National Police Director-General Hok Lundy pledged Friday that battling kidnapping will be a priority in the new government, admitting frequent abductions of well-to-do residents for the last two years and has hampered foreign investment.
“I am concerned about deterioration of society’s values and about general security, especially security of foreign investors,” Hok Lundy said by phone. “Many investors have been chased out of the country.”
The powerful CPP police general said he has spread his resources throughout the country, using “undercover agents to every commune, every village to watch and investigate.”
Hok Lundy was speaking shortly after an anti-kidnapping training session held at the Interior Ministry. Police generals from Phnom Penh and surrounding provinces including Kompong Speu, Svay Rieng, Kandal and Kompong Cham gathered Thursday and Friday mornings for the seminar led by a French law enforcement expert.
Most of the kidnapping victims in the past year have been prominent business figures or family members, particularly ethnic Chinese. Western aid workers and high-ranking government officials have not been immune. Kidnappers abducted a relative of Chea Song, former agriculture secretary of state who is now the minister. Chea Song is a close associate of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Three NGO workers were kidnapped this month in Oddar Meanchey, but released earlier this week.
Hok Lundy said the failure to bring an end to kidnapping was because the families of victims often do not report abductions and of a lack of policemen trained in handling kidnapping cases. He also cited a lack of equipment.
“It’s a very difficult type of crime to handle,” he said.
The national police director said Interior co-Minister Sar Kheng proposed authorities wipe out the kidnapping problem in the first three months of 1999.