The pagoda at Porpe Phnom was used as a prison and site of torture and killing by the Khmer Rouge. The basement of the pagoda was used to hold prisoners in almost total darkness. The pagoda was desecrated by the Khmer Rouge, who painted over the murals, destroyed the Buddhas, and used it as a place of torture. A local man told the team of having to clean blood from the walls of the temple when he returned to the site in 1979. A number of mass graves are located in the area. Some of these have been exhumed and the remains displayed in a stupa.
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