Phok Chhay’s Family







Peou Dara Vanthan


A man came to the Documentation Center of Cambodia and asked for documents relating to the cases of Phok Chhay and Phok Ky, Khmer Rouge inmates incarcerated at S-21. He had learned about these persons through the monthly publication, “Searching for the Truth”. His name is Chhay Mongkul Keo, and currently lives in Battambang. He is the nephew and godson of a prisoner of S-21, or “Tuol Sleng”, named Phok Chhay, alias Touch (a summary of whose “confession” was published in “Searching for the Truth”, issues number 5 and 6).


The Documentation Center of Cambodia has been painstakingly preserving and documenting such “confession” documents of victims held at Tuol Sleng, which total fourteen thousand pages, including Phok Chhay’s 81-page document. According to file D349, Phok Chhay, alias Touch, was sent to S-21 on March 14, 1977. After three months and twenty-two days of coerced interrogation, Phok Chhay was executed by Khmer Rouge cadre on July 6, 1977. Cross-checking against another file entitled “list of execution”, prepared by Comrade Hor at S-21, and dated July 7, 1977, reveals the same  information as in file D349. Through this file, I found the name of Phok Chhay alias Touch in the serial number of 123 among the 127 names of people targeted for execution on the same day, July 6, 1977. Before it was decided that Phok Chhay was to be executed, his name had been sent to Angkar for examination and advice. Son Sen, then minister in charge of national security of Democratic Kampuchea, was sent a copy. There is one of Son Sen’s notifications in the Phok Chhay confession. After thorough review, he noted: “A H+CH. already A/K 30/3/77, meaning that ‘already read and sent to Angkar: March 30, 1977’.” From this red note, we can perceive that presumably there may have other people above Son Sen, such as Ieng Sary alias comrade Vann, Khieu Samphan alias comrade Hem and Nuon Chea alias comrade Nuon. For this reason, many confession documents are marked “Comrade Vann”, namely file number J00412, which is the confession of Meak Touch alias Kem, and file number J00451 of Sann Po. The notes “Comrade Vann” may have been written by Comrade Nuon (Nuon Chea) or Comrade Secretary Pol Pot, based on the fact that they are written in a completely different style and pen from the notations by Son Sen (alias Khieu).




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Ten Years of Independently Searching for the Truth: 1997-2007


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