This Week In Cambodian History: February 19-25
On 19 February 1995, a Royal Decree on the creation of the APSARA National Authority (Authority for the protection of the site and the management of the Angkor Region) was adopted.
On February 20, 1959, General Dap Chhuon sent a letter informing Queen Kossamak that he was going into opposition against the government to protect the throne. On the night of February 21, Prime Minister Sihanouk dispatched troops and armored personnel carriers to Siem Reap. They took control of the town and captured Dap Chhuon’s forces without firing a shot, but Dap Chhuon managed to escape. Subsequently he was captured while trying to cross into Thailand on March 3 and apparently died of wounds inflicted during his capture. Other implicated Lon Nol, who ordered Dap Chhuon to be shot on capture to avoid his part in the coup attempt being revealed- correspondence between President Eisenhower and Prince Sihanouk published HERE.
On February 20, 1961, President Kennedy sent a personal letter to Prince Sihanouk’:
Washington, February 20, 1961, 12:48 p.m.
Deliver soonest following message from President to Prince Sihanouk:
“February 20, 1961
Your Royal Highness:
The tragic crisis in Laos was among the major problems in foreign affairs to confront my Administration. In studying the various proposals advanced for resolving the problem we were particularly impressed by the series of valuable suggestions made by Your Royal Highness over the past several months. Therefore, I was very happy to receive your letter of January 28 giving your further thoughts on the points raised by President Eisenhower in his letter of January 16.”
Read full letter HERE
On February 20, 2017, amendments to Cambodia’s Law on Political Parties were passed by the National Assembly on February 20.
On February 20, 1948, Prince Sisowath Watchayavong- the last of three consecutive members of the Royal House of Sisowath clan to hold office as Chief Minister- was replaced by Chhean Vam.
On February 22, 2003, Indonesia, the then chair of ASEAN, announced it would send military and civilian observers to the Preah Vihear area after the organization pledged to “assist and support the parties (Cambodia and Thailand) in respecting their commitment to avoid further armed clashes between them, by observing and reporting accurately, as well as impartially on complaints of violations and submitting its findings to each party through Indonesia.”
On February 23, 1993, Cambodia Asia Bank commenced its operations in Cambodia with the opening of one of the first commercial banks in Phnom Penh.
On 23 February 2017, Tep Vanny was sentenced to two years and six months in prison for “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances” under Article 218 of the Cambodian Criminal Code. She was later pardoned and released the following August.
On February 25, 1920, the first Cambodian civil code was enacted. Written by French experts it was strongly inspired by the Napoleonic Code dated 1804. Available only in French, the civil code of 1920 was only accessible to the Cambodian elite and struggled to impose itself to the people of the Kingdom of Cambodia. It took until 1967 for a translation in Khmer of the code (in its first revision). The code was in force until the arrival of the Khmer Rouge in 1975.
On February 25, 1976, explosions rock Siem Reap. Blame is apportioned to the USA, with others blaming Vietnam and the Cambodians themselves.