Searching for a Missing Father







Hi Youk,


Thanks for answering my request. Odam, Samnath, Vanthang and I are always in touch. They all are married with kids now; time flies so fast, doesn’t it? I have been following your work from the start, but I didn’t want to disturb you until now.


How are you and your family? It has been nearly 15 years now since we parted in Thailand. I talked to Hong Song Dara (construction in KID); he told me you were also in Cambodia with UNTAC, but for some reason, we never crossed paths in that one-year period. Where were you and with what component?


My father’s name was Korn Ty Chheang, but in Pol Pot time he changed it to Lim Chor to avoid detection. However, they still found him in 1977. My father was born in Takeo in 1929 and joined the French Colonial Army around 1948. He was stationed in Thmar Pech, Kampong Cham province until the French left and Cambodia gained independence. He was later transferred to Kampong Speu and then to Phnom Penh after the coup in 1970. He was a major in the Artillery Division.


After Pol Pot entered Phnom Penh, we went to his hometown in Takeo province, and later were put on the train to Sisophon. My family was “distributed” to Bos-sbov village in Phnom Srok district in late 1975. There, my father still went by the name of Lim Chor, hoping that no one knew his background. But unfortunately, there were people from his home town who knew him and were sent to the same village with us. To gain favor from the village leadership, they reported my father’s army background to the district security chief. However, with luck and hard work, my father managed to hang on until March or April of 1977. One night around 10:00, according to my mother, the group leader came to the hut and called him see the village chief for a meeting. My mother knew right away that this must be the end, but dared not to ask or do anything. My sisters and I were in the fields at that time. My father never returned. Thereafter, we were warned to shut up and forced to take double workloads every day.


A few weeks later, I was told that my father was seen in Phnom Srok, the district capital,  which is about 5 km from Bos-Sbov. But back then, there were all kinds of rumors and it was hard to verify because, as you know, you could only whisper to close friends.


I know that there is almost no chance that my father is still alive, but I just want to get a sense of closure on this ordeal. Moreover, after reading Issue 9 of your magazine (September 2000) on Mass Graves in Banteay Meanchey, I hope that there may be some documents or witnesses that can shed some light on what happened to my father, especially Mr. Chhum Ruom, a deputy district governor and former prisoner in Phnom Srok, who was interviewed by your magazine. Maybe he can help if we can contact him.

Youk, thank you very much for your kind attention in this search and if you need anything, just let me know.



Ly La




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