Some 10,000 died once Khmer Rouge evacuated people from Phnom Penh

Posted by khmernews on May 25, 2009

By O’ka

At least 10,600 people died on 17-18 April 1975 once Khmer Rouge evacuated the people from Phnom Penh, according to historian Ben Kiernan’s research document.

Early February 1975, a New Zealand statistic expert told Ben Kiernan that there were an estimated 1,300,000 populations in Phnom Penh. Amongst 100 victims whom Khmer Rouge evacuated from Phnom Penh in April 1975, Ben Kiernan interviewed around 36 victimizing family members about the deaths during traveling. The interviewees said they were traveling from Phnom Penh for about two, three, or four weeks to reach Khmer Rouge-assigned housings. Only two people were traveling less than one week. Ten family members were traveling for more than a month on foot, by carrying their belongings with them. He claimed that two of them died if calculated in percent – 0.53%. So it can be concluded that 10,600 out of almost 2,000,000 populations leaving Phnom Penh lost their lives. Hul Yem, traveling at 48 kilometers from Phnom Penh towards the south, said he saw some 20 children and other older people die during two-week long crowded journey. Hul Yem added beside seeing those who died of hungers, diseases, and exhaustions, he saw Khmer Rouge soldiers shooting two people to deaths with his eyes once the victims denied handing in their motorcycles. Ben Kiernan concluded that up to 20,000 Lon Nol’s civil servants and soldiers were targeted in the shooting and large-scale evocations.

This is the figure showing the people killed during evacuation from Phnom Penh only, regardless the killing and starvations when reaching cooperatives. There were also evacuations in other provinces across the country like in Phnom Penh, but the evacuations were done based on any province liberation before or after Phnom Penh.

Sihanoukville, a key city, felt on 18 April 1975. Khmer Rouge soldiers shouted via speakers, “Everyone must leave your home within three days to escape American bombing.”

Engineer Ung Pech left airport with his co-workers. They had five cars carrying their belongings and food. They expected to arrive in Phnom Penh. But on half way, Khmer Rouge soldiers stopped them and confiscated their cars, belongings and food and then allowed them to walk. Khmer Rouge soldiers who controlled the evacuated people were strict like in Phnom Penh and shot to deaths those who rejected orders.

Samorn, student in Prey Veng province’s secondary school, was evacuated from her house by Khmer Rouges, pointing gun at her. She said that when people denied leaving, their houses were destroyed by bomb thrown in Khmer Rouges. Samorn added patients at Prey Veng’s hospital were also forced to leave and that any patients who could not walk, they faced the killing.

Unofficial Translation
Extract from the Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol 17, #4890, Sunday-Monday, 10-11 May 2009.


One Response to “Some 10,000 died once Khmer Rouge evacuated people from Phnom Penh”

  1. Jeremy said

    Interesting stuff.

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