Laos: After the Party

Returning home early from a party at the King's residence in Vientiane. Foreign Minister Quinim Pholsena, 47, and his wife drew up before their newly renovated villa. On guard was a protective screen of soldiers from the neutralist army of Premier Prince Souvanna Phouma. As Quinim mounted the steps, one of the soldiers stepped forward and fired a blast from his submachine gun that killed Quinim and seriously wounded his wife.

When word of the murder reached the King's residence on the banks of the Mekong, it failed to dampen the merrymaking. The...

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