HOF024: Charlie LIM

In 1976, Charlie Lim was fifteen years of age. He was sent to an overcrowded concentration camp in Cambodia. There, he was sentenced to 9 months of imprisonment for peeling bamboo sticks to feed his family. At the camp, he was beaten and often mistreated.

After his sentence, he was released and returned to his village to find his family. His village was once a thriving hamlet of 14,000 people. When he returned, it had dwindled to a population of 4,000 people. Victims of a corrupt and repressive dictatorship, most of his family, including eight siblings, his parents, and grandfather, passed away due to starvation. Only one of his sisters survived. She had been spared because she laboured for local authorities on the front lines.

After the war, he and his sister returned to Phnom Penh where he took on many jobs. Eventually, he was able to make his way to the Thai border.

Since his arrival in Canada, he has performed a variety of menial jobs and has taught himself English and economics. Now, he owns several businesses and is married with two children.