(born May 19, 1925/28, Kompong Thom province, Cambodiadied April 15, 1998, near Anlong Veng) Prime minister of Cambodia. He joined the anti-French resistance under Ho Chi Minh in the 1940s and became a member of the Cambodian Communist Party in 1946. After studying radio technology in Paris, he returned to Cambodia in 1953 and taught French until he fell under police suspicion in 1963. For the next 12 years he built up the Communist Party. U.S. anticommunist activity in Cambodia in the early 1970s, including helping to depose Norodom Sihanouk and a bombing campaign in the countryside, drove many to join him. In 1975 his Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh, which he ordered entirely evacuated. Even the sick were wheeled out in hospital beds, and in the first weeks it is estimated that tens of thousands died. The ruthlessness with which he pursued his intention to return to year zero and create an ethnically pure, agrarian, communist state resulted in the deaths of one to two million people. Overthrown by the Vietnamese in 1979, he led an anti-Vietnamese guerrilla war until he was repudiated by the Khmer Rouge and sentenced to life imprisonment (1997); he died the next year.