Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Monday ordered provincial and municipal governors to speed up security preparations for the New Year, as Cambodia prepares for the Year of the Tiger.
During the holiday, Cambodians travel from Phnom Penh and other cities to their homes in the provinces, where they spend three days or more in revelry, in hopes of welcoming a year of prosperity and happiness. But it can also be a dangerous time.
“We must suppress the use of illegal weapons and explosives that can be dangerous to society,” Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told VOA Khmer Monday.
“The Ministry of Interior issued advice to the provincial and Phnom Penh governors to increase protection and ensure security and make good arrangements for public order,” Khieu Sopheak said.
The New Year holiday should be a time of fun, “without trouble from gangsters,” he said.
Phnom Penh will deploy thousands of police to patrol the streets and maintain safety where locals congregate to play traditional games around the city, Phnom Penh Police Chief Touch Naroth said.
“We must prevent young gangsters from troubling the popular games during the Khmer New Year,” he said. “We will particularly prevent various offenses, like cases of thievery, pick-pocketing, robbing travelers, other robberies and murders, as well as traffic incidents.”
Sarth Nady, chief of Siem Reap police, said local forces had been sent to popular sites like Angkor Wat, Baray Tek Thla reservoir and Phnom Kulen mountain.
“We have 1,000 policemen, including secret forces, protecting the safety of people,” he said.