Friends of Chhouk Rin said Monday that the former Khmer Rouge commander is too sick to survive long hiding in the jungle, where he has reportedly fled to avoid capture.
Chhouk Rin disappeared into the jungles of Kampot province’s Phnom Voar ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision last week to uphold his life sentence, his brother Chhouk Korb said Sunday.
“There is no question he is sick,” said Linda McKinney, who has known Chhouk Rin for 10 years. “Physically, he is at risk.”
The Supreme Court on Feb 15 ordered Chhouk Rin imprisoned for his role in the killing of 13 Cambodians and the abduction and execution of three Western backpackers, following a 1994 Kampot train-hijacking.
Chhouk Rin has suffered from an undisclosed illness for several years.
“Chhouk Rin will only survive one or two months in the jungle if he does not have a proper place to live and enough food to eat,” his doctor, Ouch Nuon, said.
It should be easy to hide in the jungle, but Chhouk Rin, who is suffering respiratory problems and internal bleeding, will not likely last longer than six months on the run, a Phnom Voar friend of Chhouk Rin said on condition of anonymity.
Chhouk Rin is planning to write to King Norodom Sihamoni from hiding, requesting a pardon, the friend said.
Chhouk Rin remains a popular figure in Phnom Voar, as he distributed land to the area’s inhabitants after defecting to the government, the friend added.
“Some people will help him hide and give him food,” the friend said.
A legal representative of Dorothy Slater, the mother of British victim Mark Slater, called for Chhouk Rin to be arrested quickly. “The government has lots of [Khmer Rouge] contacts. It comes down to will,” the representative said.
Peter Wilson, father of the Australian victim, David Wilson, met news of Chhouk Rin’s disappearance with resignation, the Australian Associated Press reported Friday.
“He can do what he likes—it’s just a farce,” Wilson told AAP.
Chim Siphal, a judge at the Supreme Court hearing, said a warrant for Chhouk Rin’s arrest will be sent to the Kep Municipal Court soon, but did not specify when.