Anlong Veng was the last stronghold of the communist Khmer Rouge regime, which ruled Cambodia brutally from 1975-79, when it forced city dwellers into the countryside to work on collective farms. The result was some 3 million deaths due to executions, torture, beatings, hard labour, malnutrition, disease, and lack of medical care. The Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot was Brother Number One, while its military chief Ta Mok was Brother Number Five. Responsible for countless massacres as well as purges within the party, Ta Mok was also called The Butcher.
Ta Mok remained powerful after the Khmer Rouge was overthrown in 1979, controlling much of this northern area of Cambodia and 3-5,000 guerillas from this base. After a party split in 1997 (yes, the Khmer Rouge survived almost 20 years after it was 'overthrown'), Ta Mok took control, placing Pol Pot under house arrest. Following a government attack on Ta Mok's house in 1998, he fled to the forest with Pol Pot, who died a few days later. Ta Mok was captured at the Thai border in 1999 and died in prison of heart complications in 2006.
Travelers interested in Cambodia's history can combine a visit to Pol Pot's cremation site with a stop at Ta Mok's House. Overlooking a lake that Ta Mok had made, the rustic house is decorated with a map of Cambodia and murals of Angkor Wat and nearby Preah Vihear. The cages at the front of the house apparently held tigers. The house is popular with Cambodian tourists, canoodling couples and monks.