Sam Sary



Excerpted from "The History of Cambodia", by Justin J. Cortfield. Published by Greenwood Press, 2009, page 54.



 Another man who also became a close confident of Prince Sihanouk was Sam Sary the easy going son of the politician Sam Nhean. Sam Sary has been a close personal friend of Sihanouk for many years, and Sihanouk had rewarded him by making him Ambassador to the Court of St. James in London. However, while there, Sam Sary was involved in a public scandal when one of his mads went to the police. Sam Sary was recalled, but still enjoyed Sihanouk's confidence as Cambodia went to the polls in 1958. On this occasion, Sangkum nominated one candidate for each seat, and only one seat was contested when Keo Meas, a diehard member of the Pracheachon who was still convinced that his party could win at the polls, contested, but was crushed, receiving 396 votes to Sangkum's 12,354 votes for the seat of Phnom Penh. The elections were, however, far more important in one other way; they marked the first time that women were able to vote --Sihanouk's Sangkum government had extended the franchise to include the women--and a former school head mistress, Mme Pung Peng Cheng, became the first woman elected to the national assembly.

Right after the election, Sam Sary launched his own opposition party and then produced a free newspaper that carried no advertising and was obviously being bankrolled by somebody. Suspicion focus on the U.S. Embassy, and on June 13, 1959, Sihanouk referred to as "Bangkok Plot" to overthrow him. Sam Sary disappeared and his house was searched by police, who found incriminating material there. Rumors later emerged that Sihanouk had allowed Sam Sary to flee the country. This certainly seems possible, as Sihanouk always showed a level of loyalty to longtime friends, rather than dumping them when there was a scandal, which many politicians have seen as the expedient course of action.

Sam Sary was hunted down by assassins hired by Police chief Lon Nol, escaped an attempt on his life in Vientiane, and was murdered soon afterwards, probably in Saigon.


Sihanouk had always liked Sam Sary, but he had never really had anything in common with Dap Chhuon, the warlord who lived in Siem Reap, ...







Updated by Nic 10/28/2011


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