Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Blow by blow - six weeks of drama

Blow by blow - six weeks of drama

Blow by blow - six weeks of drama

May 16: Long Sarin, Funcinpec second secretary of the Cambodian Embassy in

Bangkok, visits Anlong Veng to meet with KR chiefs Tep Khunnal and Pech Bunreth.

(Revealed weeks later by Nhek Bun Chhay.)

May 19: Prince Ranariddh says, in a speech, he has been told of Khieu Samphan's

intention to form a political party. Hun Sen, in a speech the same day, warns against

any "political alliance" that would permit a KR return to politics.

May 21: Khieu Samphan, on KR radio from Anlong Veng, pledges his new National

Soliditary Party's support for the Funcinpec-initated National United Front of parties.

May 23: Ranariddh tells reporters that if Khieu Samphan gets a Royal amnesty

and wants to join the National United Front, "I don't have any choice but to

simply say yes".

May 25: Nhek Bun Chhay (he says later) secretly goes to Anlong Veng, meeting

mid-level guerrilla leaders.

June 1: Nhek Bun Chhay again visits Anlong Veng, meeting Khieu Samphan.

Around this time, Ranariddh meets Khieu Samphan in an undisclosed location, according

to a subsequent admission by Ranariddh.

June 2: Nhek Bun Chhay ignites the controversy by publicly claiming a deal

has been struck for KR chiefs Pol Pot, Ta Mok and Son Sen to go into exile, clearing

the way for remaining hardline KR - including its "prime minister" Khieu

Samphan - to defect to the government.

June 4: Nhek Bun Chhay claims the three KR leaders have already left Cambodia,

being granted political asylum in an unspecified country.

June 5: Hun Sen warns Khieu Samphan against any return to Phnom Penh, saying

people would "hack" him with knives.

June 7: An unidentified announcer on KR radio, claiming to speak on behalf

of Khieu Samphan, denies any negotiations with the government.

June 9: King Norodom Sihanouk, from Beijing, issues a statement saying

that he will never grant amnesties to Pol Pot and Ta Mok, the "biggest criminals

in the history of Cambodia". He leaves open the prospect of amnesties for Son

Sen, Khieu Samphan and fellow KR chief Nuon Chea if both Prime Ministers agreed.

Pol Pot reportedly calls a meeting of the KR leadership late at night, which Son

Sen does not attend.

June 10: Son Sen, his wife Yun Yat and other family members are purportedly

killed in the early hours.

June 11: Khieu Samphan, on KR radio, declares that Son Sen and his wife

have been arrested. He condemns the pair for running a "spy network of communist

Vietnam and puppet Hun Sen ... to split and destroy" the rebels' "liberated


June 11 or 12: Bun Chhay visits Anlong Veng and his bodyguards purportedly

photograph the bodies of Son Sen and 11 relatives.

June 12: The Bangkok Post reports that Pol Pot, Son Sen and Ta Mok are

in Thailand, en route to exile in China. The paper cites Cambodian sources but says

the information could not be confirmed. In Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman

says: "There is no question of giving him [Pol Pot] or anybody else from that

organization political asylum."

In Phnom Penh, Ranariddh says he has sent military officials to a meeting with Khieu

Samphan, organized with the help of a "friendly" country.

June 13: KR radio falls silent. Phnom Penh officials claim intelligence

reports of fighting in Anlong Veng. Ranariddh announces that Son Sen, Yun Yat and

10 others were slaughtered on Pol Pot's orders in the early hours of June 10, and

ailing Pol Pot, fled the area with Khieu Samphan as a hostage.

June 14: Nhek Bun Chhay, at a Phnom Penh press conference, produces glossy,

enlarged photographs said to show the bodies of Son Sen, Yun Yat and other family

members. Bun Chhay says Pol Pot and up to 300 loyal fighters have escaped to about

20km east of Anlong Veng, and Nuon Chea, Ta Mok and Khieu Samphan are being held

hostage by Pol Pot, as well as British deminer Christopher Howes, kidnapped in March

1996. Some 1,000 KR troops who had "defected" to the government were in

pursuit of Pol Pot, Bun Chhay says, adding that he wants the government to give them


Hun Sen opposes such assistance, saying that the government should watch the "two

tigers" - the KR factions - fight. Hun Sen says he doesn't believe Khieu Samphan

or Nuon Chea are hostages of Pol Pot.

Thailand's army chief, General Chetta Thanajaro, denies Pol Pot is in Thailand and

says "he is not welcome here". Chetta urges news media to take caution

in their reporting, saying that many reports out of Cambodia could be politically


June 15: A spokesman for the Democratic National United Movement - former

KR guerrillas who defected to the government last year with former KR foreign minister

Ieng Sary - tells Reuters he is skeptical of the 'Pol Pot on the run' reports. DNUM

will not get involved in negotiations with Anlong Veng, he says.

June 16: Pol Pot should be caught dead or alive within two days, Ranariddh

says, citing information from Nhek Bun Chhay. Anti-Pol Pot guerrillas had intercepted

a convoy heading for the Thai border, stopping 6 of the 10 trucks, Ranariddh says.

Six senior KR - Chan Youran, Mak Ben, Tiuon Tioeun, Tep Khunnal, Pech Bunreth and

Kor Bun Heng - were freed but Pol Pot was still holding Khieu Samphan, Ranariddh

says. Ta Mok had "disappeared", he says, adding that he believed that Ta

Mok was "against Pol Pot". British deminer Christopher Howes is purportedly

with Pol Pot loyalists. An unspecified number of KR guerrillas were ready to formally

defect by June 18, Ranariddh says. "If someone does not accept this, I will

accept this in my capacity as First Prime Minister and co-Commander in Chief [of

the army]," he says in apparent reference to Hun Sen.

In a surprise revelation, Ranariddh says he met Khieu Samphan and two of his associates

three weeks ago, but refuses to provide details.

Hun Sen, in a speech, declares negotiations with Khieu Samphan to be illegal. Hun

Sen calls for arrest and trial of KR leaders and disputes that Khieu Samphan has

split from Pol Pot. Alleging a conspiracy to allow the rebels to enter politics,

Hun Sen says: "The Khmer Rouge is dead militarily, but someone wants the Khmer

Rouge to survive politically. No way."

June 17: After 4-day silence, KR radio begins broadcasting again, delivering

an unprecendented denouncement of Pol Pot. An unidentified announcer accuses Pol

Pot of committing acts of treason between June 9-14. The radio statement says the

matter was "resolved" on June 14 but does not elaborate. It pledges the

support of Khieu Samphan's government and party to the National United Front, and

speaks of joining all "national forces" in the struggle against Vietnam

and its "lackey" Hun Sen.

Ranariddh says he hopes that Pol Pot will be taken alive and sent to an international

court. Ta Mok had split from Pol Pot and disappeared, he says. Ranariddh specifically

rules out amnesty for either of the two.

Visiting United Nations human rights representative Thomas Hammarberg tells a Phnom

Penh press conference that both Prime Ministers will likely ask the UN to convene

an international tribunal to try Pol Pot and others.

Thai army chief General Chetta Tanajaro says he believes Pol Pot is still in Cambodia

and would be arrested if he enters Thailand.

June 18: The Nation newspaper, Bangkok, reports that Pol Pot had been offered

two choices: permanent exile or "safe haven" in Cambodia's north. Long

Sarin of the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok had given this information to former Thai

prime minister Chatichai Choonhavan, the newspaper said, citing unidentified source.

Within hours, the Cambodian Embassy issues a statement denying the report.

Hun Sen delivers an ultimatum to Ranariddh: "I give you a few days to decide

whether to carry on to work in the coalition government or go to work with the government

of Democratic Kampuchea [the KR] led by Khieu Samphan." In apparent reference

to Ranariddh's admission that he met Khieu Samphan, Hun Sen says: "This is a

betrayal that cannot be accepted."

The US State Department in Washington publicly says that the US "would be gravely

concerned if senior Khmer Rouge leaders were permitted to play a role in Cambodian

national politics or permitted to retain administrative control over areas occupied

by Khmer Rouge defectors."

KR radio delivers a bombshell: Pol Pot has surrendered to his former comrades. "The

darkness of the Khmer rouge regime of Pol Pot which has hung over Cambodia since

1975... now the Cambodian people have destroyed it completely." The Associated

Press reports Nhek Bun Chhay also says Pol Pot has surrendered.

June 19: Ranariddh says Pol Pot has not been found. He expresses surprise

at Bun Chhay's comments, saying the general had not informed him of the surrender

of Pol Pot. Ranariddh says that Pol Pot was left with only 5-10 loyalists, and the

remaining KR are trying to capture him.

Hun Sen tells reporters: "Pol Pot is the top leader of the Khmer Rouge. Pol

Pot betrayed who? Pol Pot surrendered to who? This is a political game by Ta Mok,

Khieu Samphan and Pol Pot and some people in Phnom Penh."

Nhek Bun Chhay arrives by helicopter from an unspecified location, possibly Anlong

Veng. Bun Chhay tells the Post that Pol Pot has not yet surrendered but wants to

"defect". "We will not refuse," he says. Asked what would happen

to Pol Pot, Bun Chhay says: "Let him come first and then we will think about

that." Pol Pot is with less than 100 soldiers, and about 15 personal bodyguards,

he says.

June 20: KR radio claims a meeting of 3,000 people in Anlong Veng was held

this morning, attended by leadership of the KR provisional government. In a "panel

discussion" of senior officials, including Chan Youran, Mak Ben and Tep Khunnal,

Pol Pot is roundly condemned. Khieu Samphan does not feature in the discussion but

he is referred to as leader of the provisional government.

June 21: Thai Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh arrives in Phnom Penh

for a one-day visit, scheduled before the Anlong Veng drama. Chavalit's only direct

comment to reporters on the subject is that he had "received confirmed reports

from reliable intelligence sources...which should help solve the Cambodian problem

to a certain extent."

After Chavalit meets the co-Prime Ministers, Ranariddh tells reporters that Pol Pot

has been captured. "The source is me," he says when asked what evidence

he has. "One day we will bring you to see him." He adds: "Hun Sen

and I agree that Pol Pot will be brought... eventually to Phnom Penh" and should

face an international trial. Ranariddh says Khieu Samphan was with Pol Pol but does

not say whether Samphan will also face trial. Of Ta Mok's whereabouts, Ranariddh

says "we have to check further but...to be frank, Pol Pot is the most important


Hun Sen tells reporters: "This morning the First Prime Minister has informed

me Pol Pot and Khieu Samphan have been arrested." The pair should be brought

to Phnom Penh and sent to an international trial, he says.

The PMs sign a letter to the UN Secretary-General seeking assistance "in bringing

to justice those persons responsible for the genocide and crimes against humanity"

during the KR regime. "Only in this way can this tragedy be brought to a full

or final conclusion," the letter ends.

Funcinpec Minister of Interior You Hockry says Pol Pot should be kept in Anlong Veng

because "jails are more secure there" and he might be killed if brought

to Phnom Penh.

June 22: Hun Sen says he had received a report that Pol Pot was dead. He

also explains his version of what Ranariddh had said about Pol Pot's capture: "He

said 'I heard it from someone who heard it from someone else." Hun Sen says:

"Now I temporarily believe that Pol Pot has been arrested and died. I take it

as a temporary belief..." Hun Sen also casts doubt on whether Son Sen had really

been killed.

Nhek Bun Chhay returns from Anlong Veng, telling journalists that he saw Pol Pot.

"He is still alive, but I did not take a photo... I did not ask Pol Pot anything.

I only saw him sitting in his house. He is very old. I think very soon maybe he will

given to the government." Bun Chhay says he also saw Nuon Chea, who he said

was sicker than Pol Pot, and Ta Mok. Bun Chhay says Khieu Samphan plans a press conference

in KR-held Preah Vihear temple to announce the end of the KR provisional government

and declare support for the Constitution of Cambodia.

June 25: Ranariddh says he wants to send one or two journalists to Anlong

Veng to take photographs of Pol Pot.


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