Cops Say City Crime Down in 1999

Serious crimes declined by more than 15 percent in Phnom Penh last year, according to the municipal police annual report.

A total of 860 serious crimes such as murders, assault and kidnappings took place in the capital, down 15.8 percent from 1,021 in 1998, according to the report, unveiled by Municipal Police Chief Suon Chhengly last week at the city police annual meeting.

“Crime in 1998 was very high but it has reduced step by step in 1999,” Suon Chhengly said in an interview. “In 2000 the figures are already going down.”

For example, he said, kidnappings have fallen from two or three a month last year to only two so far this year.

He attributed the reduction of serious crime in part to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s demand that police do a better job of catching criminals. Mun­icipal police arrested a total of 1,211 offenders in connection with the serious crimes, according to the report.

But 39 suspects were either killed by police or mobs, according to the report. Opposition lead­er Sam Rainsy and human rights workers have heavily criticized the extrajudicial killings of suspected thieves and the like.

Although traffic accidents in Phnom Penh were down to 391 in 1999 compared with 496 in 1998, deaths rose from 98 to 122, according to Ek Rindy, deputy chief of traffic police.





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