Hun Sen Beefs Up His Security This Year

Security for the protection of Prime Minister Hun Sen will be tightened in the coming year, Phnom Penh municipal police officials announced Monday at a conference to discuss their activities in 2003 and plans for 2004.

Deputy Municipal Police Chief Heng Vanna told participants at City Hall that the prime minister’s security would be beefed up in general, including at his residence near the Independence Monument and at his home in Takhmau town, Kandal province.

“We are going to strengthen the security of Prime Minister Hun Sen everywhere he goes,” Heng Vanna told the conference.

Heng Vanna did not say why the prime minister needed extra security.

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said 2003 was a stormy year for the capital city’s security.

In January 2003, the Thai Em­bassy was gutted and more than $50 million in damage was done to Thai-owned businesses and properties during six hours of un­checked rioting by mobs of teen­age boys and girls.

Kep Chuktema also criticized un­named political figures who he claimed incited political instability during the national elections year.

“We are ashamed for having some politicians who have lied to the people and are not acting responsibly with the nation,” he said.

Almost six months after the election, the Sam Rainsy Party and Funcinpec’s Alliance of Democrats have not reached an agreement on how to form a government with Hun Sen’s CPP.

In the political vacuum, municipal officials have banned all public demonstrations, and police have brutally cracked down on those attempting to exercise the constitutional right to protest peacefully.

Kep Chuktema also told police on Monday that they should do a better job as most criminals were being released by the courts because of a lack of evidence gathered by police.

“Abroad, if the police have enough evidence to arrest, the police can even catch and arrest the prime minister who commits corruption,” Kep Chuktema said.

In December the municipality released its annual crime report which revealed an almost 26 percent jump in serious crimes reported to police in 2003 compared to 2002. Minor crimes also jumped to 992 cases in 2003 from 899 cases in 2002.

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