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Witness Phan Van speaks via video link at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday. ECCC
Witness Phan Van speaks via video link at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday. ECCC

Former cadre hazy on details of Phnom Kraol

A former telegram de-coder whose father was killed in murky circumstances during the Democratic Kampuchea regime testified before the Khmer Rouge tribunal about the Phnom Kraol security centre compound yesterday.

Witness Phan Van – the son of the Sector 105 secretary known to some as Laing, and to others as Ham or Chhan – testified via video link from Banteay Meanchey in Case 002/02 against former regime Brother Number 2 Nuon Chea and head of state Khieu Samphan.

Van said that he was located at an office within the K-17 compound in Mondulkiri near Phnom Kraol in 1973, where he decoded secret messages, but in 1974 he became his father’s driver.

After his father’s death in Phnom Penh, allegedly at the hands of fellow Sector 105 cadre Kham Phoun, Van became the driver to Ieng Thirith – the former Khmer Rouge minister of social affairs who was a co-defendant in Case 002 before she was found unfit to stand trial.

Apart from specifying there was a security centre based near Phnom Kraol, Van was unable to give details on alleged purges after 1977, as he was not residing there at that time.

He said his father had wanted to appeal to the Khmer Rouge upper echelon against their order to fight the Vietnamese.

Van later learned Laing’s subordinates “disappeared under the accusation of treason”.

“Those who did not follow the instruction were accused of being internal enemy,” he said.

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