Cambodian official sacked for 2004 scam

PHNOM PENH (AP) – A government official has been fired after luring hundreds of workers into paying 500-dollar deposits with the promise of construction jobs for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Pok Yuthea, a businessman from a prominent Cambodian family, was sacked as an adviser to Senate Chairman Chea Sim, who is also president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said yesterday. It was the government’s most concrete action since workers, worried they had been cheated, began periodic protests six months ago. Pok Yuthea was a key member of Cambodian Consultants and Associates, which last year collected deposits from more than 1,200 workers who were told they would go to Greece in August 2001. It is «becoming clear» that the jobs will not materialize and that the workers were «tricked,» the government spokesman said. More than 200 of the workers demonstrated and burned tires outside a Phnom Penh courthouse yesterday. Most said they had borrowed money to make the payments, with some selling land and livestock. America will need more than just its military force to help win the overall war, and it will need more than the help of its friends. It will need the criticism from those closer to the trouble spots (either through their geography or because they have been vulnerable to terrorism a lot longer than America has) who can offer experience in the fight against terror or express concern for rights and values that must be upheld for a clean victory.

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