this constitution and the new
You know, I say if you don't choose something, no election,
at least we can change the government because new faces, new people, can regain
the confidence of the people. If we allow the same people to do the same policy,
you lose the confidence of the people. I think that for the next election
everybody will lose... a third party will win.
On the Khmer Rouge
The government is very smart. They know the whole world is very
anti-Khmer Rouge. It is Khmer Rouge, Khmer Rouge. But what about the other
problems? Yes, it is important the problem of the Khmer Rouge but it is more
important the problem of democracy. The problem is there.
I ask your
country and everybody: Is democracy more important than the problem of the Khmer
Rouge or not? If you promote democracy the problem of the Khmer Rouge can be
solved by democracy. The government must do a good job for the people. The only
way to fight the Khmer Rouge is not fighting but through promoting a better life
for the people.
So you think that this government has shown that it is
incapable of dealing with the problems and needs to be changed?
First there is economic collapse. Secondly, security collapse. Third, justice
for the people. Fourth, for the democracy.
Now, they ban everybody who
dares to criticize the government, to put them in jail or put them somewhere.
But the Constitution says that you can criticize, you have the right to free
speech in the Constitution.
And, you know, everything goes down like
economic, social, and security and a lot of people just dying for nothing.
Like I say to you, again the Khmer Rouge, in Anlong Veng and Pailin,
many people lose their lives and materials but nobody is responsible. Only some
commanders have changed. But who gave them the order to go attack? Who are
responsible for ordering them to go to attack Anlong Veng and Pailin? Who takes
this position? It is the responsibility of the government. Why to change only
the men who just only execute the order? Nobody is responsible. In this
government everything goes wrong but it is the fault of the others but never
On Hun Sen
Look at Hun Sen. Hun Sen conducts all
the government and the party through the election and he lost. But he stays
there. And this government has had no success. I don't ask the government to go
undemocratically, like in a coup, but they must take responsibility as the
people who are responsible for the country. Like the other leaders of democratic
countries. Like your country, like France, like Japan. I don't ask them to go
undemocratically, to make a coup d'etat, but they have to take responsibility
for their job.
On the CPP after the coup attempt.
the CPP artificially still stays the same, but internally I think it is
destroyed by Hun Sen. The majority in the CPP want to say something but they
have no opportunity to express their thinking democratically. You know, in our
party we have the congress, but Hun Sen is always against the Party congress. I
think this is the beginning of the end of the CPP because Hun Sen destroyed
everything. In the political ring and the military ring.....I don't know if the
CPP can recover...It depends on the reaction of Sar Kheng and Chea
In the CPP now, nobody can control anybody because it is so divided,
so divided. I can assure you it is so divided, so divided...the smaller
commanders are worried about their safety and security. They are less controlled
by the people in power. But according to experience, Hun Sen doesn't trust
anybody now. I don't know who depends on who now. Hun Sen may use more and more
the troops of Funcinpec, the cadres of Funcinpec also. Hun Sen arrests the CPP
people to destroy the CPP. In this way, Hun Sen is a champion to destroy his own
party for his own ambition. And what will Funcinpec do now? Funcinpec maybe now
has more or less the possibility to make pressure against Hun Sen because Hun
Sen is more and more isolated from his party. Now the main obstacle is over
Chakrapong, Sin Song and so on. But the next target is Chea Sim and Sar Kheng. I
think that in this way the strategy of the two is there. The two prime ministers
agreed to have to, you know, divide the power.
Hun Sen is looking for
security and military affairs and Funcinpec are looking for economic affairs and