OFFICIALS in Anlong Veng, the last bastion of the Khmer Rouge regime, on Tuesday unveiled details of their plans to develop the district into a tourist attraction, an initiative that was given formal approval by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Hun Sen late last week.
Peuy Saroeun, the deputy governor of Anlong Veng, said officials had submitted a plan to the Council of Ministers calling for the refurbishment of 21 homes belonging to Khmer Rouge leaders and other cadre, as well as warehouses where munitions were stashed.
He said the homes identified in the plan belonged to regime leaders such as Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, head of state Khieu Samphan and Ta Mok, the Central Committee member whose former compound in Anlong Veng is currently an attraction administered by the Ministry of Tourism.
“We have plans to transform 21 houses and also the warehouses where the Khmer Rouge stored munitions into historical tourist sites,” Peuy Saroeun said.
He added that all of the homes were located within 1 kilometre of the Chom border crossing with Thailand.
Hun Sen’s Cabinet on Friday signed a sub-decree giving a green light to the development of the former stronghold, saying it would allow “national and international guests to visit and understand the last political leadership of the genocidal regime”.
The premier has asked Cabinet officials to compile a guidebook to the area that includes a description of his “win-win policy” to defeat the Khmer Rouge.
Peuy Saroeun said the specifics of the plan from the Anlong Veng officials had not been approved, and that he could not provide information about how much the plan would cost, or where the necessary funds would come from.
Kong Sophearak, director of the Ministry of Tourism’s Statistics and Tourism Information Department, said he did not know about the plan and could not say when it might be approved, but said that the development of Anlong Veng would serve to diversify Cambodia’s tourist attractions.
“We do not just have temples for them to visit – we have other things,” he said.