Over 10,000 People Died When The Khmer Rouge Evacuated them From Phnom Penh

Posted by khmernews on June 21, 2007

According to a research conducted by Historian Ben Kiernan, at least 10,600 people died on April 17-18, 1975 when the Khmer Rouge evacuated people from Phnom Penh.

A New Zealander statistician told Kiernan that there had been 1.3 million people living in Phnom Penh in February 1975. Kiernan interviewed 36 of 100 victims who were forced to leave Phnom Penh in April 1975 about their family members and the separation of their families. Those people said that they had traveled out of Phnom Penh around two or three, some even 4 weeks until they arrived at the location where the Khmer Rouge made them to stay. Only two people said that they had traveled less than one week. In the interview, around ten families said that they had to walk and carry things on the head, shoulder, back and hip more than one month.

He claimed that amongst ‘those’ people, 2 died and it is equal to 0.53 per cent. The conclusion can be drawn that amongst nearly 2 million people who had been evacuated from Phnom Penh, around 10,600 people died. Hul Yem, who traveled 48 kilometres southward from Phnom Penh, described that he saw around 20 children and some old people die when he was traveling through the crowded streets for two weeks. Hul Yem said that he didn’t only see people die of tiredness and diseases, but also witnessed the Khmer Rouge kill two victims who had refused to give them their motor bike.

Kiernan assumes that there were around 20,000 people, especially Lon Nol’s officials and soldiers, killed during the evacuation by shooting death and ‘mass’ evacuation.

However, this is only the number of the dead during the evacuation of the people from Phnom Penh, left alone the killings and starvation to death in the labour camps. In provinces, the people were also evacuated like in Phnom Penh as well, depending on whether they had been liberated before or after Phnom Penh.

‘Sihanouk Ville was an important city which was collapsed on April 18, 1975.’

Khmer Rouge soldiers shouted on the loudspeakers, “Everyone must leave their home in 3 days time to avoid the bombing of the US.” Engineer Ung Pich left the airport with his colleagues. They were driving in 5 cars full of goods and foods. They had expected that they would arrive at Phnom Penh. However, they had been stopped by Khmer Rouge soldiers and their cars were taken away. Their goods and foods were also confiscated. They were left to walk on their feet. The Khmer Rouge soldiers who controlled the ‘evacuation’ were as strict as those in Phnom Penh too. They shot dead people who did against their order.

Samorn, a then student at Prey Veng High School, was evacuated from her house by Khmer Rouge soldiers pointing their gun at her. She said that for some people who had resisted leaving their houses, the Khmer Rouge would bomb their houses to kill them.   

Samorn said that the patients in Prey Veng Hospital were also evacuated from the hospital, and some patients who could not walk were unmercifully killed by the Khmer Rouge. Okar

(Informal Translation)
-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, vol. 15, #4303, Wednesday, June 6, 2007 .


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