China-Donated Surveillance Cameras Go Live

Five months after plainclothes Chinese police officers began installing more than 200 surveillance cameras at intersections in Phnom Penh, Interior Ministry officials on Tuesday switched them on.

The cameras were a gift from Beijing, officially to help Cambodian authorities monitor crime and traffic in the capital, and were installed by officers from China’s Ministry of Public Security beginning in July. Thirty-two square meters of monitors were set up in a new command center at the National Police headquarters.

On Tuesday—just over a week before the country’s new traffic law comes into effect on January 1—the surveillance system was made operational, according to Sorm Thearuth, chief of the National Police’s radio communications bureau, whose officers will man the command center.

Mr. Thearuth said the National Police also held a ceremony to thank their Chinese benefactors.

“Today we offered congratulations to China’s Ministry of Public Security for their donation to Kingdom of Cambodia,” Mr. Thearuth said, explaining that he could not comment further because he was still at a “party” with Chinese officials.

Mr. Thearuth’s boss, Min Sovanna, director of the radio communications department, could not be reached.

In August 2014, the National Police reported that China would donate more than $3 million for the surveillance system.

Deputy National Police Commissioner Him Yan said on Tuesday that the cameras would be used to maintain order on Phnom Penh’s often chaotic streets, and to keep tabs on any other criminal acts occurring along the capital’s roads.

“The surveillance cameras are necessary equipment to monitor the traffic situation and other offenses along the street…. They will help to collect images to serve security affairs, like to see who has violated the traffic law,” Lieutenant General Yan said.

He added that Beijing was expected to donate more surveillance equipment sometime in the near future.

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