A MAN who was held captive in an oven and suffered the loss of 60 members of his family in the Cambodian genocide, said seeing three masked intruders smash into his Basingstoke home was more terrifying than Pol Pot.

Sokphal Din suffered the terrifying ordeal on the same day he found out he was to be recognised in the New Year Honours list for his services to Holocaust Education.

The 62-year-old, from Abbey Road, Popley, fled his home country aged 17 when Pol Pot’s Khumer Rouge regime pushed Cambodia towards Communism, resulting in the killing of an estimated 2.2 million people between 1975 and 1979, including Sokphal’s father and brother.

He rebuilt his life in Basingstoke after a cousin sponsored him through the Red Cross to come to the country in 1987, having spent years in a Thai refugee camp.

However, Sokphal has now been left too scared to sleep at night after three men smashed through the front door of his home, with one brandishing a metal pole.

He said: “In the morning I received a letter telling me I was to receive a BEM (British Empire Medal) and I was excited. In the evening, three men forced their way into my home and smashed the door and tried to rob me.”

The masked intruders, who were all wearing balaclavas, set a firework off in the garden to hide the sound of them breaking through the door.

The incident brought back awful memories for Sokphal of two soldiers coming to his home in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975.

Sokphal opened the door to the soldiers wearing all black, one of whom pointed a gun at him and threatened to shoot his family if they did not leave their home immediately and get out of the city.

The freelance translator who had to give up on his dreams of becoming a doctor, has suffered numerous traumas throughout his life, including being kept captive in a brick oven by the Vietnamese Army, and working seven days a week in the Killing Fields, with just three spoonful of rice a day to eat.

He thought he was safe in England, but speaking of the moment the masked men broke into his home, he said: “The image is worse than Pol Pot. They had balaclavas on and one had a metal bar around a metre in length and he was waving it at me.”

Sokphal was upstairs at the time and shouted at the men not to come up, before shouting for help out of the bathroom window.

The men told one of Sokphal’s two lodgers, who were both home, to lie on the floor and hand over his cash and watches.

However, when they heard Sokphal shouting upstairs they left the house empty-handed.

“I think they panicked,” said Sokphal, who works part-time in Sainsbury’s supermarket.

He said the incident on November 16 has caused him a huge amount of stress, resulting in him losing weight and struggling to sleep at night, feeling frightened every time he hears a sound.

“I was frightened and didn’t want to stay in the house anymore,” he said, adding: “Every tiny noise frightened me. It’s so unfair. I could have had a heart attack.”

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: “I can confirm we received a report of three masked men entering a property in Abbey Road around 8.30pm on November 16. No injuries were reported and nothing was taken. Anyone with information can call 101, quoting 44190412579.”