Angelina buys stunning secret hideaway in remote Cambodian jungle
Some random news about some land and a hideaway that Angelina has bought. You can read the whole article and see photos at The Daily Mail (UK).
This is the stunning secret hideaway Angelina Jolie is planning to buy – to expand the jungle paradise she bought from a Khmer Rouge commander accused of mass murder.
Pictured for the first time, Ms Jolie’s remote idyll in northeast Cambodia features tranquil jungle oases and beautiful plant species but its beauty hides a dark past.
The 7.5 hectare tract of land, which doubles as a compound for her charity MJP Foundation, was bought in 2002 from Ta Tith, an ex regime official formally charged in 2015 with committing genocide during the ‘Killing Fields’ reign of terror.
MailOnline can reveal that the 41-year-old took time out from promoting her new film about Cambodia’s horrific genocide forty years ago to ask representatives to offer £32,000 for the land next door, which is owned by a former Khmer Rouge soldier.
Rieng Cheat, who served under Ta Tith and called him ‘a good man’, gave a tour of the property and said: ‘I am happy we are selling to this famous lady. We see Angelina whenever she visits and she is always very friendly.’
The humanitarian icon flew to a remote part of northwest Cambodia after a screening of the movie she directed First They Killed My Father in Siem Reap and later made a £32,000 offer through her charity for a stunning 2.5 hectare plot of riverside land.
The land is directly next to a heavily-guarded jungle hideaway that Jolie, a UNHCR goodwill ambassador, bought in 2002 from a notorious commander accused of genocide and crimes against humanity during the Khmer Rouge reign of terror 40 years ago. He was accused of the mass murders in 2015.
Confirming the sale for the first time, reclusive Yim Tith – charged with genocide by UN prosecutors after 600,000 people died in the region under his control – told an undercover Mail Online reporter he was told his land would be confiscated if he did not sell to Jolie.
Jolie has since built a holiday home on the plot along with a forestry base for the charity she runs with her adopted Cambodian son Maddox, 15, the Maddox Jolie Pitt (MJP) Foundation. Villagers say she is planning an eco-resort on the once heavily land-mined site.
Jolie’s new land deal – negotiated as she was in Cambodia for Netflix-funded screenings of her Cambodian genocide drama – is with a former Khmer Rouge soldier Rieng Cheat who served under Yim Tith and still refers to the accused mass murderer as ‘boss’.
Yim Tith – known as Ta Tith (Grandfather Tith) in revolutionary times – was commander for northwest Cambodia during Maoist dictator Pol Pot’s Year Zero regime from 1975 to 1979 when more than two million people died through mass executions, relocation and starvation.
Jolie’s Cambodian-language movie, to be released later this year, is based on Loung Ung’s harrowing account of how as a young girl she escaped from the Khmer Rouge regime that killed her parents and siblings.
Now in his 80s, Yim Tith was charged with genocide in December 2015 but remains free and since selling his jungle home to Jolie in 2002 he has lived quietly with his wife in a comfortable single-storey rural home 20 miles away where he tends an orchard of dragon fruit trees.
Speaking by phone, Yim Tith confirmed to a Phnom Penh-based journalist working for Mail Online that he reluctantly sold his land to Jolie after being pressured by government officials who warned him the land would be requisitioned for a wildlife reserve if he did not.
‘I didn’t want to sell, but the government told me they would take control of the land if I did not,’ he said, confirming the deal for the first time. ‘We decided to accept the offer for little money and leave rather than be forced to leave with no money at all.’
Yim Tith claimed he received ‘around US$7,000 to US$8,000’ for selling the land in Samlot village near Battambang to Jolie although earlier reports based on documents from the deal suggest he may have been paid at least US$25,000.
The land was bought along with surrounding plots also owned by former Khmer Rouge fighters through the Maddox Jolie Pitt (MJP) Foundation set up by Jolie in her adopted son’s name to develop forestry sites and promote peace in the heavily-mined former war zone.
Jolie took Cambodian citizenship in 2005 and has a close relationship with the country’s rulers, meeting both Prime Minister Hun Sen – himself a former senior Khmer Rouge officer – and the King of Cambodia on her recent visits.
Rieng Cheat, 52, said he agreed to sell his land to Jolie for US$40,000 after she flew with colleagues in two helicopters from Siem Reap last Monday for a seven-hour visit during which her charity’s representative offered US$30,000 for his land.
The representative returned on Sunday and increased the offer to US$40,000 on Sunday when Cheat told him other buyers were interested in the plot. A preliminary agreement has now been signed and thumb-printed, he said.
Cheat, a Khmer Rouge soldier from 1981 until the early 1990s, said he and his family were preparing to give up the tin-roofed shacks and smallholding with pigs and ducks which has been their home for 20 years once the deal was completed.
‘We have lived here for many years and they have asked us about selling to Angelina before, but we said we weren’t interested,’ he said. ‘This time, however, we decided it was a good offer and we should accept and move to another property in a nearby village.
‘I am happy we are selling to this famous lady. We see Angelina whenever she visits and she is always very friendly. She is very thin and she has lots of tattoos, but she is pretty.’
Cheat’s wife mother-of-five Chum Ny, 48, said Jolie would walk past the hut where they live on her way to swim in the river or on her way to a rock pool at the rear entrance of Jolie’s property.
‘She goes swimming in the morning and the evening when she is here – sometime alone and sometimes with her husband and colleagues and her children,’ she said. ‘I’ve seen her husband here too. He is a little bit fat and pale skinned but he seems very nice too.
‘Angelina goes down to the river wearing just her pyjamas and a swimming suit. She is very pretty in the films but when we see her in real life she is not so glamorous.’
Jolie flew in with her staff last Monday, staying from 8 am until 3 pm, Chum said. The director of her charity spoke to Chum and her husband offering to buy the land.
‘They said they wanted to extend Angelina’s property and let the trees grow back on the hillside leading to the river,’ she said.
Chum said she had been inside the heavily guarded complex owned by Jolie. ‘They have three houses hidden away inside the complex. They are very beautiful homes and Angelina usually stays here for a few days whenever she comes to Cambodia,’ she said.
Cheat – now an officer in the Cambodian army with responsibility for border control – proudly showed off a bullet wound to his stomach and mine blast injuries to his arms and face sustained in the long guerrilla war the Khmer Rouge waged against the Vietnamese.
‘I served under Ta Tith – he is my boss,’ he said. ‘The commander is a good man and a man who loves his army.’
Cheat said he had to clear 50 to 60 landmines from the riverside area when he first moved to the plot. The surrounding hillsides are still heavily mined and Cheat said: ‘When there are hill fires on the other side of the river, you will sometimes see the mines explode.’
Yim Tith faces a litany of charges from UN prosecutors including genocide and crimes against humanity including murder, enslavement, deportation, unlawful deportation of civilians and forced marriage.
Between 71,000 and 83,000 people alone are believed to have died in the prisons and execution sites Yim Tith operated. Hundreds of thousands more died from starvation and forced relocation.
With UN prosecutors facing resistance to their trials, however, his case may never come to court, leaving him free to tend his dragon trees in a lawless and isolated part of Cambodia where loyalties to the former Khmer Rouge leaders accused of atrocities remain strong.
Jolie’s charity the MJP Foundation says it is committed to ‘creating peace and stability in all communities by planning and implementing interventions that prevent negative environmental changes’.
Its website says: ‘Working with impoverished rural villagers and local governments to alleviate food insecurity and increase access to basic primary healthcare and education, the Foundation works to implement projects that build healthy and vibrant communities.’
Representatives for Angelina Jolie did not return requests for comment.