Forum Displaces Vehicles, Vendors, Homeless

Phnom Penh automobile drivers, street vendors and the homeless will be among those most affected by security measures for the Asean Regional Forum, city officials said Monday.

Tep Yuth, city deputy chief of police, said vendors, street children and illegally parked cars will not be permitted along major roads such as Norodom and Mao Tse-tung boulevards.

A letter from Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema, disseminated through radio and television June 9, detailed the parking rules to be observed during the summit and warned that illegally parked vehicles will be towed.

Mann Chhoeurn, municipal chief of Cabinet, said towing cars, rather than waiting for the owners to return, will free police for more frequent patrols. In addition, curbside vendors selling food, gas and other goods will be banned from major arteries.

Tep Yuth said the measures are necessary for security.

“We do not use our power to oppress people,” he said. Street children will be removed from main roads and placed in the care of NGOs, he added.

Dave Harding, technical adviser at Friends, an NGO that provides services to street children, said his organization is trying to cooperate with municipal authorities by making its facilities available 24 hours a day. Nonetheless he called it a “very acute situation.”

The strictest security in the city is at the Hotel Inter-Continental, host of the meetings. General Manager Edwin Bucher said Monday a staff of more than 300 would ensure that “nobody gets into or out of the hotel without be­ing checked.”

(Additional reporting by Alex Halperin)

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