30 May '11, 1am

Cambodia's king is seen as a "prisoner" in his palace

PHNOM PENH (Cambodia) - AS THE sun sets and the last tourist departs his vast, fairy-tale palace, the gentle, dignified man is left almost alone with memories of happier times, before he became the reluctant king of Cambodia - and perhaps its last. King Norodom Sihamoni may be heir to a royal line trailing back some 2,000 years, but he always seemed more suited to the arts scene in Europe, where he was a ballet dancer, than the rough and tumble politics of his homeland. Now, close aides and experts say, he has become figuratively, and more, a prisoner in his own palace. The chief warden: Prime Minister Hun Sen, who rose from a poor rural background to become a brilliant and crafty, some say ruthless, politician. Hun Sen consolidated power in a 1997 coup as Cambodia slowly emerged from being dragged into the Vietnam War and its own civil war. While the country is nominally ...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/SEAsia/Story/STI...

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