Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - King pays his respects to Beat Richner at stupa

King pays his respects to Beat Richner at stupa

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
King Norodom Sihamoni lays a wreath at the stupa where the ashes of Dr Beat Richner were interred on Thursday. Royal du cambodge

King pays his respects to Beat Richner at stupa

King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath paid their respects to Beat Richner, the founder of the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals, at his stupa in the grounds of the Kantha Bopha Hospital in Siem Reap town on Thursday morning.

Beat Richner's ashes arrived in Siem Reap province from Switzerland on Wednesday.

The cello-playing paediatrician passed away in his native Switzerland on September 9 after a battle with a serious illness. He was 71.

Dr Denis Laurent, the deputy director of Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals, told The Post that Richner’s ashes were taken from the airport in a procession through Siem Reap town before arriving at the Kantha Bopha Hospital where his ashes are to be kept.

“The King and Queen Mother paid their respects to Dr Richner on Thursday,” he said.

Dr Laurent said he did not know whether Richner had wished for his ashes to be interred in Cambodia, but the decision came from his family, a choice he fully supported.

“It is a really good decision. Having worked with [Richner] for 24 years, I know that many people respected him, and they would have wanted it this way.”

The procession for Richner’s ashes was accompanied by the flashing lights and sirens of police cars, and also included Minister of the Royal Palace Kong Sam Ol and Siem Reap Governor Khim Bunsong, while the Pin Peat band played traditional Khmer music.

Standing along the streets, government officials, students and the general public expressed their sorrow at Richner’s passing and paid tribute to his achievements.

Richner’s family, community leaders and Kantha Bopha doctors also joined the procession to express their sorrow over the loss of a man considered a hero to Cambodia and the saviour of so many young lives.

In 1991, Richner was asked by the government to reopen and rebuild Kantha Bopha after the civil war.

On September 22, 1992, the Kantha Bopha I hospital was inaugurated in Phnom Penh, with it fully operational on November 2. Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals have been offering free services ever since, and the foundation now runs five hospitals.

More than 260,000 women have had babies delivered at Siem Reap’s Jayavarman VII hospital alone.

Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals have been operating for 26 years and have saved the lives of millions of Cambodian children.

A talented and keen cello player, Richner would regularly hold performances to raise funds to support the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals, which employ more than 2,500 personnel.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • Government deports 235 Chinese scammers

    THE Immigration Department of the Ministry of Interior on Thursday deported 235 Chinese nationals, 35 of whom were female, via the Phnom Penh International Airport for their part in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) online money extortion scam. The deportees were arrested on November 26 over the

  • Phnom Penh’s Jet’s Container Night Market shuts down

    The famous Jet’s Container Night Market in central Phnom Penh has shut down due to the high cost of the land rental, company representatives claim. Jet’s Container Night Market is the largest such market in Phnom Penh. It operated for just over two

  • Hun Sen rejects ‘rift’ rumours spread by ‘stupid gangsters’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday denied a “rift” among top leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and rejected claims that Senate president Say Chhum and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were set to be removed from their positions as rumours spread by “gangsters”.