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Human Rights Monitor

Lam Saum's Battle (1841-47)

After the execution of Oknha Son Kuy in the province of Preah Trapeang, Tesa Saum, (Lam Saum) a provincial administrator, formed a force in Chab Phleung (Tap Son), Tracu District, to battle against the Vietnamese. His army won a battle in Phnor Don (0 Dung) that resulted a heavy casualty for the Vietnamese. He was later captured on another front, and brought to Hue to be executed. This happened under the reign of King Thieu-Tri, one of the Vietnamese emperors.

The Legacy of Oknha Son Kuy

During the reign of King Thieu Tri (1841- 47), the Khmer Krom were harshly forced to abandon their Buddhist religion, custom, tradition, and language. Oknha Son Kuy (also known as Chavay Kuy), Governor of the Srok of Preah Trapeang, had to give up his life in exchange for those rights. The Vietnamese Court of Hue recognized the facts and agreed to have the imposition lifted. When Oknha Son Kuy as beheaded in 1841, people rose up against the Vietnamese through out the country. The Khmer Krom had to stand alone and faced severely retaliations without any supports from King Ang Doung (1840-59) of the Khmer Empire(It was understandable that at the start of his reign, Thailand and Vietnam often attempted to impose their superiority over the Khmer internal affairs). The body of SON KUY was buried in the capital seat of the Preah Trapeang (Travinh), and his tomb is still standing in Bodhisalaraj ( Kampong) temple until today.

Colonization of Preah Trapeang

During the Tay Son uprising (1779-1796), the Srok of Preah Trapeang had given asylum to the fugitive Vietnamese Emperor Gia Long so that he could reconstitute forces against his own warlord Tay Son. King Ang Eng (1779-96) of the Khmer Empire had also provided a military support to this Vietnamese Emperor as a gesture of a good neighbor. However, after regained throne of Annam from the Tay Son, Gia Long arbitrarily turned the Srok Preah Trapeang into a Vietnamese colony. During his dynasty (1802-19), king Gia Long started an irrigation project in the Province of Mot Chrouk (Chaudoc). Thousands of the Khmer Krom were forced to dig a canal named Chum Nik Prek Teng (Vinh Te), 53 kilometers long and 25 meters wide, from Bassac River to the Gulf of Siam. During this forced labor project from 1813-1820, many thousands of the Khmer Krom were killed. In one particular instance the Khmer workers were buried alive so that the Vietnamese soldiers could use their heads as stove stands to boil water for tea for their Vietnamese masters. The phrase "Be careful not to spill the masters'Tea" is still well reminded to there Children by all Khmer Krom parents or grandparents. Before the Canal Project well done, Annamite soldiers held khmer laborers into Pillories, each fillory contained about 20-40 people (they said to prevent Khmer laborers run away from mobilization),at least from 2-5 thousand were locked in pillories located in the canal; the dam was opened, water filled the canal, all Khmer laborers were drowned, no one was survive. (Listen to the Te Ong Anussa´s song that means the Master´s Tea Memo).

Trinh Nguyen Separatist War (1600 to 1786)

During the Le Dynasty 1600's, Vietnam experienced internal chaos. The Vietnamese warlords struggled for power and sought full control of Vietnam. The Trinh clan controlled the northern part of Vietnam while the Nguyen has controlled the south. Consequently, the Trinh and Nguyen wars provided the Vietnamese with opportunity to infiltrate the northeast provinces of Kampuchea Krom in the provinces such as Do Nai, Morea and Toul Ta Mauk. In 1620, the young Khmer monarch, king Chey Chetha II (1618-1628) had fallen into the similar Vietnam's trap as that of the king of Champa in 1307. The warlord Nguyen Hi Tong (1613-1635) presented one of his exotic daughters, Princess Ngoc Van, to King Chey Chetha II for some favors . Through the Princess' intervention in 1623, the Nguyen warlord sent his representatives to ask the Court of Udong permission for the Vietnamese to conduct trade in Morea (Baria) and Prei Nokor (Saigon ), and be given custom authorities over trading. Because of marriage to the Vietnamese wife, King Chey Chetha II had no strong reasons to refuse but granted the requests. Some historians agreed that these were the covert acts intended to rob the Khmers of their rights. Later, the Court of Hue, again, used the nice guy's trick by volunteering their men to assist the Khmer authority in carrying out the policing in the areas. Some documents in Khmer history have cited that at the start of the relationship, the Court of Hue only asked to use certain areas in Prei Nokor to train their militaries for wars against the Chinese and they would be returned to the Khmer authority in 5 years. But at the death of king Chey Chetha II in 1628, the areas of Prei Nokor, Morea, Do Nai, and Toul Ta Mauk were flooded with the Vietnamese warlord . Kampong Srakartrey (Bienhoa) in 1651; Prah Suakea or Morea (Baria) in 1651; Kampong Kou (Longan) in 1669; Tuol Ta Mauk in 1696; Kampong Krabey Prei Nokor (Saigon) in 1696. In 18 th century, Mac Cuu a Chinese who received a permission from Ang Eum (1710-22) to con- trol the province of Peam (Hatien), Kramounsar (Rachgia) and Koh Tral ( Phu Quoc island ) in 1722. The provinces of Mesar (Mytho), Kampong Reussey (Bentre), Koh Gong (Gocong) and Peam Ba-rach ( Long Xuyen) were lost to Vietnam in 1732. Phsar Dek (Sadec), Long Ho (Vinhlong), Mot Chrouk (Chaudoc) in 1757, Raung Damrey (Tayninh) in 1770, Prek Reussey (Cantho) in 1758. The provinces of Preah Trapeang (Travinh), Khleang ( Soctrang), Pol Leav (Baclieu), and Teuk Khmao (Camau) were siezed in 1775 and until 18th century our motherland Kampuchea Krom was totally controlled by the Vietnamese 1840.

The Specific Expansion of Viet Nam

Another set back to the Khmer Empire was the southward expansion of the Kingdom of Vietnam. As early as 10th century, Vietnam first began its territorial expansion over the Kingdom of Champa. In early 17th century, they captured the remaining part of the territory, and the Kingdom of Champa was erased from the world map. The Chams' territory is now simply known as Central Vietnam. During the reign of Tran Anh Tong (1293-1314), Princess Huyen Tran of Vietnam was presented for marriage to the King of Champa as a trap to annex the Chams' territory. After the arranged marriage, the annexation was completed as planned, in 1673. A similar scheme was also used against the Khmer Empire. The campaign started in 1623 and continued until they occupied the whole of Kampuchea Krom.
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