Tuesday, April 24, 2007



30 March 1997, a crowd of approximately 200 supporters of the opposition Khmer Nation Party (KNP), led by former Finance Minister Sam Rainsy, gathered in a park across the street from the National Assembly to denounce the judiciary's lack of independence and judicial corruption. In a well-planned attack, four grenades were thrown into the crowd, killing protestors and bystanders, including children, and blowing limbs off street vendors.
June 1997, there is an interview with the Phnom Penh Post, Hing Bun Heang-deputy commander of Hun Sen's bodyguard unit. He threatened to kill journalists who alleged that Hun Sen’s bodyguards were involved.
The grenade attack made headlines and provoked outrage around the world. The Washington Post sent one of its senior reporters to Phnom Penh.

On June 29, 1997, R. Jeffrey Smith wrote:

In a classified report that could pose some awkward problems for US policymakers, the FBI tentatively has pinned responsibility for the blasts, and the subsequent interference, on personal bodyguard forces employed by Hun Sen, one of Cambodia's two prime ministers, according to four US government sources familiar with its contents. The preliminary report was based on a two-month investigation by FBI agents sent here under a federal law giving the bureau jurisdiction whenever a US citizen is injured by terrorism ... The bureau says its investigation is continuing, but the agents involved reportedly have complained that additional informants here are too frightened to come forward.
Cambodian authorities failed to work as a team eventhough the investigation has made an encouraging start. On 9 January 2000, George tenet, CIA director said the United States would never forget an act of terrorism against its citizens and would bring those responsible to justice no matter how long it takes. The investigation was then abandoned.
In March 2006, the FBI awarded a medal to the Cambodian Chief of National Police, Hok Lundy, for his support of the US global campaign against terrorism. Hok Lundy was chief of the national police at the time of the grenade attack and has long been linked to political violence.


After the fall of the Pol Pot regime (Democratic Kampuchea), Cambodia was under Vietnamese occupation and in a civil war during the 1980s. Vietnam ruled through former Khmer Rouge heading the Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party, fighting the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea, composed of their Maoist ex-comrades, the republican conservative KPNLF and the royalists of FUNCINPEC. Peace efforts intensified in 1989 and 1991 with two international conferences in Paris, and a UN peacekeeping mission helped maintain a cease-fire. As a part of the peace effort, UN-sponsored elections were held in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy as did the rapid diminishment of the Khmer Rouge in the mid-1990s. Norodom Sihanouk was reinstated as King. A coalition government, formed after national elections in 1998, brought renewed political stability and the surrender of remaining Khmer Rouge forces in 1998. Compared to its recent past, the 1993-2003 period has been one of relative stability for Cambodia. However, political violence continues to be a problem.