3. Registration as "Citizen Control"

3.7 Cambodia

In the 1920's and 1930's, escalating levels of violence by armed bandits in the rural areas of Cambodia, combined with political insecurities over rebellions in neighbouring Indonesia, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, and the Phillipines, prompted French colonial administrators to establish Cambodia's firearm controls (Simkin, et al., 1994, p.305).

Predicated on a system of extremely restricted owner licensing, the end result was that relatively few Cambodians, with the exception of the military and the upper classes, owner firearms (Simkin, et al., 1994, p. 306) 14 .

After achieving complete political power in 1975, following a brutal five year civil war, the soldiers of the Khmer Rouge (Cambodian Communists under the command of Pol Pot 15 ) enforced their own particular method of "gun control". They would search villages for weapons, and after the search had been completed the civilian population would be relocated to the rural areas of Cambodia (renamed Democratic Kampuchea in 1975). Their property would be destroyed or confiscated (Simkin, et al., 1994, p.306, p.313).

Those Cambodians who were legally in possession of their firearms were already well known to the authorities since they were required to have permits and to be fingerprinted. Many of these individuals had been active in the ancien regime and were subsequently liquidated by the Khmer Rouge (Simkin, et al., 1994, p.306).

The Khmer Rouge destroyed every trace of the previous society including books, schools, banks, and religious institutions. Cities and towns were vacated and the population forced to grow rice for export. The income was supposed to pay for importing industrial equipment which never came (Simkin, et al., 1994, p.303).

Members of the "educated" classes were killed (Simkin, et al., 1994, p.313). The population was forced to labour under exhauting conditions enforced by the brutality of the Khmer Rouge (Simkin, et al., 1994, pp.313-315).

In 1977, Khmer Rouge forces raided into neighbouring Vietnam. It was a fatal mistake. On 25 December, 1978, the Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia. Pol Pot and the remnants of the Khmer Rouge fled into Thailand (Simkin, et al.., 1994, p.316) 16 .