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Police Installing CCTV Cameras at Major Intersections

A traffic photo at the Cambodian Independence Monument. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Cambodian national police have begun installing closed-circuit TV cameras at traffic lights, in hopes of better enforcing traffic laws and to assist authorities in solving crimes.

Keat Chantarith, a spokesman for the police, said the 20 cameras being installed now are just the beginning. Police hope to eventually cover the entire capital in surveillance.

“The cameras can, along with actual evidence, tell where congestion and accidents are, so we can immediately send our teams to facilitate,” he said.

Cambodia has a new traffic law, but it has done little to quell the chaos of Phnom Penh’s streets. Cambodians interviewed recently say they hope the CCTV cameras will help.

“With the cameras, people won’t dare violate the traffic law,” said Sok Lin, 25, who sells electronics in the capital.

But Phoeng Phavin, a 23-year-old university student, said the cameras won’t be enough. Traffic will improve “only if we strictly implement the law.”

Rights groups, meanwhile, are concerned the CCTV cameras could be used to store data on citizens.

Chak Sopheap, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said the procedures for how footage will be used should be made available. “Hopefully, it won’t violate individual rights,” she said.