Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Families held over offences: KRT witness

Families held over offences: KRT witness

Audience members at the Khmer Rouge tribunal watch testimony from the public gallery last week. ECCC
Audience members at the Khmer Rouge tribunal watch testimony from the public gallery last week. ECCC

Families held over offences: KRT witness

The wives and children of 18 Mondulkiri men who fled the Khmer Rouge to Vietnam in 1977 were arrested the next day, with some sent to Phnom Penh’s notorious Tuol Sleng prison, the Khmer Rouge tribunal heard yesterday.

Witness Bun Loeng Chauy, 63, said that under the Democratic Kampuchea regime, those with suspected Vietnamese ties were prime targets for arrest as he gave evidence in Case 002/02 against former leaders Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea.

A former bodyguard to his uncle Ka Sy, the district secretary of Keo Seima, Chauy told of how he was arrested and detained near Phnom Kraol security centre in February of 1977 after his uncle was accused of overlooking an “immoral act” committed by a district member.

Ka Sy was also detained in Koh Nhek district before he was taken away and killed, while his relatives and neighbours were also detained, according to Chauy.

Chauy described how 18 men who were part of Ka Sy’s network fled to Vietnam in 1977 when they learned of his execution.

One of them, Sroes Nhon, was chief of the K-16 office in Sector 105. On November 23, 1977, his wife, Kim Hin, was taken to S-21 prison.

Chauy maintained that Kim Hin had done “nothing” to warrant arrest and was captured because of her husband.

“If the husband [was] accused of betrayal, the wife and children would not be spared,” he said.

However, Nuon Chea defender Victor Koppe objected to the prosecution’s line of questioning, saying it was “incomplete” to define Kim Hin simply as the wife of Nhon when she and other women were primarily listed as combatants on the S-21 records.

“It’s a bit sexist, actually,” Koppe said. “To say they were arrested only as wives . . . is incorrect. It seems they were arrested because they were combatants.”

Chauy said he was sent to a worksite – where he said he was not allowed to leave, but was not physically restrained – that passed by the Trapeang Pring execution site. He saw what appeared to be bulldozed burial pits but did not witness executions.

Chauy also recalled how, in 1974, when he was harvesting rice, his weapon and those of other bodyguards were taken away in anticipation of a visit by 002/02 co-defendant Khieu Samphan.

“I was told they did not trust us since he had his own bodyguards,” Chauy said. “I saw the car convoy, but I didn’t see him.”

A previous version of this article stated that witness Bun Loeng Chauy and his uncle Ka Sy were detained at Phnom Kraol security centre. In fact, they were detained at another site near the centre.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival draws to close

    Cambodia's 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival wrapped up successfully on November 28 after a four-day run, with the film “Voice of the Night” awarded top prize for 2022. Sum Sithen, the organiser of the short film festival, told The Post that the number of attendees to the