Celebrations Safer, Dryer in Year of Horse

Only one person has been reported killed in Phnom Penh in a traffic accident over the Khmer New Year holiday.

Between five and seven people are usually killed in the city over the holiday, said Suon Chheang­ly, Phnom Penh municipal police chief. He noted that police have banned water-throwing along roads this year.

Suon Chheangly did not know the name of the person who died, but said he had driven into a tree. He noted many people had left Phnom Penh to visit the countryside, which contributed to the low fatality rate.

Phnom Penh seemed virtually empty. Military police stationed along the main roads said there wasn’t much going on.

“It is too quiet and there are only a few people traveling on the road, even at night,” said an officer posted on Norodom Boule­vard, who asked not to be named.

He said he didn’t mind the quiet duty, because at least he wasn’t getting dusty. He said he now has a good idea what Phnom Penh looked like during the Khmer Rouge regime, when the city was virtually deserted.

In Siem Reap and Battambang, police also reported few problems. Keng Sum, deputy police chief in Siem Reap, said Tuesday there were fewer traffic accidents because the roads have been improved and the city has in­stalled traffic lights.

“We also deployed traffic police along the road to inform people through loudspeakers to drive slowly,” he said. “This year, more people than ever traveled to Angkor Wat, but nothing frightened them and they were happy with family members.”

Heng Chantha, Battambang police chief, said there had been no terrorist activities in the prov­ince over the holidays. “People are enjoying themselves and playing traditional Cambo­dian games all day and night,” he said.

In Sihanoukville, one vendor said sales of water guns were so poor he was selling them at cost just to get rid of them because the government had said they were dangerous.

(Addition­al reporting by Ham Samnang)



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