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Around The Sun: The Lost Money Belt

Steve Harrison tells if a man who paid a heavy price for being foolish.

They say a fool and his money are soon parted. This is true, and it happens at lightning speed in Cambodia.

Sitting in our bar one morning was a desperate and forlorn looking Japanese fellow. "Are you the manager?'' he asked me.

It turned out that he was due to fly to Thailand in a few hours, and he had lost his money belt.

He told me he had been to a business address on on 63rd street. On leaving the address he discovered that the money belt was missing.

63rd Street was notorious in Phnom Penh for its brothels. I asked the obvious question. I got the reply I expected.

"How much was in the belt?'' I asked.

I expected to hear something like a couple of hundred dollars. But no. There was something like $12,000 in the belt.

I almost fell over backwards.

He realised how stupid he had been.

"Should I report it to the police?'' he asked.

"Mister,'' I told him "the police are going to think that if you can carry $12,000 in a money belt you can afford to give them $3,000 to start their inquiries. They will think that you are a fool, and they will treat you as such.

"Go to the airport, get on your plane, and tell nobody how silly you have been.''

So the guy lost a large amount of money. Served him right and taught him a lesson.

And a Cambodian came into an unexpected fortune.

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