Biography and Life Journey of Mr. Nhek

Birth and Studies

Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay (N.B.C) was born on 07 February 1958; in Ta Ong Khang Lech Village, Svay Chek Commune, Thmor Pourk District, Battambang Province. There are 10 siblings (7 brothers and 3 sisters) in his family. He is the second child and married to Mrs. Sam Sopheap with two daughters. His father was a carpenter and his mother was a small business woman.

Fleeing and Joining Resistance Movement against Khmer Rouge

From 17 April 1975 to March 1976; he was living in Khmer Rouge Regime in a mobile unit. In March 1976, he fled to Thailand, but was arrested and accused as intellectual by Khmer Rouge. In March 1976, he was imprisoned in a military base in Aranhaprathet District of Thailand for 4 months. In August 1976, he lived in Aranhaprathet Refugee Camp (Suon Thai Samatr) From 1976 to 1978, he moved to join a resistance movement against Khmer Rouge along the Cambodian-Thai borders, re- sponsible for securing medicines, materials, finances and weapons to support Khmer Sor Resistance Movement. He was arrested and imprisoned several times by Thai military police when he got outside the camp. In 1977 and 1978, he used to cooperate with Thai army to fight Red Thais who came down for training in Cambodian Territory through border pole No. 27.

Joining National Liberal Resistance Movement against Vietnamese Forces

On 01 January 1979, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay initiated a resistance movement with 7 people and 2 weapons in front of Nong Mark Mon Village in Thailand; west of Yeang Dongkum Village of Cambodia, near border pole Nor. 43 called Chumrom Chas (Old Camp). In March 1979, H.E Nhek Bun Chhay invited Mr. Van Saren, Mr. Khuong, Mr. Saveuy and Mr. Yan etc. who were fellow fighters against Khmer Rouge in the areas of Phnom Malai and Phnom Baraing Thleak to join the movement. Upon his arrival at the movement base, Mr. Van Saren also invited Mr. Andres Ouk Thol (Prince Soryavong) to join. In May 1979, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay met Mr. Kong Silah in Bangkok and invited to join the movement. In early 1980, when Mr. Kong Silah was staying in the camp, he was having conflict with Mr. Van Saren and Mr. Andres Ouk Thol. Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay led Mr. Kong Silah to establish another camp called Chum Rom Thmey (Nong Samith) or Camp No. 007. In mid 1980 Chum Rom Thmeny was occupied by Mr. In Sakhor and Mr. Moul Sary, who were appointed Chief and Deputy of the Camp by Mr. Kong Silah. Mr. Kong Silah and Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay and supporters had to move out of the camp and established another camp called Chum Rom Kok Kchhoung in between Chum Rom Chas and Chum Rom Thmey. One year after its operation, the camp was attacked by Thai army and Chum Rom Chas forces causing hundred of deaths to the people. Mr. Kong Silah escaped and re-established Nong Chan Camp in early 1980. On 31 August 1980, Mr. Kong Silah invited all the resistance movements along the border and inside the country to an assembly in Seung Changha in O’Chov District to establish a resistance movement called “Cambodian National Liberal Movement” or Mouvement de liberation Nation du Kampuchea in French or MOULINAKA in short. The assembly decided to appoint Mr. Kong Silah President of MOULINAKA, Mr. Nhem Sophon Vice President and Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was appointed commander of Battalion No. 124 and Mr. Khan Savoeun commander of Battalion No. 125 of MOULINAKA. Late 1981 Mr. Kong Silah was poisoned to death and Mr. Nhem Sophon was chosen as President of MOULINAKA and Mr. Duong Khem as Vice President. Late 1982, Vietnamese forces attacked Nong Chan, Russey Srok and Prey Preah Phnov Camps that were the strongholds of MOULINAKA. MOULINAKA forces; including their families; consisted of about 30,000 people. They were all evacuated to O’ Smach and Ta Tum bases. On 21 March 1981, His Majesty Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk found a movement called National United Front For Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative Cambodia (Le Front Unite Nation Pour un Cambodge Independant, Neutre, Pacifique et Cooperative) FUNCINPEC in short. It was joined by three big movements including MOULINAKA; led by Mr. Nhem Sophon; Khlaing Moeung Movement; led by Mr. Tuon Chay, based in Bak Ronos Camp near border pole No. 27 and Northern Movement (Odor Teus Movement); led by Mr. Svy Thoeun; based in O’ Smach and Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk appointed H.E In Tam his representative in Asia and Cambodia, based in O’Smach. On 04 September 1981, Samdech Ov announced the establishment of an army called Sihanoukist National Army (Army National Sihanoukist) ANS in short including troops from MOULINAKA as military division No. 1, Khlaing Moeung Movement as military division No. 2 and Northern Movement as military division No.3. Samdech Ov apppointed Gen. Tiep Ben General Chief of staff and Gen. Kim Men deputy general chief of staff; responsible for operation and H.E Tea Chamrath deputy general chief of staff; responsible for finance of ANS. Later on ANS established another military division called military division No. 5 with Prince Norodom Chakrapong as commander Division. This military division was also known as Royal Bodyguard and Prince Norodom Chakrapong was appointed deputy general chief of staff. Mr. Nhem Sophon was appointed commander of Military Division No.1, Mr Ton Chay, commander of Military Division No. 2, and Mr. Svy Thoeun; commander of Military Divison No. 3. After Military Division-Royal Bodyguard No. 5, another military division known as Military Division No. 6 was established with Gen. Kieng Vang as commander. In late 1983, Mr. Nhem Sophon died from malaria and Mr. Duong Khem was appointed commander of Military Division No. 1, Mr. Prak Sen and Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay were appointed deputy commanders of this division. In February 1985, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was sent to study at a military chief school in Thailand and later on in high military chief school in Thailand. In April 1985, Vietnamese troops invaded most of the resistance camps of the tripartite government along the border. Gen. King Men; as Deputy General Chief of Staff; was killed in Ta Tum battlefield in April 1985. After the death of Gen. King Men; Gen. Ton Chay was appointed Deputy General Chief of Staff of ANS. Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was appointed commander of Military Division No. 2 in place of Mr. Ton Chhay. On 27 April 1990, Sihanoukist National Army was renamed as National Army of Independent Kampuchea (Army National Kampuchea Indepedant-ANKI). Then His Majesty was in peace talk with Samdech Hun Sen and it was suggested that the army should not be personal in nature. Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was a military chief from Khmer Sor Movement and MOULINAKA, who was actively engaged in many big battlefields making his troops well known to the international arena and he was offered many medals by Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk. During election time in 1993, organized by UNTAC, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was appointed president of FUNCINPEC in Battambang and chief of security of FUNCINPEC during election time. After the general elections in 1993 organized by UNTAC Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was appointed first deputy commander-inchief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces by the Coalition Government led by FUNCINPEC and the Cambodian People’s Party. On 04 August 1996, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was appointed vice chairman of committee for supporting people reintegrated in the National Society in the North-west area (Government De- cision No. 34 ssr). Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was appointed chairman of committee for supporting Khmer Rouge Armed Forces (Decision of Joint Committee dated 06 May 1997). 12 August 1996 was the first time for Nhek Bun Chhay to meet Mr. Sok Pheap, Mr. Ee Chhien and Mr. Ieng Vuth etc. in order to negotiate for their reintegration into the national society. After his negotiation with Mr. Sok Pheap, Mr. Ee Chhien and Mr. Ieng Vuth, they decided to reintegrate with the national society. On 19 August 1996, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay took Mr. Pol Saroeun, Mr. Sou Kin Sun and Mr. Keo Pong to meet Mr. Sok Pheap, Mr. Ee Chhien and Mr. Ieng Vuth in person and then he handed over the tasks to Mr. Pol Saroeun to continue to find way to bring the Khmer Rouge compatriots from south of National Road No. 5 into the national society (Provision 4 of the Government Decision No. 34 ssr dated 04 August 1996). Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay continued negotiation with Khmer Rouge compatriots from north of National Road No. 5 including Phnom Chhat, and Anlong Veng etc. Military division No. 519 of Khmer Rouge based in Phnom Chhat decided to join the Royal Government and later on some other military divisions from Anlong Veng also agreed to join the Royal Government. However, some other Khmer Rouge military divisions led by Mr. Saroeun (#05) Mr. San (#06) and Mr. Khorn from Anlong Veng, who were loyal to Pol Pot, declined not join the Royal Government. Pol Pot, with the support from some troops, was accusing Mr. Son Sen of betraying in contacting the Royal Government and arrested and killed Mr. Son Sen and his whole family cruelly. At that time, Ta Mok, who had been put in house arrest by Pol Pot for a long time, stood up with some Khmer Rouge troops against Pol Pot and arrested him. Ta Mok organized a people trial for Pol Pot on 25 July 1997 and Mr. San (06), Mr. Saroeun (05) and Mr. Khorn, the commanders who supported Pol Pot were all murdered on Ta Mok’s order. June 1997, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay as the vice chairman of committee for supporting compatriots to join the national society from the north-west and with the order from Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Rannarith, approached Mr. Khiev Samphan in order to bring Khmer Rouge forces from Anlong Veng to join the national society and the Royal Government. He was approaching Mr. Khiev Samphan through Mr. Pich Bunreth and Mr. Tep Khunnal. As a result, Mr. Khiev Samphan agreed to join the national society. and the Royal Government through Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Rannarith as President of National United Front. The Royal Government appointed Mr. Khan Savoeun vice chairman of sub-committee No. 2, responsible for the northern part of National Road No. 5 (Royal Government Decision No. 34 dated 04 August 1996, Provision 4). March 1997, ordered by Gen. Khan Savoeun, a helicopter was carrying some provincial leaders and military officers to talk with Khmer Rouge foces in Anglong Veng. They were captured by the Khmer Rouge forces. The helicopter was destroyed and some military officers and provincial leaders were killed and some other were taken prisoners in Anlong Veng. On 5-6 July 1997 after the fire outbreak in Phnom Penh, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay travelled by walk for one month to O’ Smach base. From 5-6 July 1997 to the general elections time in 1998, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was a leader of resistance movement in O’Smach. In early 1999, Mr. Nhek Bun chhay returned to Phnom Penh and was appointed second vice president of the senate. In 2003, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was again appointed president of FUNCINPEC in Battambang Province. He stood for the general elections and was elected as a member of the National Assembly for Battambang Province. But after the election result was officially announced by the National Election Committee, he handed over his seat to H.E Ky Lum Ang. After the general elections in 2003, it was impossible to form a new government due a political deadlock. Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was involved in solving the conflict successfully leading to the formation of a coalition government between the Cambodian People’s Party and FUNCINPEC. 13 July 2004, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay, as the Acting Head of State, signed a complementary article to the Constitution to end the political deadlock. The situation was normalized after that. After the political deadlock and a new coalition government was formed, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Co-Minister of National Defense and was promoted 4-Gold Star General. On 26 February 2005, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was offered a topmost decoration of Cheatopaka “National Construction” In 2006, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay distributed motorcycles and battery-run bicycles to former resistance veterans for them to travel to work for the country. On 18 October 2006, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was leading a reform within FUNCINPEC. After the reform, he was appointed Secretary General of FUNCINPEC. April 2007, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay initiated to hold funerals for former resistance fighters of the tripartite resistance movement in Thmor Pourk District of Banteay Meanchey Province, Angkor Chum District of Siem Reap Province and Stong District of Kampong Thom Province. In each ceremony, there were thousands of attendees. Gifts both in materials and cash were distributed to families of the deceased. In July 2008, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was elected as a member of parliament in Banteay Meanchey Province and he has maintained his seat since then. In the fourth term of the current government (2008-2013), Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay was appointed Deputy Prime Minister. On 18 February 2010, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay received a PhD from St. Clements University of Switzerland.