Festivities Marked by Low Crime Rate, Say Officials

The three-day Khmer New Year holiday was marked by a low crime rate and good public order in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and in Siem Reap province, officials said Monday.

Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said that no robbery was reported in the capital on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. And, he added, “there [were] no children who splashed water at people.”

Some good-natured water and talcum powder fights were ob­served breaking out in the city over the weekend. But Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun said that overall, “we had good security this year.”

Sboang Sarath, Sihanoukville deputy governor, estimated that 35,000 to 37,000 local tourists visited the seaside town for the holiday. One man drowned on Saturday, but security in general has improved over previous years, he said.

Cambodians flocked to Siem Reap province said provincial Governor Sou Phirin, adding that few robberies and traffic accidents were reported.

However, Moeung Sonn, president of the National Association of Tourism Enterprise and owner of Eurasie Travel, claimed that fewer Cambodians traveled this year.

The rising cost of transport, food and lodging during the holiday may have been one factor, he said.

But superstitious revelers may also have been reluctant to travel be­cause of this year’s inauspicious fore­cast by fortune tellers, Moeung Sonn added.

Traffic accident data will not be compiled for several days, but indications are the rate will be higher than last year, said Sem Panhavuth, manager of the Road Traffic Accident and Victim Information System.

There were reports of serious accidents and casualties on the notoriously dangerous National Road 4, and nine people died in one accident alone in Kompong Cham province on Sunday when a private car collided with a large truck, he said.

(Reporting by Yun Samean, Kim Chan and Elizabeth Tomei)


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