A Change of Guard

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Friday, 7 December 2007

A Short Biography of Pol Pot

Picture: Pin Samkhon (right) interviewing Pol Pot (left) in Anlong Veng on the 2nd of April 1998.

A Short Biography of Pol Pot

Salot Sar, alias, Pol Pot, was born into a well to do landowner family on 19th May 1925 in Prek Sbov village, Kampong Thom province. When he was young he became a temple boy for six years before matriculating Kampong Cham College where he met Khieu Samphan, who had also studied there. After Kampong Cham college he studied carpentry at Phnom Penh technical college for one year and in 1949 he received a scholarship to study radio electronics in France.
Pol Pot joined an anti-French movement under Ho Chi Minh leadership in the 1940s. In 1946 he joined the Communist Party of Cambodia. During his studies in France from 1949-1953 Pol Pot had participated actively in the French revolutionary movement. Upon returning to Cambodia he became a teacher at a private college called Chamroeun Vichea. In 1963, along with Ieng Sary, Son Sen and other leftists, he fled to the jungle after the authority wanted him arrested for his communist and anti-government activities.
Pol Pot became secretary of the Communist Party of Cambodia in 1963 after Tou Samouth, the former secretary, mysteriously disappeared. He held this position until 1975. After the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975 he was elected prime minister of the Khmer Rouge regime from 1976-1979, in a sham and fraudulent election.
When the Vietnamese invading forces toppled the Khmer Rouge regime on the 7th of January 1979 Pol Pot and his cliques fled the Khmer-Thai borders and established his guerrilla bases there. In 1985 he was stripped off all of his political and military roles .
Pol Pot was arrested in mid 1997 after an internal fighting between forces loyal to him and forces loyal to Ta Mok. Shortly after his arrest he was tried by the Khmer Rouge “people’s court”, in a farcical show trial to showcase the international communist. He died in April 1998 and was cremated in the jungle of the Thai-Khmer border area of Anlong Veng, after a long illness. His tomb is one of the popular attractions for many Cambodian and foreign tourists.

Following this short biography Khmerization will post an interview with Pol Pot very soon. That interview was conducted and recorded by Mr. Pin Samkhon, former head of Radio Free Asia's Khmer Service, in Anlong Veng on the 2nd of April 1998, two weeks before Pol Pot died.

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