The Story of a Cambodian Refugee in Southern California

Forty years ago today, Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia. They quickly turned the country into what was essentially one large prison camp. Cities were emptied, anyone suspected of being educated was killed, and nearly every Cambodian was forced into grueling manual labor. Two million Cambodians died in four years. In 1979, the Vietnamese successfully invaded Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge fled. So did tens of thousands of Cambodians, many of whom ultimately made their way to the U.S., and Southern California in particular. We speak to one of the refugees who ended up here about his family history and current work with the local Cambodian-American community.