Phnom Malai and the Khmer Rouge

Phnom Malai and the Khmer Rouge

Phnom Malai is one of the most important areas related to the Khmer Rouge, their insurgency and later reintegration into society. It is particularly important to the family of Solath Sar, more famously known as Pol Pot.

It is located in Banteay Meanchey Province near the border between Cambodia and Thailand and nearby the main border town of Poipet.

Refugees Camps of Thailand

Following the war between Cambodia and Vietnam many Cambodians became refugees, particularly in Aranyaprathet on the other side of the Thai border.

Many of these were forced back into Cambodia by western forces led by Thailand on order to “fight”, whether they liked it or not for the Khmer Rouge. Many of these ended up in Phnom Malai.

Phnom Malai and the Khmer Rouge

By 1981 Phnom Malai became a hotbed of the Khmer Rouge insurgency receiving overt weapons and money from China and Thailand, whilst covertly receiving it from the United States.

It was also during this period that the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea was formed thereby giving the area some degree of “free zone” recognition.

Pol Pot also lived here during this time, where he made a number of statements abolishing himself from guilt during the Killing Fields. He also married Mea Son here with whom he had a daughter one year later.

The Communist Party of Kampuchea was also renamed the Party of Democratic Kampuchea led by Khieu Samphan. In 195 the area was briefly overrun by Peoples Republic of Kampuchean forces. After this the Khmer Rouge capital was moved to Pailin and later Anlong Veng.

Phnom Malai in later years

After the death of Pol Pot his wide fled with his former aide Tep Khunnal and her daughter who at the time was known as Mea Sith.

Following her studies she renamed herself after her father to Sar Patchata. The family are all still in Phnom Malai and apparently live a luxuries life.

You can read about the Family of Pol Pot here.