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College Revokes Honorary Degree

January 10, 1998

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) _ Iowa Wesleyan College has rescinded the honorary degree they bestowed last month on Teng Bunma, a controversial Cambodian tycoon and suspected narcotics trafficker.

Following a closed meeting of the school’s trustees, Board chairman Bryon Johnson and college President Robert Prins issued a statement Friday saying they ``regret the awarding of the degree.″

After reviewing Teng Bunma’s record, the trustees learned that the United States had denied him a visa because of allegations he is involved in narcotics trafficking in Cambodia.

``This development led to the board’s decision to rescind the degree,″ the statement said.

Bunma has denied the charges.

He also was accused of shooting out the tires on a plane in April because his luggage was lost. Three months later, Teng Bunma pulled a pistol on the cabin crew of an Orient Thai Airlines flight and ordered it delayed until his friends arrived.

Teng Bunma also has boasted that he helped finance the July seizure of power by Hun Sen, who ousted his co-prime minister, Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Prins presented the honorary business degree to the Cambodian businessman on Dec. 19 during an international industrial-commercial conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Prins cited Teng Bunma’s success as an entrepreneur, his donation of thousands of tons of rice to needy Cambodians, and his contributions to restoring the country’s road and currency systems.

At the time, Prins also said the college was hoping that Teng Bunma would help establish a program for training Cambodian teachers at the school.

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