Dozens of men were arrested on the streets of Battambang city and drug-tested in the early hours of on Monday morning in an effort to restore public safety following a surge in crimes, officials said.
At least 50 men who had been scattered across the city’s parks and other public spaces were rounded up and taken to provincial police headquarters, deputy provincial police chief Chet Vanny said.
Mr. Vanny said the police operation was in response to an increase in robberies, rapes and public fights, but, when pressed, said he could not remember any official police data that supported his claims.
“This is police work. I cannot describe the whole issue to you. Why are you asking me for so much detail?” he said.
“We rounded up those gang youth to prevent insecurity in our society,” he added.
“The crimes are always caused by those gang youths. That’s why we rounded them up.”
Of the men arrested—all of whom are aged over 19 and predominantly work in construction—22 were detained after testing positive for drugs, while others were “educated” and sent home with their parents, Mr. Vanny said.
“Now we are asking for advice from the prosecutor about what to do with them,” he said.