Khmernews

Chou Chet, Ta Mok’s Rival

Posted by khmernews on June 21, 2007

During the control of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia was divided into six zones: South-West Zone, Eastern Zone, North-East Zone, Northern Zone, North-West Zone, and ‘Special’ Zone. The Special Zone was the areas around Phnom Penh. This zone was particularly observed by Pol Pot, Ieng Sary and Son Sen.

According to the document from Historian Ben Kiernan, the Special Zone was controlled by Vorn Veth, and Son Sen was his deputy-secretary. The South-West Zone initially included Ta Keo, Kampot, Kompong Chhnang, Koh Kong, and Kompong Speu. Ta Mok was the secretary of this zone. Ta Mok arranged his networks to grab the power very carefully. There were two brother-in-laws, 4 sons, 2 daughters, and 5 son-in-laws. They were all promoted in the district and the region where Ta Mok had been born which called Tram Kak or District 105 in Region 13. Ta Mok’s son-in-law Khae Mut started his work as a secretary of Tram kak district and then held the position as the deputy-secretary of Region 13. Khom, Ta Mok’s daughter, later held the position as the secretary of Tram Kak district in replace with her husband, and another Ta Mok’s daughter called Ho became the chief of Region 13’s hospital.

According to the above diary, Tram Kak was the first district in Cambodia to practice the ideology. Mut and Khom initiated the practice of eating together in the district since May 1973 and were admired by district’s officials for their initiative to create the co-operative eating hall. However, the idea failed later. The failure occurred when the people happened to eat tree leaves and roots. The people stood up and killed the cadres of Region 13. It was only then that the people were allowed to eat by themselves.  Cadres of Region 13 announced to build another city since the old Phnom Penh city would be demolished. Moreover, Ta Mok tried to insinuate his family members to hold positions outside his region by using his network with the Central Committee.

Chou Chet was Ta Mok’s deputy-secretary and was also Ta Mok’s rival. He had been a revolutionary man since 1954. Chou Chet had been imprisoned during Sihanouk era for communist movement.  During mid-1975, South-West Zone was separated between Ta Mok’s and Chou Chet’s. Ta Mok controlled most of the Zone where there were a lot of people such as Ta Keo and Kampot. Chou Chet was the second to be famous and controlled Region 15 and mountainous regions where there were not many plants and people. Those regions included Koh Kong, Kompong Speu, and Kompong Chnang, He received what the Central Committee called the poorest regions where soil was not fertile and where there was scarcely enough water.

Later on, Chou Chet became the secretary of new Western Zone while Pal became his deputy. Ben Soeun was the regional propagandizing commander and a member of regional committee who was in charge of security. Ly, Chou Chet’s wife, held an important position in the Western Zone too. Although they played important roles in this Zone, they didn’t gather their family members to give positions like Ta Mok had done.

Chou Chet lived in a village with small thatch-roofed cottages surrounded by coconut trees and located 2-3 kilometres away in the north of National Road No. 4 in Kompong Speu whilst Ta Mok built for himself a new huge three-floored concrete office on an island in the middle of a lake located in the north of Ta Keo town. Informal Translation, Okar

-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, vol. 15, #4309, Wednesday, June 13, 2007.

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