Phnom Kraol Security Centre

Posted Mon, 04/07/2014 - 15:39 / Updated Tue, 02/03/2015 - 15:50
Democratic Kampuchea Zone
Democratic Kampuchea District
Democratic Kampuchea Sector
Current Day District
Current Day Province
Alleged Crimes

[Disclaimer: The content in Closing Orders are allegations, which need to be proven through adversarial hearings. As such, the allegations below can not be treated as facts unless they have been established through a final judgment.]

Location and Establishment 

625. Phnom Kraol was located in Koh Nhek District, Sre Sangkum Subdistrict, Mondulkiri Province. Phnom Kraol was a Sector 105 Security Office containing Phnom Kraol Prison and related to the nearby Sector 105 Office K-11 and to the Sector 105 Secretary, headquartered Office K-17. Applying the CPK’s system of identifying administrative boundaries, Phnom Kraol was located in Sector 105 also known as Mondulkiri Sector. The security centre already existed in 1975. Mondulkiri was under the control of the Northeast Zone until the end of 1976 when it became autonomous and thereafter reported directly to the CPK Centre.

626. Phnom Kraol prison was a one-room complex constructed of wooden pillars, a bamboo lattice floor and a thatched roof. K-17 consisted of a two storey building with wooden walls and a zinc roof and functioned as both the Office of the Secretary of Sector 105 and, briefly as a detention centre itself. K-11 was located approximately 1 kilometre Northeast of Phnom Kraol prison, and served as both a detention centre and as the military office. It consisted of a wooden building with bamboo walls, a thatched roof and a plywood floor.

627. Trapeang Pring (also known as Tuol Khmaoch), the security centre’s execution site, was located about 4 kilometres from Koh Nhek on the road towards Kratie Province.



Structure and Personnel
628. Successive secretaries of Sector 105 were based at K-17, including Ham alias Laing later alias Chhan2722 (died under unclear circumstance in 1977), and in September 1978 [REDACTED]. After Laing’s death, the sector was extensively purged, with some of those arrested being sent to Phnom Kraol. Deputy secretaries included Sau Kim An alias Mey (arrested on 8 December 1977) Cham, Phak and Lork. The Member in charge of economic affairs was Kham Phoun (died under unclear circumstances in 1977). Sophea was a member of the Sector 105 Committee in charge of military and security until his arrest in November or December 1978.

629. Centre Division 920, which had been deployed to Mondulkiri in late 1975 was instructed to cooperate closely with the local authorities there reporting simultaneously to them and the General Staff. Division 920 was purged in 1976 and cadre were sent cadre were also sent to the Centre, and the Centre sent Division 920 “confessions” implicating grassroots authorities back to the sector.

630. Phnom Kraol was under military control. The sector military comprised two battalions, known as Battalion 1 and Battalion 2. The latter had a contingent in the Phnom Kraol area, with Leng as the commander of battalion until his arrest in February 1978. The battalion deputy was [REDACTED] and the member [REDACTED].

631. The Chairman of Phnom Kraol was Leng, [REDACTED], serving as deputy chairman. [REDACTED] served as a member of the committee and according to several witnesses as head of Phnom Kraol following the arrest of Leng. The sector committee and the military reported directly to the CPK Centre.

632. A constant flow of information existed between the Centre and Sector 105 and coded typewritten messages were sent from the district level via K-17 to and from the Centre authorities. While K-17 sent instructions to the districts, it also prepared district performance reports on a daily basis.  The Sector 105 Secretary reported directly to the Centre and asked for opinions, notably on suspects.  The interrogations of “Vietnamese” “spies” were reported to the Centre. Typewritten documents were mostly sent to Centre Office 870 and K-3. Messages concerning healthcare or social affairs were typed in non coded language and were sent to Khieu Samphan who would send instructions back. Messages about security matters were sent to Nuon Chea. according to one witness: “Nuon Chea regularly instructed on security matters such as to be vigilant of Vietnamese enemy or insider enemy, the ambition of Vietnam, and ideological tasks for education to the district level”.

633. One witness states that monthly meetings were held at K-11 and that they were attended by the sector committee, the sector army and the districts committees. Other witnesses state that meetings were held in the sector and district education halls and that “the Sector Com brought the word from the Centre-level and explained [to us] . . . to track down the imbedded enemies (who contacted the Vietnamese) and the enemy traitors”.

Arrest and detention
634. All the former prisoners of Phnom Kraol who were interviewed, attest that they were arrested on suspicion of being traitors to the revolution either because of associations with the Vietnamese or because of alleged connections to the CIA. Such accusations were generally made during meetings of criticism/auto-criticism: “Every single afternoon after the meal, they always held a meeting and accused all of us of being CIA”. After their arrest, prisoners had to write down their biographies.

635. Prisoners were either arrested by CPK cadre and forcibly taken to Phnom Kraol or were arrested at K-17 after having been called to a meeting. Some arrests were ordered by the sector secretary and carried out by sector member for military affairs, with the help of sector military and security cadre with Division 920 having the the right to make arrests of both sector cadre, civilians and military, with its secretary [REDACTED] having lists of persons to be detained  Some prisoners were first detained at the district or cooperative authorities and transferred to Phnom Kraol.

636. One former prisoner states being hung upside down by his ankles for 24 hours upon
arriving at Phnom Kraol. Another recalls having his legs tied to a bench and his hands
tied behind his back, whilst other prisoners report being placed in wooden leg shackles
upon arriving at Phnom Kraol. The shackles ranged in size from holding one prisoner, to
holding four or five and some up to 20 prisoners. Whilst all prisoners were shackled
at night, there are reports of light offenders being unshackled and taken out to work
during the day.

637. Within K-11, prisoners were held temporarily under the same conditions. As of
November 1977, 40 prisoners were held, tied-up on the ground floor of K-17 and five were
held on the first floor. Concerning the number of prisoners Phnom Kraol was holding,
one witness states to have seen 80, whilst another witness mentions that the Phnom
Kraol could hold up to 385.

638. At Phnom Kraol some prisoners were made to work during the day; their hands
remained tied whilst doing so. Prisoners were under guard at all times. Food at
Phnom Kraol was insufficient and as a result prisoners were generally in a weakened state
and emaciated.

639. Several witnesses state that detainees were seriously mistreated during interrogations at Phnom Kraol. One witness recounts being hung upside down and interrogated. Another former prisoner witnessed an eight year old son of a female prisoner being hung upside down by the guards until he was bleeding from the eyes. Other witnesses state that serious mistreatment was not commonplace, if done at all. One witness states that “there was no torture during the interrogations, but there were strong threats”. This is corroborated by a former soldier working at Phnom Kraol. 

640. Interrogations included questioning the prisoners about their alleged links to the CIA and/or Vietnamese networks.

641. According to one witness, the prisoners who were sent to Phnom Kraol had little chance to survival. Former prisoners recall how fellow prisoners were beaten to death and witnessed people being taken away at night who were never seen again. One witness, when referring to K-11 states: “[w]hen I was at the worksite, I saw about 30 people transported in and out every two or three days. The victims were transported out for execution”. One witness states that a prison guard from K-11 told him that prisoners were only kept for two or three days before they were being executed.
642. Executions were usually carried out at Trapeang Pring, an execution site located about 4 kilometres from Phnom Kraol on the road towards Kratie Province. Prisoners were driven in groups to the execution site. One witness, who lived closely to the killing site, confirms that about 200 male and female victims were buried at a pit at Trapeang Pring. On other occasions, prisoners would be killed within the prison vicinity.