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Remembering PM's Assasination Attempt 23 Years Ago

Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Information has recalled the attempted assasination of the Prime Minister in Siem Reap on 24 September 1998. Prime Minister Hun Sen's convoy was ambushed. Luckily, he was not hit. However. a house nearby was shot instead which resulted to the death of a citizen who was hit by the stray bullet.

The Ministry stated that the assassination attempt is an unforgettable historical event. For the past years, the Prime Minister has been talking about the ambush but never went into the detail. But on Friday, the Ministry of Information has released the full details of the incident. The same day that Cambodians mark the 28th anniversary of the kingdom's constitution.

Minister of Information, Khieu Kanharith, says, "Today, Samdech Techo commemorates the 23rd anniversary of the assassination attempt in Siem Reap. I would like to remind you of this because I was stuck with this job at the time. Speaking of which, I still remember the words of Mr. Chiv Ta Kwan when he came to Cambodia during the Angkorian period. It is true that when Chiv Ta Kwan came to Cambodia, our country was starting to weaken, but one thing that Chiv Ta Kwan noticed was, "The gods keep this district very strong."

He narrated that it was the day that the King Father won the seat in the National Assembly entered the meeting in Siem Reap and took the oath in front of Angkor. They needed to go together to Siem Reap since at that time, there were few flights and the road was not 100% safe as now.

 Kanharith continued, "On the afternoon of the 23 September, Samdech Techo arrived with us staying at Seang Nam's Hotel. But on the night before, Samdech had a dream in which his mother's soul told him that if he would go to Siem Reap, he had to burn incense at Wat Preah Ang Khmao. Samdech does not know where Wat Preah Ang Khmao is."

 Only on the morning of the 23rd that the Prime Minister found out out where the Black Prince pagoda was. It was in Angkor Thom on the way to Bayon Temple. In the afternoon, the Prime Minuster and all elected members of the National Assembly of the People's Party took a joint bus including the Minister of I formation to Wat Preah Ang Khmao.

 According to the Angkor Conservation Group, this pagoda was named after Preah Ang Khmao pagoda during the post-Angkorian religious war between Brahmanism and Buddhism. The Minister remembered that after praying, the Prime Minister read the Bible at the Bodhisattva. He read the part od the bible that says, "It is hard in the beginning, but in the end it is good." Kanharith described the happening it as the happening was already seen by the Prime Minister written in the scripture.

 The Minister of Information continued to recall, "The Prime Minister asked, 'Who wants to go while I have money?'. His usual way of talking to us. I replied, "You, the Prime Minister, still have one place to go and leave the money for me to spend." It was a rainy night. And it rained until six o' clock in the morning.

 He said, "According to the arrangement, the Prime Minister had to go to the Royal House first, so we had to leave before the parties (before Samdech Chea Sim was the party president). Samdech drove the second car after the lead car and the Deputy Prime Minister of the government continued to drive the car. We follower in the minivan behind him. Wanting to take good photos, I sat in the front seat next to the driver (right-hand drive at the time)."

 The Minister said they were laughing when they heard a loud bang. He said, "I looked ahead and saw a thick piece of oval blue smoke on my right hand, but did not know what was going on. The bodyguard sitting with Samdech told me that at that time Samdech was bending over to wipe his glasses and immediately after that he asked what was wrong? Everyone does not know what it is because no one sees the bullet yet."

He thought it was a wind tunnel explosion. Then they arrived at the Royal Palace with the members of the People's Party, who were seated according to their age.

It was there they were informed about four 40-ball bombs hidden in a bunch of paper flowers along the road and controlled by a mobile phone system. They learned that it was the rain the whole night, that made the wiring system and damaged causing it to malfunction. Only one exploded.

Minister Kanharith said, "Samdech is really an excellent army commander. We also went out to swear safely. When we came back from the oath we came back to the hotel, then the news of this bomb began to spread. At lunchtime, Samdech called me to meet him in his room. What I remember most is a plate of Khmer soup, with a plate of pure fish sauce and Samdech sitting looking at this soup. When Samdech looks at me, I think that if he shed tears, it is really a drop of blood. He was not angry about the assassination attempt, but he was upset that he tried to get out of parliament and talk to the Cambodian people, but in the end they tried to kill him. This is the face I will always remember."

 After a complete description of this shocking and painful event, Minister Khieu Kanharith has claimed that today was a great day, the beginning of Kan Ben, so the story he recalled about the assassination attempt on Hun Sen was not anything disclosed. He wished and prayed for Cambodia to meet only peace, and wished people to become able to hold festivals and let Cambodians know how to love each other.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that he has already forgiven those who want to kill him in Siem Reap. He said, "At all costs, I must keep the peace and protect the lives of the Cambodian people. ”


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