Jackie Chan Comes to Fight Mines and AIDS

Action film star Jackie Chan, the UN Children’s Fund’s newly appointed goodwill ambassador, said Monday that he came to Cambodia to learn how he could help the country in its fight against land mines and AIDS.

“I have no plan really,” he said at a press conference at the MiCasa Hotel Apartments. “To­day…I just got on the airplane and came to Cambodia.

“I just listen to my boss,” he said, patting the shoulder of Unicef country representative Rodney Hatfield.

“If I could just add something,” Hatfield interjected. “The fact that Jackie is a goodwill ambassador means that he already is doing something.”

Known for years to many Cam­bodians as “Chhin Long,” Chan continues his three-day visit of Cambodia today by traveling to Siem Reap to visit HIV/AIDS and land mine victim assistance projects, and to tour Angkor Wat. On Wednesday, he returns to the capital for a visit with families affected by HIV/AIDS and a possible visit with Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Chan, 50, arrived in Cambodia just before 11 am Monday and was whisked from a mob of journalists at Phnom Penh Inter­national Airport to MiCasa. There, he toured an exhibit of self-portraits of people living with or affected by the disease.

Later, he lunched on “medallion of mackerel” with the artists.

Minister of Health Hong Sun Huot said he hoped Chan could raise funds that could be used “to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.”

Unicef goodwill ambassadors are celebrities who can “bring children’s issues to global attention” and raise money for Unicef programs, a UN statement said.

Last year, while filming “Around the World in 80 Days” in Berlin, Chan collected toy bears that he sold for $1 million, which he donated to his own charity foundation and Unicef.

Chan thumbed through proposals from several countries lobbying for his inaugural visit as a goodwill ambassador before settling on Cambodia, said Unicef spokesman Mark Thomas.

Chan’s arrival follows October’s visit to Phnom Penh by Roger Moore, the former James Bond film star who now serves as a Unicef goodwill ambassador.

Will Chan make a film in Cam­bodia? A possible meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen Wed­nesday could lay the groundwork.

“When I meet with Hun Sen, I definitely want him to support me…when I come back and make a film here,” he said.


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