Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - House feud at KR site

House feud at KR site

A man stands at the site of Ta Mok’s house in Oddar Meanchey in September
A man stands at the site of Ta Mok’s house in Oddar Meanchey in September. The government says it will take action against small clusters of unapproved housing being built near the historic site. Shane Worrell

House feud at KR site

Authorities in Oddar Meanchey province have threatened action against people who have built houses on protected land around the former home of late Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok.

Seang Soheng, director of Anlong Veng town’s tourism department, said yesterday that people had cleared and were now living on parts of the 417-hectare tourist site that has Mok’s house as its centrepiece.

“We don’t know who is buying and selling the land,” he said. “But we know that some people are living on it. No one has the right to sell this land.”

The authorities would take measures to resolve the issue, he added, but were not yet sure how.

Mok’s house is situated in forest just out of Anlong Veng town, from which the Khmer Rouge waged a bloody resistance in the 1980s and 1990s.

The house, though basically just a shell now, still contains murals on the walls and other relics of the country’s violent past, including a prison van that sits outside.

A manmade lake surrounds the house, making it popular with locals seeking a place to relax, while a steady trickle of tourists also visits the site.

Ticket seller Sang Saroeung said that a number of people had built wooden and brick houses on parts of the land.

“Some of the land is now surrounded by fences,” he said. “The [government] should investigate.”

Saroeung – who helped build Mok’s house and knew the commander personally – said he believed people with political connections were involved in clearing the land.

“If they did not have connections, they would not live there. No one dares to disturb them,” he said.

The site, Saroeung added, was too important a tourist site for the Kingdom to lose.

Anlong Veng district governor Yim Phanna said he was aware people were living by the property and had told them to move on.

“But the land has not been lost or sold,” he said.

Known as “The Butcher” or “Brother Number Five”, Mok was known for his brutal and bloody massacres. He was close to Pol Pot during his final years.

Mok himself died in custody in July 2006, aged 80, before he could go to trial charged with crimes against humanity.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 foreigners in Cambodia, the bulk being from the UK, have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly them out of the Kingdom. The petition is targeted at 15,000 foreigners. Among them are nearly 200 Europeans, the majority

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman

  • Mysterious century-old structure found at bottom of Angkor pond

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a mysterious 1,000-year-old structure of a wooden building at the bottom of a pond after the Angkor Wat temple’s conservation team completed restoring its northern cave. The deputy director at ANA’s Angkor International Research and Documentation

  • China sends more test kits

    The Ministry of Health has ramped up its preparation to stem the spread of the deadly Covid-19 disease in the Kingdom thanks to help from the Jack Ma and Alibaba foundations which donated 20,000 test kits to the Kingdom. On March 28, Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang