Khmernews

Sam Bith Dies Of Hypertension, Diabetes

Posted by khmernews on February 25, 2008

Phnom Penh: A former Khmer Rouge southwestern regional commander who had been arrested for the kidnapping and slaying of 3 foreigners died in the night of Friday, February 15.
Sam Bith, former Khmer Rouge commander for the southwest, who has been arrested and sentenced to life in prison is claimed to have died of high blood pressure and diabetes.

Rasmei Kampuchea could not contact any source close to Sam Bith on February 16. However, his wife told AFP on Saturday that he had passed away on Friday.

Khem Ry, Sam Bith’s wife, claimed that her husband had been taken to a hospital in Phnom Penh last month for the treatment of his hypertension and diabetes.

Sam Bith, 74, was a former Khmer Rouge military commander stationed in the southwestern region during the civil war against Phnom Penh’s government. He was one of the three people sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder and kidnapping of 3 foreigners from Australia, France, and Britain in 1994. The two other criminals- Nuon Paet and Chhouk Rin- are currently held in prison.

In late 1998, Sam Bith defected to the government officials and was assigned a rank of major general in the military forces until he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

In his trial, Sam Bith tried to deny the responsibilities for the killing of the three foreign backpackers, claiming that he was in a hospital in Thailand when the 3 western tourists were kidnapped and killed and that he was a commander the Khmer Rouge lost faith in and demoted at that time.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, vol. 16, #4518, Sunday-Monday, February 17-18, 2008.

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