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Around The Sun: The Man With The Scar

Steve Harrison tells of a scary encounter in his Phnom Phen bar.

I decided to keep vigil in the bar. Black the DJ was working so I asked him to put on some mellow music then join me at the bar for a quiet drink.

We had just gotten a couple of beers in front of us when a brand new sleek Mercedes Benz, latest model, cruised up. Its horn was sounded, and security helped the driver too park. This was about 3 am.

Two very slick tall Khmers got out of the Mercedes. Both were well dressed. I told them I thought they had a nice car. One of the men then introduced himself. I forget names, but never a face. This man had a deep scar from near his left eye all the way down his cheek to his lip. He asked if this was the bar which stayed open all night and played hip-hop music.

Another big four-wheel drive arrived. A married couple got out, both Khmers. They joined the first two who had settled at the bar near to me. Other customers seemed to have decided to clear the bar. Even the security guys had gone to the other side of the street.

The four newcomers ordered Johnnie Walker Gold Label. The Mercedes driver introduced himself as the son of the owner of a brand new expensive beach resort. We did not stock Gold Label. He said he had some in the car. He brought two bottles and placed them on the bar. After lining up six tall glasses on the bar he opened both bottles, filling each glass half-full with neat whisky. He insisted we drink a special Khmer toast. We had to smile as we proposed the toast, then drink the contents of the glass before setting it down empty.

He poured his mate a full tumbler of whisky. The friend was derided for drinking it and immediately becoming very pissed.

This man seemed to like me. He asked if Id like to drive his new Mercedes. I said I thought the streets of Phnom Penh were too crowded. He said he drove around town in a Hummer and offered to come around some evening to take me cruising the streets in it with him and his mates.

I asked if the police ever pulled him over. He said he was above the law.

So much for me and my DJ having a quiet drink. After drinking two glasses of whisky in quick succession he fell from his bar stool, landing like a block of lead. I helped him into a lounge chair, then made my excuses and left the bar.

Next morning I made some inquiries. The man with the Mercedes was one of the K----- boys. Apparently there were two brothers, one a good guy, the other pure evil. They were both said to be good-looking guys, but the evil one had a scar from his eye down to his lip. Urban legend had it that one day the evil one was driving through a small village in his Hummer, A kid stepped under the wheel and was promptly run over and killed. Apparently the villagers tried to mob the driver. He got out of his vehicle carrying an AK47, shot and killed seven villagers, then drove off.

Ah well, I had drunk with the evil one and survived another day in Cambodia.

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