Preparations Underway to Protect and Inform Water Festival Attendees

Over 9,000 municipal police and military police will be deployed to ensure the security of those attending the Water Festival in Phnom Penh from Nov 20 to 22, military police said yesterday.

Yesterday, Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema held a meeting to finalize a plan to protect domestic and foreign visitors to Phnom Penh. According to deputy military police chief Pong Savrith, who attended the meeting, 3 million people are expected to attend the Water Festival this year.

“Our military police forces will total 4,618 on the days of the event and municipal police will muster nearly the same amount,” said Mr Savrith.

According the master plan, the city will be broken into zones patrolled by set numbers of officers: Zone A, stretching from Wat Phnom commune in Daun Penh district to Tonle Bassac commune in Chamkar Mon district, will host 1,781 officers, while 2,838 officers will monitor Zone B, the waterfront area. Almost 3,000 law enforcement officials will be standing by at all times during the festival.

In order to provide information to festival attendees, the Tourism Ministry will re-open the tourist information office on Sisowath Quay across from the Royal Palace, Cambodia Hotels Association President Luu Meng, who is in charge of the project, said yesterday.

“We are still rebuilding the office, but we think we will be able to open in time for the festival in order to provide people with information,” said Mr Meng, adding that the office would cater to both visitors from the provinces and visitors from abroad by providing brochures, advice and wireless Internet service.

Mr Meng said that Water Festival was always a chaotic time, as people attempt to book rooms in the hotels along the Tonle Sap in order to get clear views of the boats parading down the river.

Chea Kean, head of the National Committee on the Water Festival, said that 357 boats had already registered to participate in the event, but that he expected more to register.

“Nine light boats will be exhibited along the Tonle Sap in front of the Royal Palace,” said Mr Kean.


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