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តំបន់ទេសចរណ៍ Tourist sitesPosted: 2012-11-29 01:55:27   Replies: 0
Ta Mok's house

A glimpse Cambodia's dark past at lakeside home

ANLONG VENG, Cambodia - Want to see Pol Pot's grave or his broken toilet seat? How about a visit to the house of a feared Khmer Rouge commander known as "The Butcher"?

Welcome to the town of Anlong Veng, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold which hopes to become the next must-see destination on Cambodia's dark tourism trail, but which faces calls not to glorify its role in the country's bloody past.

A rectangular mound of earth lined with half-buried glass bottles and protected by a corrugated iron roof marks the spot where Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot was hastily cremated in 1998.

Aside from a sign asking visitors to "please help to preserve this historical site" there is no information on offer, leaving Cambodian tourist Pov Dara, 27, to ponder the significance of the low-key grave.

"I feel sad for the people but not for him," she decides, after snapping a photo of her relatives flashing the peace sign.

Up to two million people died from overwork, starvation or execution when the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, attempted to create a communist utopia in the late 1970s.

His cremation site, which attracts some 10 visitors a day, is one of 14 tourist spots the government intends to "preserve and develop" in northern Cambodia's Anlong Veng.

Other places of interest include leaders' old homes and a rusty radio truck used to broadcast Khmer Rouge propaganda.

Impoverished Cambodia is no stranger to genocide tourism, with the Tuol Sleng torture centre in Phnom Penh and the nearby Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, where thousands died, among the nation's most popular attractions.

But while the focus at those sites is on victims of the 1975-1979 regime, Anlong Veng is populated by one-time loyal Khmer Rouge followers, giving it the feel of a town that has found itself on the wrong side of history.

[Pictured here: A general view of the former Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok's house and surrounding grounds.

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