A Trip to Kampong Chhnang
Mass grave and Memorial
24 March 2010
On March 19, 2010, I took a tuk-tuk from Phnom Penh to the Rolea
Phieat district of Kampong Chhnang province. About 10 kilometers
south southwest of Kampong Chhnang there are half a dozen mass grave
and Khmer Rouge prison sites (40602 to 40608 in the DC-Cam and Yale
database). The estimated total number of victims at the sites in
this small area is between 125,000 and 300,000.
Some of the wealthy surviving relatives of people that died here
built a small memorial in the area a few years ago. It was our first
stop because it was easy to spot as we approached the GPS location
of some of the burial sites. The local people at the memorial that
we talked to said that the relatives were the only people that came
to visit here. They said that as far as they knew, the war crimes
tribunal investigators had not come to the sites. The memorial is in
the close vicinity of site 40604-40606.
In the vicinity of site 40602 there is now a high school on one side
of the road and a pagoda on the other side.
Just off the road south of site 40608 a new temple is being
constructed on the site of an older temple. A few of the local
people guided us through the area around site 40608. They showed us
places with mass graves, where the Khmer Rouge prison used to be, a
tree that they said was used for hangings, and the fragments of
bones that the cows had chewed.
Before we left the area we returned to the small pagoda at the
memorial. My tuk-tuk driver shaved his head and the monks chanted
and blessed him and the tuk-tuk. We had a safe trip back to Phnom
Here are some pictures of whom and what we saw.