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Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 10:54 GMT
Soldier arrested after Cambodian boat hijack
Boat trip
Boat trips are part of the fledgling tourist industry
Cambodian police say a soldier has been arrested in connection with the hijack of a river boat full of tourists who were bound, blindfolded and robbed.

The boat was travelling on the waterway linking the capital, Phnom Penh, with the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, when it was seized by a group of armed bandits on Wednesday.

Correspondents say that Cambodian officials want to develop the tourist industry now that the struggle with the Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement has ended but despite improved security incidents of banditry still take place.

Gun to the head

British, Japanese and local tourists said a handful of bandits armed with guns and knives bound them, blindfolded them and robbed them of money and valuables.

One traveller said attackers put a gun to his head and threatened, in English, to kill him.

A single shot was fired inside the boat to frighten the captives, but no-one was injured.

The tourists' ordeal lasted roughly 30 minutes. Afterwards, the bandits fled.

Popular trip

The nearly eight-hour boat trip runs daily from the temple complex to Phnom Penh, and is frequented by budget travellers who enjoy the $25 fare.

Similar attacks at one time were common during the country's struggle with the Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement, but security along the route has improved since the guerrillas were forced out of the river region in the mid 1990s.

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04 Dec 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Millennium mayhem at Angkor Wat
22 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Deadlock in Khmer trial talks
06 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
Law targets Khmer Rouge leaders
07 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Khmer Rouge chief charged with genocide
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