Khmer Rouge tribunal witness Riel Son yesterday testified about trading pigs and gold with the Vietnamese for medical supplies, watches and other goods during the Democratic Kampuchea regime.
With money abolished under Pol Pot’s ultra-Maoist administration, Riel Son, the former deputy chief of Takeo province’s Tram Kak district hospital during the Khmer Rouge period, said he was instructed by superiors to barter for necessary goods with the Vietnamese.
“This happened on two occasions,… First, I bartered for medical supplies with pigs, and for the second round, I bartered with gold,” he said, adding that the gold and pigs were supplied by southwest zone leader Ta Mok.
In 1975 and 1976, Son also collected gold from cadres to buy watches, cloth and hammocks for soldiers. However, trading stopped when the relationship between the countries soured, he said.
During his third and last day of testimony, Son also recalled witnessing the stripping naked of defendant Khieu Samphan by police in Phnom Penh in 1960, which was ordered by Sihanouk-regime authorities as a reprisal for attacks on the administration by Samphan’s leftist publication L’Obsevateur.
“I saw a crowd of people, including the rickshaw drivers, and I asked the people there what happened, and they said that Khieu Samphan was being stripped naked.… There were hundreds of rickshaw drivers.… and the rickshaw drivers, some of them offered him a scarf to cover his body,” he said.
Son also expanded on the defrocking of 100 monks at Ang Roka pagoda in Tram Kak.
In earlier testimony, he recalled a car brought black clothes to replace the monks’ robes. Yesterday, he described how the head monk was attacked after beating a drum to call villagers to protest.
“There was an elderly man who beat the monk with a club. I thought he joked when he beat the monk, but the monk said it hurt,” he said.
Prior to wrapping up, the chamber ruled to adjourn hearings between April 6 and 9 to give parties more time to read 226 witness statements recently submitted to the case file from investigations into cases 003 and 004.
With the reserve witness suffering health problems, judges adjourned proceedings against former Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan until Monday.