Court Books 3 For Vandalism

Three part-time staff with Phnom Penh’s municipal government were charged in court Mon­day with allegedly damaging state property following last week’s mysterious break-in and vandalism at City Hall, officials said.

The three men—hired occasionally to fix electrical problems and deliver messages at the mu­nicipal building—have been ac­cused of carrying out the at­tack, in which two chairs were de­stroyed, 14 others had cushions ripped and vehicles parked in the nearby Ministry of Information were damaged, municipal sources said.

“The men smashed the municipal hall’s property last week,” said Deputy Court Prosecutor Yet Chak­riya.

Municipal officials down-played the vandalism, which took place in the early hours of Friday morning at the main conference hall where the Francophone mayors conference had just concluded.

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuk­tema said Monday that he was surprised such low-ranking staff had access to building keys.

A new security plan, requiring staff and guests to city hall to wear identity badges, will be introduced, Kep Chuk­­tema said.

‘The municipality is not a public place to enter freely…. Both mu­nicipal officials and guests will have to wear signs on their clothes to identify who are officials and who are guests,” he said.

Meanwhile, police were investigating another mysterious break-in at the Ministry of Rural Devel­op­ment sometime over the weekend. Nothing was taken by the intruders, who used glass-cutting equipment to enter offices of Minister Ly Thuch, said Municipal Penal Police Chief Sok Khemarin.

The minister’s office was left untouched, nothing was taken or broken, Sok Khemarin said.

Ly Thuch said Monday no reason had been found for the break-in, but the fact that nothing was touched frightened staff members who feared a bomb may have been planted.

Police did not find any explosive devices and an investigation is ongoing, Ly Thuch said, adding that the intruders may simply have been disturbed in their attempt to enter the office and abandoned the break-in.

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