Lake Tonle Sap, north of Phnom Penh in the centre of the Khmer Republic teams with fish.
SV PAN ACROSS Lake Tonle Sap to lake dwellings
SV Armed fishermen getting off boat
SV & CU Baskets of fish unloaded (2 shots)
GV Women sorting dried fish
SV PAN OVER Fish & nets laid out to dry
Initials ESP/2158 ESP/2215
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Lake Tonle Sap, north of Phnom Penh in the centre of the Khmer Republic teams with fish. But it is a vital source of food supply not only to local villagers but also to North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. The local fishermen have been forced to form armed patrol groups to defend themselves against communist marauders.
Although Communist activity has so far been mainly concentrated in the Mekong Delta south of Phnom Penh, as the offensive gains strength on other supply routes to the capital, the area round Lake Tonle Sap becomes more important.
The Khmer Government has recently proclaimed a state of national danger under which it has power to suspend a number of constitutional liberties for six months, and military courts can impose the death sentence without of appeal.
SYNOPSIS: Lake Tonle Sap, in the centre of the Khmer Republic to the north of Phnom Penh, teems with fish and provides a vital food-supply for the lakeside villagers. However, it is However, it is similarly vital for Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops, and local fishermen have been forced to form their own armed patrol groups to defend their fishing grounds against the encroachments of Communist food-gatherers.
Every day there is an exchange of shots on the lake. The fish come there to spawn and a hundred tone are caught daily. They are the staple diet of the area. There is the danger of seriously damaging local resources by driving off the fishermen.
Although so far Communist activity has been concentrated south of Phnom Penh as the offensive gains strength on other supply routes to the capital the area round the lake is becoming more important.