Gov’t Bans Graphic PMT Plane Crash VCDs

The Ministry of Information has requested the confiscation of VCDs showing the victims of last month’s PMT Air plane crash in Kampot pro­vince and a second VCD showing a graphic traffic accident in Vietnam, according to a directive obtained Wednesday.

The directive, signed by the ministry’s Secretary of State Uk Prath­ana on July 20, was sent to the Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, the Council of Ministers and all provincial information departments.

“Please kindly cooperate and ban those VCDs from the market,” Uk Prathana wrote. “To sell VCDs of the dead violates the press code of conduct…. It is not nice to show the public an accident of a plane crash.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak said Wednesday that police are complying with the order and are confiscating the VCDs.

The graphic video footage from Kampot shows rescue workers digging through the plane wreckage, finding dead bodies and body parts. It shows armed forces led by National Military Police Comman­der Sao Sokha discovering the bodies of Korean women and children, as Sao Sokha reports by phone to his superiors. PMT Air’s flight U4 241 crashed in the mountains in Kampot while flying from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville on June 25. None of the plane’s 22 passengers—which included five Cam­bodians, 13 South Koreans, three Czech nationals and a Russian pilot—survived.

The separate VCD of a Viet­nam­ese traffic accident shows footage of the car wreck with badly injured victims—including some that have been decapitated—being pulled from their vehicles.

On Wednesday, the VCDs were on sale at shops on Sisowath Quay and Phsar Chas, Phsar Kandal, and by vendors in Hun Sen Park for less than $0.40. One vendor at the park who asked not to be named said she sold 10 to 15 copies of the VCD each day. Previous grotesque video footage that has turned up for sale in Phnom Penh’s included locally-made child pornography and footage of hostages being decapitated in Iraq.

The Ministry of Information does not know how many copies of the latest VCDs have been sold, said Chhum Socheat, cabinet chief for Information Minister Khieu Kanharith.

The ministry considers such videos immoral, he added.


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