Macabre Bidding War
Pol Pot's Mercedes for Sale on EBay
He was one of the most brutal dictators of the 20th century. Now Pol Pot's car is up for grabs on eBay. A Brit is offering the 1973 Mercedes Limousine that is said to have once belonged to the Cambodian dictator for 35,000 pounds.
"For Sale - one classic 1973 Mercedes Benz Stretch Limousine (short-wheel base stretch) -- previously used by one infamous owner -- Pol Pot who led the Khmer Rouge during its genocidal regime in Cambodia from 1975-1979." This is the tantalizing, if morally dubious, offer to car shoppers on eBay. The going price is 35,000 pounds (about €50,000 or $72,000).
It's not likely to go much higher than that. Whether the black luxury car actually belonged to the blood-thirsty dictator, who died in 1998, has yet to be confirmed. Paul Freer, the British banker who has put the car up for sale, was not to be reached for comment.
According to the eBay ad, the car was discovered while being used to transport water melon to the central market of Phnom Penh by the former editor of the Phnom Penh Post. Freer bought it in 2001, restored it and used it "for Sunday drives around Phnom Penh and the outskirts." He claims that Hollywood star Matt Dillon used it while shooting "City of Ghosts" in Cambodia in 2001. The car is currently on display at the French colonial Renakse Hotel, opposite the King's Palace.
Historians are debating the authenticity of the story. Youk Chhang is the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia that archives and researches the crimes of the Pol Pot regime -- one that killed some two million people during its regime of terror. He explains that the infamous dictator owned several black Mercedes limousines. "It's impossible to determine which of the cars belonged to him," he says.