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Friday, September 08, 2006

Mystery Over Ta Mok’s Death

According to rumors sweeping Phnom Penh, local agents working for Chinese intelligence were behind the death of Ta Mok, former military chief of the Khmer Rouge, in July.

In occurring just before he was to stand trial for crimes against humanity the death of the “Butcher of Cambodia” was convenient to pretty well everyone. Leaflets published by an unknown organization even began circulating in the Cambodian capital in recent days to accuse the government of allowing Ta Mok to be murdered. Nguon Kang, alias Ta Mok, was the leading agent of the Chinese in the Khmer Rouge movement. He organized the organization’s intelligence and political police services along with two of Mao Zedong’s intelligence coordinators, Kang Sheng and Wang Dongxing. Up until the mid-1990s, China’s state security ministry (Guoanbu) and the military intelligence service (Qingbaobu) continued to supply arms to remnants of the Khmer Rouge headed by Ta Mok along Cambodia’s border with Thailand, as did several Western agencies. At the time, however, the Bangkok outpost of France’s DGSE foreign intelligence agency headed successively by Pierre Bernardini and then Alain Murguet ran an anti-Khmer Rouge guerilla unit in the border area. Beijing and, particularly, Zhang Jinfang, the Chinese envoy to Phnom Penh - who had spoken out against putting the last Khmer Rouge chiefs on trial- clearly feel the time has come to forget those operations and many others now that Ta Mok is dead.
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