A Change of Guard

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

A moment of the Vietnamese invasion on January 7, 1979 and its aftermath

By Khmer Wathanakam
www.khmerwathanak.blogspot.com

(The Vietnamese Tanks rolled into Cambodia in 1979)
On January 7, 1979, people in my village, Phum Thmey, Srok Sangke, Ket Battambang, just went to work on rice field and build irrigation system as usual day.  Surprisingly, around 12 or 1PM, when we returned from work to the canteen for lunch, suddenly we heard a loud noise of two helicopters flying in very high speed but unusual low altitude just above a top of the trees from Phnom Penh toward Battambang City.  We even saw the people on the board of those helicopters, but we had no idea who they were.  In fact, Pol Pot and his leadership team had fled Phnom Penh in disarray, indicating that his central government had collapsed by the Vietnamese invasion.  They rushed to Battambang City on their way to Thai-Cambodia border.  But Not long enough, about 10 to 15 minutes later, the Vietnamese Mig-21 had chased them behind, a few minutes after the Mig-21 passed over our village, we heard two loud explosions from the Vietnamese jet bomber, but it missed the target apparently in an attempt to assassinate Pol Pot and his entourage.  Since then the Vietnamese jets flew every day passing over our village to bomb the Khmer Rouge hideout targets and their ammunition depots in various locations in the province.

However, the people in our village were so bewildered even if they had known that Pol Pot regime was overthrown by the Vietnamese, the local Khmer Rouge administrators still ruled our village and the nearby areas as usual.  Every day people just went to work on their fields and ate lunch and dinner as normal.  But, on January 13, we felt the reality of the regime changed when we saw a column of Vietnamese tanks and trucks slowly driven on highway 5 from Battambang toward Phnom Penh with their victory red flags on the top.  Then they briefly stopped in our village searching for the Khmer Rouge troops and their locations, but no one knew where they were.  After that the Vietnamese convoys continued their way to Phnom Penh precariously.  Indeed, on their way to Phnom Penh, the Vietnamese elite troop columns were disrupted by land mines and severely beaten down by the regrouped Khmer Rouge special forces.  Later we frequently saw the wreckage of the Vietnamese trucks and tanks along the highway 5 from Battambang to Phnom Penh.


(A typical daily works in The Khmer Rouge Regime)
Albeit the Vietnamese troops occupied Battambang City, most areas along highway 5 from Srok Sangke to Mong Reusey were still fully under the Khmer Rouge control.   Then the local Khmer Rouge tried to regroup and restructure their administration and military strategy, using their old military tactics of guerrilla warfare to cut the Vietnamese supply line from Phnom Penh to Battambang, using anti-tank mines and heat and run tactics in order to maximize the Vietnamese damages.  As the Vietnamese troops frequently moved back and forth from Phnom Penh to Battambang, the fighting was raged.  Every time the Vietnamese convoys came, they met with heavy attack from the Khmer Rouge special forces using anti-tank rocket propellers and land mines to destroy the Vietnamese convoys. By the end of January, the Vietnamese convoys ceased to move through highway 5, and the Khmer Rouge had created their safe Haven in the area and established a military front line in Phum Kampong Preash, about 10 km from Battambang City.  Now we had to live in the Khmer Rouge trap until the Khmer New Year on April 13 when we got a chance to escape to Battambang City through a trail of tears.

Every day we saw the Mig-21 flying over our village to bomb the Khmer Rouge targets in different areas in Battambang.  Unfortunately one day the Vietnamese jet had spotted a Khmer Rouge truck on highway 5 along with hundreds of people returning from work on rice fields; the jet made a u-turn as it had preyed a potential target.  Meanwhile I was just playing in front of my home with friends then we heard a loud noise of jet in the sky above our home unleashed two big bombs, and they looked like coming straight down to our house then we quickly ran down for cover in a ditch in front of my home.  suddenly, the two big explosions shook the ground  killed and wounded hundreds of innocent people who had just returned from work.  Two of my nephews were among those killed in the bombing.  Since then every time we heard the sound of airplanes, we ran for cover.  As the Vietnamese troop spearheads steadily pushed the Khmer Rouge troops back from the front line, they ordered to evacuate all people living under their control zones moving Southward along railway toward Phnom Tepadey.  At the sunset, thousands of the people in the collective farm were forced to move toward Mount Tepadey to escape theVietnamese troop advance from Battambang.  It's worse than 1975 evacuation when we had been evacuated from the city to villages; this time they evacuated us from villages to the jungle at night time without clear instruction.  We stopped on the way and built temporary shelters to live for a few weeks then we were told to move forward again and again as the gun battles raged louder behind us.

When We got closer to Mount Tepadey, the Vietnamese vanguards tried cut us in front along the railway, so we had nowhere to go.  At this time the Khmer Rouge safe haven ran out of space as the Vietnamese troops quickly captured Mount Tepadey, and the only safe places now are Tonle Sap Lake and Cardamorm Mountain in Pusat.  The Khmer Rouge had a few options left; then they forced us to turn eastward, crossing highway 5 at Phum Kor Kash toward Tonle Sap Lake.  At night time when we reached Tonle Sap lake Shore, what's next?  luckily, at this time, all Khmer Rouge leaders and their military personnel fled for their own safety, leaving thousands of people leaderless in Tonle Sap Lake, a no man land.  Now all the people had to make their own risky choices of death and life-- to follow the Khmer Rouge seems useless since they had totally abandoned us or to escape back to Battambang City might face risk of life if we were caught by the Khmer Rouge troops, we would be slaughtered mercilessly.  Nevertheless, the majority of people made up their minds to escape to Battambang City through thick swam land forest along Tonle Sap Lake shores.  Now a trail of tears started with hope and fear hung over our minds.

(A similar evacuation and journey that we had experienced in 1979)
By nightfall the people started their final dangerous journey with columns of oxcarts and thousands of people from babies carrying by their parents to old aged parents carrying by their sons and people and children walked on their own pace carrying their belongs.  We severely faced shortage of food, especially water because it was on a dry season when most lakes and streams were dried up.  We drank muddy water from shallow lakes to keep us hydrated from a hot temperature up to 100 F on April, the hottest month of the year in Cambodia.  Sometimes we saw copses scattered in decompose making terrible smell freshly killed by the Khmer Rouge.  The dead bodies had reminded us that we were in the most dangerous zone.  Frequently we heard that the Khmer Rouge just followed us behind, so everyone tried to run as fast as we could.  One of my neighbor named Pem had carried his old father on his back when the Khmer Rouge chased him, he dropped off his father on the way and ran for his own life.  He did not know how his father died of starvation or got killed by the Khmer Rouge soldiers.  Whenever he recalls this tragic story, he cries.  How can anyone forgive him with such a terrible sin on his own father even if an unintentional act and in a hopeless circumstance?

After three exhausted day journey through the swam land forest, a glimpse of hope was in everyone's mind.  About one kilometer away, we saw highway 5 in Phum Kampong Preash.  At this time my family's oxcart was on the front line, but we apparently went on a wrong way.  Fortunately, my family's oxcart  was broken down then we stopped to fix it, and many other oxcarts quickly bypassed us.  Alas, just about 100 meters away the first oxcart which had bypassed us rolled over an anti-tank mine made a very loud explosion killing four children on the cart and wounded the father while the mother survived while she was walking beside the cart.  After this tragic incident, we returned to the other way where we proceeded toward highway 5 safely.  First we had  sense of hope and released when we saw a group of Khmer soldiers came to welcome us from a long dangerous and exhausted journey, but our hope mixed with dismay when we saw all Vietnamese soldiers everywhere stationing along highway 5 to Battambang City.  We felt sad although we had just escaped from the killing field. My father, who used to joint Khmer Issarak fighting for Cambodian independence in 1953, told us that the war was not over yet since the foreign troops still occupied our country.  Our family members briefly rejoined, but two of my brothers and a sister died in the Khmer Rouge Regime.  In late 1979 two of my brothers and a sister fled to Thai-Cambodia border camp when they later resettled in the US in 1982.  My parents, my other two sisters and I return to our old ruin village,  Phum Kachrotest, to restart our new life then had been ravaged again by new war against the Vietnamese occupation until 1991 when the Paris Peace Accord was officially signed to end the protracted war.

January 7, 1979 has given us a mixed feeling of hope for surviving from the killing field and regretting for losing our country to the Vietnamese neo-colonization.  Since January 7, 1979 until today we have never felt our country had a full independence.  Because our country has still ruled by the regime installed by the Vietnamese tanks and guns since January 7, 1979.  If Vietnam honestly liberates us from the killing field, it should let us choosing our own destination by allowing free and fair election in Cambodia guaranteed by the Paris Peace Accord in 1991. But instead Vietnam has manipulated and deeply meddled in Cambodian internal affair via its proxy power, the CPP which has ruled the country by intimidation, violence means, and election fraud.  Cambodia will never ever taste a true democracy, social justice, and national independence if Hanoi has continued to hold its stake of power through its political, military, and economic networks throughout Cambodia.  A case of Oknha Tuong Sarath and his parents, the Vietnamese tycoons who hold a high title and status in Cambodian government, is a chilling reminder that Hanoi has still operated its political and economic networks in Cambodia via its pervaded people. Thus, January 7, 1979 is the day that Cambodia has lost her independence in second times after we had gained from France in 1953.  The only way that Khmer can regain true democracy and full independence from the current Vietnamese neo-colonization, all Khmer must set aside all our differences and unite in single political alliance in order to rescue our nation from a long dictatorial rule of the current Hanoi puppet regime.

Note: readers please share your personal experience at a moment of January 7, 1979 and your opinion about that day. Thanks,

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

A moment of kicking evil off right. ?. Who are the killer alliance. ?

Anonymous said...

January 7, 1979 definitely a day that Khmer lost independence til now. Yuon must give Khmer back independence not the fake one like the current Hun Sen's government. If they want to be friendly neighbor with Khmer.

Anonymous said...

The Vietnamese dog shit eaters claimed that it was never an invasion, yet after the invasion, they occupied the country, decimating the land using the Khmer people as hostage to create the man made canal as Khmer-Viet borders.

During that 10 years occupation, they dog shit eaters would not stop destroying the Khmer people, they continued to use the Khmer people to lay landmines and send them to to the khmer forest to be killed by the Thai soldiers while they lay out their strategy to invade Thailand.

Anonymous said...


Only when Khmer people in the whole country make peaceful demonstration demanding the puppet government of Hun Sen to implement the 1991 Paris Peace Accord, then this evil Vietnam will relieve its grip over Cambodia.

When the CNRP kept saying we don't want Khmer people to die during this crusade to liberate Cambodia from this evil Vietnam, then the CNRP should keep dreaming because such concept will never work with this evil Vietnam.

Our demonstration to get justice is peaceful, but we must not run when this devil one eye Hun Sen's 3rd hands violently suppress us. This is the key to get the 1991 Paris Peace Accord be implemented.

Khmer people during the POl Pot's era did not want to die, but they got killed.

The same thing in this present Cambodia. You don't want to die, but you and Cambodia will be killed by this evil Vietnam in the future.

But if some of us are ready to die to save Cambodia, then we will have good chance to survive.

Bun Thoeun

Anonymous said...

Most of people died of starving over work and youn secret agent. ..over 3 millions was killed by khmer rouge. ..and youn overthrow ah pot.and now you guy say youn killed us
khmer. ? Does it make any sense to you? ....Mike

Anonymous said...

To
Idiot buntheoun if 84 millions youn realy want to calculate take over khmer they can do so with in week s of ok. Stop your shity brains demage strategy. ..

Anonymous said...

And if you buntheoun really love khmer so much why don't you call for peace and stability or improve higher education ......what ever you do just to make sure our people are getting much stronger.and stronger. .not your strategy crap.

Anonymous said...

Is it buntheoun is khmer rouge himself or a thai thug who thirty khmer blood. .

Anonymous said...

Turnesia Libya Syria Ukraine and iraq what happening after 10 years of stupid act. Now Blood spell everyday right ? ...why shity brain demage buntheoun he not know about that. ..This guy are hat youn but very forceful pushing khmer to die. ..Right?

Anonymous said...

Without 7 makara more people continue to die by khmer rouge. Isn't that true.?

Anonymous said...

Who was the creator of the Khmer Rouge?
Who was the creator of the CCP?

Tear Bank is Vietcong and he is running the Cambodian Armforforces is that Right?

They said they came to rescue Cambodian,but instead Hanoi opposed all the UN donations,while Cambodian were starving? None of Cambodian got any food from UN for 10 Years? All the UN donations were confiscated by Hanoi and they used that aids just for Hanoi'troops and it's puppet.
All the UN staffs in Phome Penh were under the watchful eyes of Hanoi's agents aroundo the clock. None of UN staffs were allowed to get insomuch with any Cambodian.

Heng Samnrin,Cheap Simply and Hun Sen were all kept in the cage with Hanoi troops sleep around them,until they left in 1989. You might wonder why Hun can speak Viet.

Cambodia was dragged into war in the 70s ; a killing Field run by Hanoi'agents;and turned into a puppet state or a zombie state with Hanoi's secret agents inside then and now.
The author of the history of Chronic War in Indochina was written by How Chi Minh.

True Khmer


Anonymous said...

One single question for these Cambodian haters.

What if the Vietnamese Army never came but only defense Vietnam's border? Note that China supported Khmer Rogue, USSR was on the side of Vietnam and USA as a wounded beast decided to stay away wholly.

#comcomWF

Anonymous said...

Most of you are kind of drunken phsycho who could deals with you ? You guy better move back to thai border and live in that jungle for another 10 year all of you will automatically become monkeys. Aren't you? .You destroy everything you touch who need your compatriots crap. ..Mike

Anonymous said...

Though I survived by this date, I still January 7, 1979. Some people even in the US still celebrate it but but their will but buy out by Hun Sen's agents in some states. This is the date that Khmer has lost independence probably never regain it back if the Khmer keep create more political parties-- from Sourn Serey Ratha, Kem ley, the return of Ranarith to Forncipec, many other small parties that only contribute to waste votes then make Hun Sen seat in a comfortable position for almost 30 years and no end sight. Khmer must learn the lesson and the mistakes over the past 30 years.

Anonymous said...

Correct I still hate January 7

Anonymous said...

Dear Khmers,

Who Chingh Ming is now laughing his head off in his grave.

Clandestinelay, he created the Pathetlao and the Khmer Rouge.
In 1966 Ho invited Sam Loth Sar ( Pol Pot ) to meet with him in Hanoi.
Before his death, Pol Pot did admit through a translator to Neth Sayer of the Hong Kong based magazine that he(Pol Pit) did not have enough experience.
Now we know who and what Anka was !

The " Viet savior mission " of January7,1979 was just an implementation of evil Who.

Until and unless we Khmers understand the rootcaues of the problems, and solve them accordingly, Cambodia like Laos become a vessel state of Vietnam.

Anonymous said...

Its not hard to understand how Hun Sen can speak Vietnamese fluently and why Hun Sen have been given a Vietnamese name as a child.

Hun Sen was chosen by Ho Chi Minh. After Pol Pot had returned to Cambodia after studying in French, he never been involved in politics. It was the Vietnamese that occupied Cambodia to control the Ho Chi Minh Trial.

It was also during this time that the Vietnamese had taken many children to be trained to kill. Hun Sen was given the Vietnamese name of Hai Phuc as a reminder that he will do anything to serve Ho Chi Minh.

To this days Hai Phuc continued to suppress the Khmer people and celebrate the 7th January where millions of Khmer were murdered in disguise by the Vietnamese while using Pol Pot as a scapegoat.

Anonymous said...

January 7,1979 invasion was dead Ho's Anka blueprint.

Anonymous said...

Are you telling me youn not kill khmer and only khmer who kill our own people by the order or follow youn strategies. Right? Isn't it true? . If so what ever you try to excuse or lie is a pure dumb of your political platform. ..you make yourself looked completely dumb. ..duuuuuuuuumb and a supper dumb. What a mess with bunch of crap hero idiot. ..aren't they?

Anonymous said...

Still nobody dared to answer the question

What if the Vietnamese Army never came but only defense Vietnam's border?

#comcomWF

Anonymous said...

11:41am

You must be Mike.

Mousy, you didn't understand the rootcauses of the problems. Therefore your reply is useless, hence hereby ignored.

Anonymous said...

6:50pm

The Vietnamese army poised to invade Cambodia, because Ho Ching Mingh was afraid if not invading or waiting too long China may get Cambodia first.
Then Ho's dreams could become nightmare.

Anonymous said...

No one could answer your questions because you ask pol pot lover. And they are ex khmer rouge too. I told you this people work hard for the returning of killing field . aren't they. ?

Anonymous said...

6:50pm and 10:41pm

The question had been already answered by 10:09pm above.

Anonymous said...

Jan.7 were both a day of salvations and invasion. My family and others in my village will be kill by those Khmer Rough local militia murderers. I remembered those murderers using our water in front of our shack cleaning their knives and axes full of some poor souls that they just murdered. It was frightened. Later we found that those blood belonged to an old man and his two sons by the side of the mountain. The retreating Khmer Rough troops killed hundreds of young men and women at boeung po at Phnom Sampov, Battambang. We were saved by CPP puppets and Youn troops at Phnom Kampere, Battambang.

It was an opportunists for the Vietnamese to get rid of Khmer Rough elements that were not loyal to them like Hun Sen. Also to justified liberations to hide the facts from the world. I say thanks but also no thanks for trying to swallow Cambodia like Kampuchea Krom.

Kmenhwatt said...

Well Mr Zepra=Drgenzet;we already answer your stupidity question many times before but you just too dumb to comprehend the answer;my answer to you is;

1)If yuon didn't invades our country we all doing just find because Pol pot himself about to joint the west to kick Hanoi & Russia for interfering with his regime.

2) we will never seen ah kwaq Cpp regime and Koh tral will never be occupied by barbaric-yuon and Sdach Kteuy [Xihunmoni] will never be on the throne.

3) land eviction will not happen,land concession to barbaric thieves (yuon) never happen,the forest of Cambodia still in flourish.

4) Makong river will not polutes like today,Heng DumbRin's village never be ceded to Hanoi.

5) you won't be here to brags about your stupidity and K5 will not happen,s-21 was not existed then until yuon killed more Khmers and blamed pol pot,s-21 was created by yuon to shames Khmers on generals to make Khmers born after 7th Makara owes the great deal of gratitude to the invaders barbaric-yuon whose were the real killers behind the curtains of Khmer Rouge.

My conclusion is; 7th maraka was the opportunity of the life time to fulfil Ho Chi Minh's ambition dreams to swallow Srok Khmer as they had done to CHAMPA,Kampuchea krom and Laos,yuon had succeed but Khmer still put up resistances,thank god we have INTERNET to expose all Hanoi's dirty plans...! Yuon killed Khmers from 1979 invasion to nowadays,Hanoi's killers (Secret agents) hiding behind Cpp as they did in Pol pot era!...I hated 7th makara..!

Anonymous said...

Hello

Anonymous said...

Hello

Anonymous said...

The Vietnamese army poised to invade Cambodia, because Ho Ching Mingh was afraid if not invading or waiting too long China may get Cambodia first.
Then Ho's dreams could become nightmare.

8 January 2015 10:09 pm
----

1.Learn to write the name of the people
2.Is there any source about 'Ho Chi Minh's dream'!!?? What do you know about him!?
3.Ho Chi Minh passed away in 1969 and Vietnam salvation campaign occurred 10 years later!
4.Still no answer for the question. Say comcom asked 'What would happen if the VPA didn't come' not 'Why they came'

#comcomWF

Anonymous said...

@9 January 2015 10:35 am

1)If yuon didn't invades our country we all doing just find because Pol pot himself about to joint the west to kick Hanoi & Russia for interfering with his regime.
----
If the VPA didn't come then you won't be here chanting anti-Vietnamese words young friend

----
2) we will never seen ah kwaq Cpp regime and Koh tral will never be occupied by barbaric-yuon and Sdach Kteuy [Xihunmoni] will never be on the throne.
----
So you prefer the genocidal Khmer Rogue than CPP!? About Phú Quốc island. Khmer Rogue tried and failed terribly trying to invade it.

----
3) land eviction will not happen,land concession to barbaric thieves (yuon) never happen,the forest of Cambodia still in flourish.
----
Again you prefer Khmer Rogue which slaughtered their own (and your) race than the current gov?

----
4) Makong river will not polutes like today,Heng DumbRin's village never be ceded to Hanoi.
----
Indeed it would be pollute by Cambodian's corps who was killed by another Cambodian!

----
5) you won't be here to brags about your stupidity and K5 will not happen,s-21 was not existed then until yuon killed more Khmers and blamed pol pot,s-21 was created by yuon to shames Khmers on generals to make Khmers born after 7th Makara owes the great deal of gratitude to the invaders barbaric-yuon whose were the real killers behind the curtains of Khmer Rouge.
----
This's serious kid! Such insult is intolerable unless you show the proper source said Vietnamese created Toul-Sleng or that prison was created after the invasion.

I dare you to bring on source kid! Do you dare!?

This's what happened when Kem Sokha said something like you said
http://phapluattp.vcmedia.vn/zmFXaMf02iyYngijCf8krGuUCNG8J4/Image/2013/Thang-6/10-6/16-tin-4f926.jpg

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Gjm4-Gqef10/UbRdjM47PSI/AAAAAAAABJk/BLHwz2W8_Zo/s1600/Cambodia+4.jpg

http://static.new.tuoitre.vn/tto/i/s626/2013/06/09/Ye9uNIlk.jpg

http://tinnong.vn/Pictures20136/HoanhSon/campuchia/Campuchia11.jpg

You virtually insulted your own nation, your own history, and insulted the once who stopped the genocide.

Also
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuol_Sleng_Genocide_Museum

#comcomWF

Anonymous said...

Dgunzet, camuflaged as #comcomWF

You will have to change your posting name again, because your stupidity still shows!