F’pec Senator, Survivor of KR Camp, Dead at 74

Funcinpec Senator Keo Bun Thuok, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge’s Boeng Trabek camp, died Tuesday, her sister Keo Srangat said Wednesday. She was 74.

The cause of her death was not im­mediately known, but she had long suffered from diabetes, heart disease and high blood pres­sure.

Among the dignitaries at Keo Bun Thuok’s funeral Wednesday morning at Wat Langka were Prince Sisowath Chivan Monirak, first vice president of the Senate, and Kong Sam Ol, minister of the royal palace.

Keo Bun Thuok’s body will be cre­mated at the park in front of Wat Botum on Friday.

One of retired King Norodom Sihanouk’s two appointees to the Senate in 1999, Keo Bun Thuok was also one of only 8 women originally chosen out of the 61 seats reserved for appointees.

“I wish to express my profound sadness and share my condolence,” the retired King wrote in a message to the senator’s family and posted on his Web site Wed­nes­day.

“On this occasion I wish to recall her achievement as a nationalist and a real Sihanouk­ist.”

Norodom Sihanouk also lauded her for in 1979 supporting his “ struggle against foreign [occupation].”

Born in Battambang on De­cember 26, 1930, Keo Bun Thuok attended university in France and held various government posts during Norodom Si­hanouk’s Sangkum Reastr Niy­um regime.

After the 1970 coup, she joined the Khmer National Recon­ci­liation Front and served as its representative in Paris.

Lured back to Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge in 1976, she was forced to work at the Boeng Tra­bek camp but survived the or­­deal.

From 1979 to 1982, Keo Bun Thuok taught French in Ho Chi Minh City. She briefly lived in France before being sent in 1987 to the US to serve the Permanent Mission of Cambodia at the UN, working there until 1990.

From 1993 to 1997 she served as an adviser to the Cambodian am­bassador in Washington.

Keo Bun Thuok is survived by three children and her husband, Eang Kun Saky.

 

 

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