Monday, 18.2.2008: Former Khmer Rouge Leader in Phnom Voar Died

Posted on 19 February 2008. Filed under: Week 548 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 548

“Phnom Penh: Mr. Sam Bith, a cruel former Khmer Rouge commander, died in Calmette Hospital after he had been arrested in 2002 over the charge of killing three foreigners and sentenced to life in prison.

“Kim Ry, 56, Mr. Sam Bith’s wife, told Kampuchea Thmey in the morning of 16 February 2008 at the Calmette Hospital that her husband was sent to the hospital more than one month ago, but due to his serious illnesses, he finally died. She also added that her husband’s diseases included high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and a stroke. He could not do anything for the last three years; he became bedridden. He could not walk normally like other people.

“She continued that since her husband had these diseases, he was frequently sent to hospital. Sometimes, he was sent to Monivong Hospital near Phsar Thmey, and sometimes to Calmette Hospital. But because of his grave illnesses, he could not be helped. He finally died at 21:30 on 15 February 2008 in Calmette Hospital. Ms. Khim Ry stated that she has nothing to complain. The death was due to his illness.

“Sam Bith’s daughter, Ms. Bith Rem, 40, who was a former Khmer Rouge commander in the Phnom Voar region of southwest Cambodia, told Kampuchea Thmey that her father was arrested on 25 May 2002 in Battambang and was sentenced to life in prison, charged of murdering three foreigners, but her father did not commit the murders as charged.

“Ms. Bith Rem continued that the arrest of her father occurred while he was an adviser to the Ministry of National Defense, as a Major General, appointed by the Royal Government after the integration [of the final remnants of the Khmer Rouge forces] in 1996. She stated that after the integration in 1996, her father was given a position in the Ministry of National Defense, and he started to work there from that time on. But in 2002, her father was arrested by the government’s forces over the charge of shooting three foreigners.

“Ms. Khim Ry, Sam Bith’s wife, said that she did not remember the date, but she remembers that her husband Sam Bith and herself were married before the Khmer Rouge regime in Damnak Snuol village, Srae Knong commune, Chhuk, Kampot. After the marriage, she had only one daughter, Bith Rem. After the collapse of the Democratic Kampuchea regime, she lived near the Thai border, in Samlot, while her husband continued with the resistance group and was appointed commander in the southwest area of Phnom Voar.

“Regarding to the killing of the three foreigners, she claimed that when they were killed, her husband was in Thailand to have his health checked. He knew nothing. She had also questioned her husband whether he had ordered his subordinates to kill those three foreigners. Her husband had denied this. He did not order it; that is why, when he was arrested, he pushed her to help him to protest.

“It is noted that Sam Bith was arrested by government forces on 25 May 2002 in Sdau village, Sdau commune, Ratank Mondol, Battambang, where Sam Bith and his wife were living, and he was convicted by the court to be imprisoned for life, together with two other Khmer Rouge commanders named Chhouk Rin and Nuon Paet (presently in Prey Sar prison), charged with killing the three foreigners, Mr. David Wilson, Briton, Mr. Mark Slater, Australian, and Mr. Jean Michel Braquet, Frenchman, in 1994, while the three foreigners traveled by train across the Phnom Voar area. Nuon Paet and Chhouk Rin as well as Sam Bith were known as strong Khmer Rouge commanders in the Phnom Voar area. They ordered their subordinates to attack the train almost every day, and finally to kill the three foreigners.

[It is surprising that the present article does not mention that not only three foreigners were killed after having been taken hostage, but also ten Cambodians were killed in the attack on the train – an important aspect of the tragic conflicts of that time, leaving important features of the history obscured. Chouk Rin was later interviewed and gave his own account of the events.]

“An autopsy was conducted on Sam Bith’s body by the competent medical staff, and the family was allowed to take his body to Ratanak Mondol, Battambang, to hold a funeral ceremony. Sam Bith’s wife and daughter were sitting next to the morgue of Calmette Hospital, burning ceremonial papers following Chinese traditional funeral practices, while the body was kept locked in the room of the morgue to avoid that reporters would take pictures. The reporters were just sitting outside, waiting for the time when Sam Bith’s body was brought out to be sent off.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1570, 17-18.2.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 18 February 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #45, 18.2.2008

  • Mr. Keo Remy [vice-president of the Human Rights Party]: Yuon [Vietnamese] Government Cares about and Carries Gifts to Distribute to Yuon Nationals Who Live Illegally in Cambodia
  • Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Which Is Notorious for Corruption, Plans to Seek $170 Million to Operate until 2011
  • Ranariddh Will Have No Chance to Return to Cambodia if He Does Not Beg Strongman Hun Sen
  • If Human Rights Party Wins 2008 Elections, It Will Serve Citizens Without Conditions

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1570, 17-18.2.2008

  • Former Khmer Rouge Leader in Phnom Voar Died
  • Mr. Cheam Channy [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kompong Cham] Denies Leaving the Opposition Party
  • A Japanese Association for International Peace Provides 200 Wheel Chairs to the Cambodian Red Cross
  • Samdech Dekchor Prime Minister Receives INPEX Corporation [from Japan]
  • Forest Crimes in Puok Strong Like a Storm [Siem Reap]
  • [19-year-old] Woman, Whose Parents Did Not Allow Her to Go to Work in Thailand, Committed Suicide [by taking poison – 11 February – Bakan, Pursat]
  • Thousands of Philippine Citizens Demonstrated Demanding [President] Ms. Arroyo Resign [on accusation of serious corruption – 15 February – Manila]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #111, 18.2.2008

  • Son Chhay: Hun Sen Government Can Compare Its Progress Only to Pol Pot Regime

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6274, 18.2.2008

  • US Discusses Debt Owed by Lon Nol Era; General Opinion Says US Should Better Cancel the Debt
  • Ministry of Interior Holds Examination to Select 590 Officials
  • Khmer Students [in Phnom Penh] Help Mr. Chey Mongkol, Teacher of Khmer Language in Surin, Thailand [with money contributions]
  • 50 Young People Fought against Each Other in Banan [with axes and knives: 2 dead and 3 wounded [Battambang]
  • Mr. Putin Affirmed that He Will Become Russian Prime Minister [14 February]
  • Serbia and Russia Warned that They Will Definitely Not Recognize Independence of Kosovo

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3390, 18.2.2008

  • Parliamentarian Ho Vann [Sam Rainsy Party from Phnom Penh] Supports Demand [by workers] for Increase of Salaries for Workers to $80
  • Culture of Irresponsibility Becomes Inheritance from [former] Khmer Rouge Leaders up to Present
  • Yuon [Vietnamese] Government Comes to Distribute Gifts to Immigrants Who Live Illegally in Cambodia When Elections Approach

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1280, 18.2.2008

  • A Military General Wounded a Man’s Foot with a Bullet [after a words’ clash – Dangkao, Phnom Penh]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3250, 17-18.2.2008

  • Leaders of Cambodian People’s Party Government and Their Factional Businesspeople Must Repay Foreign Debts of More than $6 Billion [as they boast about strong economic growths]

Snadai Khmeng Wat, Vol.8, #133, 18-22.2.2008

  • A Journalist [of Snadai Khmeng Wat] Threatened to Be Shot to Death by a Wood Businesswoman [Siem Reap]
  • Cambodian People’s Party Will Win Majority of Votes in 2008; Even Big Brother Number 2 Nuon Chea Praises Leadership of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #623, 17-18.2.2008

  • Government Official [Khieu Kanharith] Gets Angry with US Secretary of State Who Spoke about Facts in Cambodia
  • Khmers in Norway Raise Funds to Help Surin Khmers to Learn the Khmer Language

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