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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ex-KR commander remains on the run

Ex-KR commander remains on the run

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Police say Chhouk Rin and a group of loyal supporters are hiding along the Cambodian-Thai border. A Kampong Trach district commander under the Khmer Rouge, Rin was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a 1994 train ambush.

Police say fugitive Chhouk Rin is hiding on the Cambodian-Thai border and believe

they will apprehend him there soon, despite claims by Rin's wife and doctor that

he stays close to his Phnom Voar home and sometimes sleeps in his own bed.

Kampot Deputy Police Chief In Chiva said he was 60 percent certain of the whereabouts

of Rin's hideout and said the operation to arrest him will be conducted soon.

In February, the Supreme Court upheld a previous conviction on terrorism charges

and a life sentence for Rin's role in a 1994 train attack that resulted in the death

of 13 Cambodians. Three Western backpackers were also kidnapped, held for ransom

and later killed.

Chiva said that after the Supreme Court ruling, Rin had been traveling from place

to place and was now at a province on the Cambodian-Thai border.

"He did not flee alone. He escaped with some of his supporters; we have to be

careful with them," said Chiva.

However, Rin's wife, Yem Sav, said her ailing husband is hiding in the jungle around

his home at Phnom Voar and sometimes stays for one or two nights with the family.

Sav said the 53-year-old former Khmer Rouge commander remained seriously ill and

she traveled to the market everyday to sell fish and vegetables to earn money for

the expensive medicines he requires.

She said Rin had told her to find another husband who can help her and look after

the family but she refused.

"I will live with him until he dies," Sav said.

Ouch Nuon, Rin's doctor and confidante, said Rin is hiding out around Phnom Voar

and his wife regularly asked him to buy medicines for the former Kampong Trach district

commander.

Nuon said Rin is HIV-positive and other diseases, and requires daily medicine.

But news of Rin's frail health was seen by police as proof that they will catch him

easily, despite having failed to apprehend him for six months.

"Police will arrest him soon because they fear that Rin and his followers will

become a group of robbers or kidnappers when they have no food to eat," Chiva

said.

Rin's superiors in the Khmer Rouge military, Nuon Paet and Sam Bith, were also sentenced

to life imprisonment by the court for their involvement in the 1994 train attack,

which occurred on a stretch of rail in southwest Cambodia renowned at the time for

attacks by bad guys.

Paet was arrested in 1998 and is being detaining in Prey Sar prison. Bith is seriously

sick and has been undergoing treatment in the Monivong hospital since being arrested

in 2002.

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