History of Koh Kong

Until the end of the 1990s, Koh Kong was one of the least secure parts of the country. Elements of the Khmer Rouge based in the lower Cardamoms still posed a serious threat to locals and travellers. The area was the scene of intermittent fighting between the government and Democratic Kampuchea forces until 1998.

On 21 April 1984, the Khmer Rouge captured the town of Koh Kong and held it for a night and day. They claimed via Khmer Rouge Radio to have killed 1,107 Vietnamese troops and injured 125 more during the battle. On June 6, 1985 Khmer Rouge troops attacked an outpost near the provincial town. Khmer Rouge Radio reported that they had killed 28 Vietnamese soldiers and injured 34 others. attackedKoh Kong casino with rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. As late as 1998, the Khmer Rouge were still active in the area. In November of that year, one of the last recorded incidents before the surrender of the remaining Khmer Rouge forces to the government occurred near the international border crossing outside of Koh Kong city. On Monday night at 6.10 p.m. the casino attached to the Koh Kong International Resort was attacked by elements of the Khmer Rouge. One Thai gambler was injured in the attack which involved rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and conventional rifles. The Trat police chief later stated that the attack was prompted by the casino failing to make a protection payment to the rebel group.

Koh Kong town is located just below the southern end of the Cardamom Mountains. The KahBpow river which runs through the town begins in the Cardamoms and runs down to join the Gulf of Thailand. The town’s relatively remote location, close to the Cardamoms and the Thai border, has made it the centre of an active wildlife smuggling trade. Much wildlife captured in the Central Cardamoms goes to supply the restaurants and fresh markets in Koh Kong town. Wild meat is usually for local consumption but various animals parts, bones, hides etc. are