City Official Reports Dramatic Increase in Crime

Despite attempts to improve se­curity around the capital, there were almost 100 more crimes re­ported to police for the first half of the year compared to 2004, officials said Tuesday.

“Crime has dramatically in­creased,” said Mam Bun Neang, first deputy governor of Phnom Penh. “Particularly armed robber­ies, which resulted in people being killed and injured.”

Nuon Somet, municipal cabinet chief, said there were 512 crimes reported to police from January to June as compared to 427 reported for the same period last year. Of those, 297 were armed robberies while 14 people were murdered and seven raped, he said.

Mam Bun Neang blamed the in­creasing amount of violent crime on a similar rise in gambling, with ma­ny young people using the mon­ey they make from robberies at games of chance.

In addition, he said, drug use has also increased.

“The number of crimes has in­creased and has affected security and public order,” he said, “and made many families concerned about their children’s futures.”

But Municipal Police Chief Heng Pov blamed the increase on the courts, which he alleged have been releasing criminals without trials instead of putting them be­hind bars.

In March, Heng Pov made similar accusations that led Prime Min­ister Hun Sen to announce his “iron fist” crackdown on corruption within the judiciary.

Heng Pov said he expects the crime rate to drop over the next six months as a result of Hun Sen’s actions.

Nuon Somet said 10 brothels were also closed with 14 owners ar­rested and 114 women rescued. Po­lice confiscated 51,341 yama pills, 1,839 ecstasy pills, eight small bags of heroin and arrested 108 drug dealers, he added.

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