The Killing Fields in Cambodia with X-T3 - Joe Ng

2018-11-26

I was away to Asia for a month long trip. One of the highlight is the Cambodia visit. I watched "The Killing Fields" movie in 80s that also inspired me to be a photojournalist. I finally walked on the site with the history that is too hard to bear. Below are some frames documented there.


The Democratic of Kampuchea was led by Pol Pot, a former schoolteacher. The killing machine of S-21 was a secret prison for torturing, interrogating, and depriving those who were accused of illegal activities and accused of being traitors. The Khmer Rouge acted like savage animals with no conscience as they preyed upon the innocent and naive citizens. The Khmer Rouge had turned the peaceful and beautiful Cheung Ek village into the infamous and miserable killing fields. The Pol Pot regime slaughtered people in the thousands without mercy and buried them in mass graves.


Between 1975 and 1978, about 17,000 men, women, children and infants (including nine westerners), detained and tortured at S-21 prison (now Tuol Sleng Museum), were transported to the extermination to death to avoid wasting precious bullets.The remains of 8985 people, many of whom were bound and blindfolded, were exhumed in 1980 from mass graves in this one-time long an orchard; 43 of the 129 communal graves here have been left untouched. Fragment of Human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around the disinterred pits. Over 8000 skulls, arranged by sex, are visible behind the clear glass panels of the Memorial Stupa, which was erected in 1988.

S-21 prison (now Tuol Sleng Museum)

Tuol Sleng survivor Chum Mey

Tuol Sleng survivor Bou Meng

The Killing Fields of Cheung Ek is situated 15 kilometers south-west of Phnom Penh and made famous by the film of the same name "The Killing Field". it was a place where more than 17,000 civilians were killed and buried in mass graves; many of them transported here after detention and torture in Toul Sleng. This place is a chilling reminder of the brutalities of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. In the center of the area is a 17 story glass stupa which houses 8000 skulls exhumed from mass graves.


This is the location where the Khmer Rouge took their prisoners for execution. The prisoners were made to wait here for 24 hours before they were killed by a blow to the head after which their throats were slit. Babies were killed by bashing their heads against a tree. There were separate graves for men, for women and for children. Former friends of Pol Pot who were executed here had separate graves too.Visitors can walk along 86 mass graves from which the remainders of 8,985 men, women and children were unearthed after the liberation of the Khmers Rouges. Some of those skulls, bones and pieces of clothing are now kept in the nearby massive stupa.


The Cheung Ek Killing Field at Phnom Penh is one of the most prolific and historic place in Phnom Penh and stands a cruel reminder of the atrocities inflicted upon the masses of Cambodia. The place has direct links with the horrific past of Cambodia and Phnom Penh.

The Killing Fields

The Memory of The Civil War

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