During the French colonial days, the French built a big prison in the middle of Phnom
By doing so, the French had an aim to bring contempt to the local Khmers.
After the French granted independence to Cambodia in 1953 the big prison remained
there with no body caring for it. For a couple of regimes, the big prison has still
been capable of accommodating thieves and robbers as usual. Only administrative systems
have been changing
During the colonial period, all jail birds had to get up at 5 o'clock in the morning
to take Buddhist prayer, which made some town folks even confuse it with an abandoned
Every Buddhist Saints day, there was a program that monks were invited to deliver
Buddhist sermons to the birds at 8 p.m.
The goal birds, whose heads were entirely shaved, had a uniform of blue short sleeved
shirts and blue shorts. They ate red rice.
When under the control of the Khmers, they wore mixed uniform, with normal hair,
eating white rice. But the birds staged a hunger strike, refusing to eat white rice.
They said white rice make them suffer from numbness and asked for red rice.
During the '80s, under the Vietnamese colonial rule, this thieves' hotel was called
"T3" or "Tu3", a Vietnamese term for "prison 3" we
didn't know what was happening inside the hotel, but we just knew that all the birds
were chained one to another while sleeping.
Now, we people would like to suggest the new government to move this prison to another
place out of town. We feel a lot of shame when tourists see it.
We think that it would look better to turn the prison to a state building or something
But please don't convert it into a hotel. No tourists will sleep in it, because people
might confuse them with jail birds.
- Translation from Meatophoum Sep. 28