Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tuol Sleng photographer begins building Khmer Rouge museum

Tuol Sleng photographer begins building Khmer Rouge museum

Tuol Sleng photographer begins building Khmer Rouge museum

A FORMER photographer at the notorious Khmer Rouge prison Tuol Sleng said Thursday that he had begun construction on a museum to house his collection of regime memorabilia, including what he says are Pol Pot’s shoes and toilet.

Nhem En said Thursday that the 7-by-25-metre structure – located in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district, of which he is deputy governor – will be completed in “two or two and a half months”, and will cost about US$15,000. Construction began last Friday, he said.

He added, though, that the museum will be “temporary”, and that he has plans for a grander facility to be located on 50 hectares of land he has bought and cleared in the district.

“For the first step, we are just building the temporary museum to exhibit photos of Khmer Rouge activities’ leaders, Pol Pot’s shoes and cameras that I used in the regime,” he said. “So far I have no sponsors. All the money I am spending is my own pocket money that I have earned from selling rice crops.”

Last July, Nhem En sought financial backing from the World Monuments Fund, a US-based organisation that supports the preservation of historic sites. He said Thursday that he never received a response.

Prior to submitting that request, Nhem En made a splash in April 2009 when he announced plans to sell Pol Pot’s shoes and some of the cameras he used at Tuol Sleng for $500,000. After no buyers emerged, he said in May that he would sell all of his Khmer Rouge memorabilia for $1 million. That, too, was unsuccessful.

Even though the museum is now being built, he said Thursday that he would still be willing to sell the items for $1 million.

The Council of Ministers in March approved a draft of a sub-decree allowing for tourism development in Anlong Veng, a former regime stronghold that fell to government forces in 1998. Oddar Meanchey governor Pich Sokhin said Thursday that the development work would include renovated roads, “standardised” guesthouses and more restaurants.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said