Choeung Ek

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Choeung Ek
Choeung Ek stupa in 2012
11°29′4″N 104°54′7″E / 11.48444°N 104.90194°E / 11.48444; 104.90194
LocationPhnom Penh, Cambodia
TypeBuddhist stupa
Height62 m (203 ft)
Beginning date1988

Choeung Ek (Khmer: ជើងឯក, Cheung Êk [cəːŋ ʔaek]) is a former orchard, in Dangkao, Phnom Penh, Cambodia,[1] that was used as a Killing Field between 1975 and 1979 by the Khmer Rouge in perpetrating the Cambodian genocide. Situated about 17 kilometres (11 mi) south of the city centre, it was attached to the Tuol Sleng detention centre. The bodies of 8,895 victims were exhumed from the site after the fall of the Rouge, who would have been executed there—typically with pickaxes to conserve bullets—before being buried in mass graves.

It is the best-known of the approximately 300 Killing Fields, where the Khmer Rouge regime collectively executed over one million[2] people as part of their Cambodian genocide between 1975 and 1979.


Mass graves at Choeung Ek
Some of more than 5000 skulls of the victims placed in the stupa

Mass graves containing 8,895 bodies were discovered at Choeung Ek after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. Many of the dead were former political prisoners who the Khmer Rouge kept in their Tuol Sleng detention center and in other Cambodian detention centers.

Today, Choeung Ek is a memorial, marked by a Buddhist stupa. The stupa has acrylic glass sides and is filled with over 5,000 human skulls. Some lower levels are opened during the day so that the skulls can be seen directly. Many have been shattered or smashed in.

Tourists are encouraged by the Cambodian government to visit Choeung Ek. Apart from the stupa, there are pits from which the bodies were exhumed. Human bones still litter the site.

On May 3, 2005, the Municipality of Phnom Penh announced that they had entered into a 30-year agreement with JC Royal Co. to develop the memorial at Choeung Ek.[3] As part of the agreement, they are not to disturb the remains still present in the field.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The film The Killing Fields is a dramatised portrayal of events like those that took place at Choeung Ek.


  1. ^ "Property Tax Map". City of Phnom Penh. Retrieved 2020-05-06. - Map of Dangkor Section - Compare map to Google Maps view of Dangkor District.
  2. ^ Sharp, Bruce (April 1, 2005). "Counting Hell: The Death Toll of the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia". Retrieved July 5, 2006.
  3. ^ Doyle, Kevin (2005-04-11). "The Revenue Fields". Time. Archived from the original on July 12, 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2010.

External links[edit]