Festival Crowd Left Parks Damaged, Police Say

Last week’s Water Festival saw little crime, though the mass exodus from the countryside to attend the three-day event left several of the capital’s parks damaged, officials said Sunday.

Phan Pheng, Daun Penh district police chief, said 22 people were arrested in the capital during the festival.

Five of the detained were sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court ac­cused of pickpocketing while the others, mostly picked up for public disorder offenses, were held by police for re-education, he said.

“The youngsters who made trouble or got into a fight disturbing the peace were picked up and detained for education,” he said, adding that they were released when their parents came to collect them.

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said the festival saw little crime compared to last year and that the festivities had gone by peacefully, though he added that the municipality has not yet calculated how much it will cost for repairs in the parks.

Sam Samuth, bureau chief for the municipality’s gardens, identified several parks that need attention.

“Parks along the riverside, in­clud­ing [the park] opposite the Royal Palace, Wat Phnom park and other major parks were seriously damaged,” he said, adding that repair work will start with planting new flowers, trees and grass.

According to private garbage-collecting firm Cintri, participants at this year’s festival produced a record high 480 tons of waste.

Cintri’s Deputy Director Sen Chan Roeun said  that trash did not always end up where it should have, even when Cintri provided bins.

“Although we provide garbage bins, they don’t always use the bins, but instead throw [the gar­bage] in the parks,” he said.

With some 300 additional workers deployed for the festival, Sen Chan Roeun said he believed that trash-collecting had been sufficient.

“We work very hard. If people understood how to keep the city clean, it would be easier for us,” he added.


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