Visiting Killing Fields

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Visiting Killing Fields
Visiting Killing Fields

About 15km from Phnom Penh, “Killing Fields” nowaday is known as one of tourist attractions in Cambodia. It’s a monument unlike any in the world – crammed with skulls and other bones unearthed from just one of the hundreds of Cambodian Killing Fields.

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Killing Fields

Killing Fields
Killing Fields

Between 1975 and 1978 about 17,000 men, women, children and infants who had been detained and tortured at S-21 were transported to the extermination camp of Choeung Ek.

The remains of 8985 people, many of whom were bound and blindfolded, were exhumed in 1980 from mass graves in this one-time longan orchard; 43 of the 129 communal graves here have been left untouched. Fragments of human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around the disinterred pits. More than 8000 skulls, arranged by sex and age, are visible behind the clear glass panels of the Memorial Stupa, which was erected in 1988.

Killing Fields in Cambodia
Killing Fields in Cambodia

The audio tour includes stories by those who survived the Khmer Rouge, plus a chilling account by Him Huy, a Choeung Ek guard and executioner, about some of the techniques they used to kill innocent and defenceless prisoners, including women and children. There’s also a museum here with some interesting information on the Khmer Rouge leadership and the ongoing trial. A memorial ceremony is held annually at Choeung Ek on 9 May.