Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KR civilians tell of life on Phnom Vour




KR civilians tell of life on Phnom Vour

KR civilians tell of life on Phnom Vour

P HNOM LAO, Kampong Trach - Kampot. Dragging pigs, bullocks and dogs, with radio cassettes and televisions in their wooden carts, hundred of Khmer Rouge civilians came down from their mountain stronghold.

They didn't talk about war and terrorism - they talked about a peaceful life growing rice and corn and bananas.

Civilians who lived for years under General Noun Paet smiled for cameras and talked to journalists for the first time.

They defected and left their villages in droves when government forces, with the crucial help of rebel soldiers, captured their base - which even the Vietnamese couldn't capture when they invaded in 1979.

"I have to come down the mountain to surrender to the government... it was heavy shelling from Saturday early morning to night," said Seb Rith, a Khmer Rouge civilian.

On Wednesday morning Oct 26, two days after the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) took the base, 216 families clambered down from the mountain.

The defectors were coy about talking of their military and terrorist activities to reporters at the RCAF base. But they were more forthcoming about their everyday lifestyle.

Lam Kol, a Khmer Rouge resident, described his life and experience on the mountain.

He said he lived for 14 years in Prey Vi village about two kilometers southeast of Phnom Vour with his wife and three children.

He said led a peaceful life of rural bliss under the guerrillas and had not taken up arms for them.

" My family has lived in happiness. I grew rice, corns, sesames, soybeans, bananas , papayas and green beans to support my family," Kol said.

He said every day during the past year he sold his products to villagers living under Royal Government control in Kampong Trach district.

Those villagers always came to Prey Pi to buy my products, he said.

He said that on the mountain there were small, simple markets.

"In each store, I saw flashlight batteries, flip-flops, shoes, boots, sausages, dried fish, smoked fish, fish paste, salt, garlic, chili, pepper, soy sauce, cigarettes and sugar on sale."

"These things were sold in Kampong Trach for money."

He said most families on the mountain had cassettes, radios and televisions - brought from government-controlled villagers - that could receive IBC and TVK broadcasts.

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,