Founding National Police Force
Let me clarify this point here. The army was established on the same day that we set up the United Front of the Salvation of Kampuchea (Cambodia), that was prior to the day that we overthrew the regime of Pol Pot’s genocide. As far as law and order is concerned, measures were taken after the establishment of the provisional government, which was then called the Kampuchean Revolutionary Council (KRC). You may be reminded that Samdech Akka Moha Dhamma Pothisal Chea Sim, the current President of the Senate, was the one who brought the national police force into being. I was then Minister for Foreign Affairs in the KRC. The person who had to start from scratch in forming the national police force was Samdech Chea Sim.
With just a few people – HE Sin Song, Mat Ly, etc, Samdech Chea Sim started the national police formation. Now we have the national police in the whole country. You can imagine how difficult it was to get national police force established throughout the country. In the course of carrying out the task, there was this fact in our history Samdech Chea Sim’s house was ordered to be checked, and I am sure General Nieng Phat remembers that. They found in Samdech Chea Sim’s diary the plan to build up the national police force throughout the country.
The person who ordered investigation on Samdech Chea Sim’s house brought the matter to the meeting. I then rebuked him with my argument that how someone could fulfill his function and duty when s/he was given the task to set up the national police but not allowed to recruit force. What is unbelievable is that this person continues to preach these today, despite everything he did, that he was the father of the January 7 victory day.
On this point, I also have some facts to remind us all about the recent history between 1993 and 1997 that we all went through. You may have remembered that then in Phnom Penh there were heavy security measures taken by various leaders. The whole city was plagued with armed men. Even in coffee shop, people did not feel secure because of those arms. Leaders in those days created an armed situation beyond anyone could imagine.
In the past prior to the specified period above, Samdech Chea Sim, Samdech Heng Samrin and myself included, in my capacity as Prime Minister, never had siren guiding vehicles running before our cars. However, after 1993 (when the first UN supervised general elections was held) leaders (from other factions) created a completely different security environment, in which a leader’s vehicle was led siren car, security cars behind and also motorcycles. HE Nhek Bun Chhay, Deputy Prime Minister is here to confirm if it was not so.
As far as I could recall, Nguon Suor was the one who started it all up in the Ministry of Interior. Ho Sok was another one who always had his bodyguard carrying B 40 rocket launcher around wherever he was. This heavy security measures had brought about an armed clash situation (in 1997). After the incident, implementing my eight-point order, which I declared in Sihanoukville province’s Prey Nub, we have collected and destroyed over 30,000 rifles.
Though there was heavy armed security for leaders, it was hard to control weapons and persons who had the authority to carry ones. We then had issues of armed robberies, kidnappings, etc. It was so serious and complicated for a solution. I never expected that happened as I always believed that they, who had western education, would be bringing in to Cambodia civilized practices. I never thought or imagined they could be the ones to bring in dishonorable actions.
Also this is our past experience that all of you who graduate today from the national police academy as well as those who will go on with your training and study here need to know. It was a hard-won achievement considering what we have today.
HE Ma Choen already mentioned this point in his address which he not only illustrated efforts and achievements scored by the national police academy but also directed our attention to what else – physical requirements, so to speak such as teaching/studying tools, lab, classrooms, hostels, shooting practice range – that needs to be done for this academy.
As is said in my recommendation, and HE Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Interior also is aware of it, we have had budget constraint in the past years as we needed to divert some funding for immediate border defense purposes. This year we also have a number of major items to spend on – organizing the ASEAN summits and related meetings and the Senate and communal council elections. We also had to deal with heavy flooding too.
However, I would urge the Ministry of Economy and Finance to figure out if there could be any possibility for the construction of the Academy’s building to go on. I am sure that we have a tight budget and I am not certain at all if it is going to be possible any time soon. As far as shooting range is concerned, there would not be a possibility to set it up here. Therefore I have two suggestions for the Ministry of Interior and the National Police Academy to consider.
Firstly, find a plot of land elsewhere to set up the shooting range for practice. Secondly, police in training could go and practice shooting at the military or bodyguard shooting ranges.
The issue remains is the construction of a multipurpose hall like the one we built for the Royal Agricultural University at Jamkar Dong or National Institute of Education. I would cover the cost of building the hall and perhaps all of our dignitaries here could cover the cost for equipping it with basic furniture and air conditioning. We will name this hall after Samdech Akka Moha Dhamma Pothisal Chea Sim so that everyone will remember him always to be the one who first establish the Cambodian national police force.
General Nieng Phat was then ordered to carry out the task and he went to Samdech Chea Sim’s and Samdech Heng Samrin’s houses. They were close to come check my house too. The person then also held the post of Defense Minister while he had none of his own force. He even claimed that Samdech Chea Sim and Samdech Heng Samrin were his soldiers. Well, that was some facts from the recent history of Cambodia. He was in fact a soldier in the Vietnamese army. It is ridiculous that this guy, while claiming he hates Vietnam, married a Vietnamese. In his written memoir, there is only one correct fact – Hun Sen arrested him at his house, while all else are lies.
While claiming to be the father of January 7 the person also claimed to be patriotic and anti Vietnamese. To everybody’s account, he was brought up by Vietnam since 1954, after the Geneva Conference (April 26 – July 20, 1954). Why he is not ashamed of himself? How could he not change? This proves that arresting him was not an incorrect thing to do.
Regarding the heavy security measures taken prior to July 1997, as I see that HE Serey Kosal is here, I may bring up one thing in the past. HE Serey Kosal already mentioned in an interview the other day about gathering 150 Khmer Rouge soldiers in the Samdech Paan area of Phnom Penh. They moved out from the residence of Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh to open fire on the late National Police Chief Hok Lundy’s house. Serey Kosal’s speech was also incorporated into the reportage of APSARA TV about DIFID (Divide, Isolate, Finish, Integrate and Develop) strategy. Now you see how bad it was.
HE Li Thuch, who is now also a member of the CPP, said in English to the press at the time of incident, and we can see that on tape, that Hun Sen was killed by the bodyguard already. That was indeed a plan by Ho Sok (then Secretary of State for Interior), who raised ducks behind my house. It was a wrong political move when they keep one hand in the Royal Government (being Government partner) but another hand with the Khmer Rouge related plot for insecurity.
It is now the past but I also warn some people to be cautious in what s/he has to say. We have facts and documentation to prove their actions and to support our arguments and claims. You may understand that I brought these matters up is because they were related to the national security./.