Firecrackers’ Pop Mistaken For Attack CFF Attack

Memories of the Nov 24 attack by the Cambodian Freedom Fight­ers returned last week as the sound of firecrackers filled the streets of Phnom Penh in celebration of the Lunar New Year.

Many Cambodians, frightened by the exploding fireworks, voiced frustration at local authorities for not cracking down more heavily on the New Year’s revelers who set them off.

“It is terrible and it makes me scared,” Oum Chantha, a resident of Chamkar Mon district said Friday. “Worries about another Cam­bodian Freedom Fighters attack are still with people, so people should not play games that cause disasters to society.”

Khon Vannath, another Phnom Penh resident, said someone threw fireworks under his motorbike as he was driving on the street, confusing and scaring him.

“When I heard the fireworks, I thought I was being robbed,” Khon Vannath said. “I thought the robbers shot at the ground in order to stop me.”

Local police, however, say  most of the fireworks went off  Wednesday, the first day of the Year of the Snake.

Police prevented many people from setting off fireworks on the second and third day of the Lunar New Year after they confiscated them from local businessmen who were selling them, said Seng Vanna, deputy police commissioner in Phnom Penh.

“We can’t stop this unless there is cooperation from the people, but people are selling fireworks in shops at the market,” he said.

Phnom Penh police, using a loudspeaker, appealed to people along the streets to cooperate with authorities, Seng Vanna said.

Authorities will call in people involved in selling fireworks to educate them on the dangers of fireworks as well as the confusion the fireworks caused, said Mann Chhoeun, cabinet chief of Phnom Penh municipality.

“We could not control 100 percent of the fireworks,” Mann Chhoeun said, “but it is better than previous years, which had fireworks mixed with gunfire.”

 

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