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Killing Field tourist: Glimpsing Cambodia's bloody past
A visitor to Choeung Ek, Cambodia's most infamous Killing Field, learns about the Khmer Rouge's murderous past in graphic detail
From 1975 to 1979 an estimated 1.4 million Cambodians were killed under the despotic rule of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
The executions took place on what have become known as Cambodia's Killing Fields. The best known of these is Choeung Ek, 17 kilometers from the center of Phnom Penh. Here, an estimated 17,000 men, women and children were butchered by the Khmer Rouge.
It is a suitably grim and eerie memorial to those who died, an Auschwitz-Birkenau for Asia.
Choeung Ek is run by Japanese company JC Royal, which pays the Cambodian Government an annual US$15,000 levy for the site.
But for the five million survivors of the Khmer Rouge era there's little positive to come out of that tragic period. Many live on less than US$1 per day, and are still waiting to see the perpetrators behind Cambodia's darkest era punished.
Click through the gallery above for a virtual tour of Choeung Ek.
Choeung Ek is a 17-kilometer drive from the heart of Phnom Penh. A taxi or tuk-tuk should do a return trip for US$8-10, depending on how long you want to spend at the site. The journey takes about 45 minutes, depending on traffic.
Simon Roughneen is a southeast Asia correspondent for several publications. Find him at www.simonroughneen.com and his Twitter name is @simonroughneen.