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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rebels' money still a mystery

Rebels' money still a mystery

One of the great mysteries of the Khmer Rouge is how much money they have and where

it is.

The Khmer Rouge papers contain some supposed revelations about the finances of Pol

Pot, Son Sen and Ta Mok, but they don't provide balance sheets, bank statements or

audited accounts.

The agenda for the meeting on June 25 last year said that the KR had only 3 million

baht left.

The agenda also says that Pol Pot spent $20 million that belonged to Ta [Mok].

In a September 12 meeting the head of the KR standing committee, Nhorn, said that

Pol Pot had accumulated $54 million spread over three bank accounts, each one containing

$18 million.

In six other bank accounts there was another 90 million baht, plus he had 20 kg of

gold and about 200 million baht worth of precious stones.

Meanwhile, Son Sen's finances were also opened for scrutiny, if possibly a biased

one. Nhorn claimed that Sen, the former DK Defence Minister under Pol Pot before

his lethal purging, had 20 million baht and $10 million and, like Pol Pot, he had

invested in precious stones. The value of the gems was not specified.

Perhaps most surprising, there are no criticisms recorded during the meetings about

the large amounts of money held by individuals, even that owned by Pol Pot, who by

that time was an outcast. However, there were dire warning for leaders who involved

themselves with property logging or similar money-making activities - they would

be stripped of their position.

There was criticism of Hun Sen's financial dealings.

Cadre accused him of making substantial sums of money out of illegal activities like

logging and drug dealing.

They also accused him of "begging" in the international community for money

for the election, and of "making sure that everyone who wanted to join the election

has 10 million riel already in their pocket".

One KR cadre lamented that things were getting so bad in Anlong Veng that if anyone

gave one of her people 1000 baht they would "surrender to the donor".

The problem with members being induced away by cash or gifts was one a number of

leaders at the meetings complained of.

One undated entry records a cadre saying that the fighting which had disrupted the

farmers' growing cycle left some of them poor and starving.

"The liberated zone is facing food shortages because this is the growing season.

We fought the enemy. The people will have no food to eat. At Chong Kal, Srey Snam,

people are having K'dourch (a tuber found in the forest) instead of rice,"

he said.

Another member said that people had asked permission to forage for food but it had

been denied.

"We must find solutions to the food supply problem in order to keep their belief,"

the cadre said.

However Tem, the member of the permanent committee in charge of the army, indicated

he was more worried about more earthy matters pulling the people away.

He said that members may fall under the sway of money, prostitution and alcohol.

The wealth of the proletariat was constantly and specifically scrutinized throughout

the documents.

There were recordings of the exact numbers of, for example, spoons and bowls owned

by each commune.

In one example, there was a complete inventory of the number of fruit still growing

on communal trees, such a pineapples, coconuts and guavas.



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