Chan Sy

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Chan Sy
33rd Prime Minister of Cambodia
In office
9 February 1982 – 26 December 1984
Acting: 5 December 1981 – 9 February 1982
President Heng Samrin
Preceded by Pen Sovan
Succeeded by Hun Sen
Personal details
Born 1932
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
Died 26 December 1984(1984-12-26) (aged 52)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Political party Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party
Military service
Allegiance  Kingdom of Cambodia
 People's Republic of Kampuchea
Service/branch Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation
Years of service 1950–1984

Chan Sy, also spelt Chan Si, (Khmer: ចាន់ ស៊ី; 1932 – December 26, 1984) was a Cambodian politician. He became Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Kampuchea from 1981 to 1984.


Chan Sy was a Cambodian of Chinese descent[1] who early in his life became a military figure[2] by joining the Khmer Viet Minh forces in 1950s.

Chan Sy left Cambodia in 1954 after the Geneva Conference that recognized Prince Norodom Sihanouk's government as the sole legitimate authority in independent Cambodia. A member of the Communist Party from 1960, Chan Sy was believed to have returned to Cambodia in 1970 after the coup that ousted Prince Sihanouk and placed the pro-U.S. Lon Nol in power. Chan Sy, who was opposed to ultra-nationalist Pol Pot, by whose partisans he was detained in 1973. He reappeared on the scene in 1978, with the forces of the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (KUFNS) and with the Vietnamese that toppled the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.[2]

After some months of military training in the Soviet Union, in 1980 he was appointed deputy defense minister and following year defense minister and vice-president of the Council of Ministers; the same year he also became a member of the Politburo of the Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party (KPRP).[2]

When Pen Sovan was replaced as party general secretary by Heng Samrin, Chan Sy took over the premiership. Considered a steadfast adherent to Vietnam's Kampuchean policy, Chan Sy had made visits to Bulgaria, East Germany as well as to the Soviet Union. In the National Assembly he represented his native province.[2]

Chan Sy spent many years in Vietnam and was a founding member of the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (FUNSK) that overthrew Pol Pot's regime. After the establishment of the People's Republic of Kampuchea, he became chief political commissar of the armed forces,[3] and eventually becoming Prime Minister by February 10, 1982.[4]

Chan Sy died in a Moscow hospital, where he was being treated for a cardiac ailment, in December 1984. His death was reported by the Vietnamese information agency on December 31, 1984, although he was believed to have died some days earlier.[2] Chan Sy was a good friend of Pen Sovan, who fell into disgrace earlier for irritating the Vietnamese. The circumstances of his death were mysterious.[5]


  1. ^ Heng Sophat: Interview 1a. Segment 10
  2. ^ a b c d e Britannica Book of the Year (1985). "Chronology Of Cambodian History: Chan Sy". Retrieved July 31, 2006. 
  3. ^ Sorpong Peou, Intervention & change in Cambodia
  4. ^ "Chan Sy Is Confirmed As Cambodia Premier". The New York Times. February 11, 1982. Archived from the original on November 26, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2014. 
  5. ^ Margaret Slocomb, The People's Republic of Kampuchea, 1979-1989: The revolution after Pol Pot ISBN 978-974-9575-34-5

See also[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Pen Sovan
Prime Minister of Cambodia
Succeeded by
Hun Sen