05/09/2006, 00.00
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Thai movie set during Khmer genocide outrages Cambodians

Titled 'Ghost Game', the movie is fictional according to its producers. But references to crimes committed by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouges are blatant.

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Ghost Game is a horror film produced in Thailand, but it has provoked indignation in Cambodia because of its references to the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouges. The movie's producers claim that it is only fiction, but similarities to the genocide are blatantly close to the facts.

Observers said the name of the fictional prison, S-11, bore too close a resemblance to the S-21 prison where Pol Pot's henchmen abused and murdered prisoners between 1974 and 1979. Also known as Tuol Sleng, S-21 was a former high school used as a prison and interrogation centre during the brutal rein of the Khmer Rouge regime. Some 16,000 Cambodians were tortured, taken away for execution and murdered. It is now a genocide museum.

The movie trailer's opening credits reveal that 17,000 people were registered prisoners at S-11 during a four-year war.

The film features piles of skulls and bones inside S-11 similar to those that can be found at Cambodia's genocide museums.

The producers of Ghost Game wanted to film inside S-21 last year but were refused by the Cambodian government. Instead, they used a Thai prison.

Ghost Game's production company, Tifa, initially denied the film had anything to do with the Khmer Rouges, but later issued a public apology if the film offended anyone.

The film has outraged Cambodians and calls have been made to ban all Thai products. A leading Cambodian genocide researcher, Youk Chhang, has denounced the film as insensitive and a distortion of history for commercial purposes. 

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