Municipality Orders Hotels to Improve Security

In the wake of recent armed robberies of foreign tourists, officials in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district on Friday ordered hotel and guest house owners to strengthen security and crack down on illicit drug use and prostitution, and threatened legal action if such measures are not implemented.

“All of Daun Penh’s hotels and guest houses must not only en­force security for one day, but we have to take strong measures forever,” Pok Kosal, Daun Penh district deputy governor, said at a meeting of about 70 Daun Penh hotel and guest house owners at district headquarters Friday.

During the meeting, called by district officials, Pok Kosal warned owners they will face fines of an unspecified sum if they fail to keep detailed information on guests, or fail to keep rooms free of drugs and commercial sex operations.

Hotels and guest houses are known to rent their rooms for youths to stay and use illegal drugs, he said, while some proprietors prostitute young female staff members to guests. “They must stop immediately such businesses, otherwise they will be seriously punished,” he said.

The order follows an incident earlier this month, in which five Japanese women were bound and robbed at gunpoint in their Daun Penh hotel room by three unidentified men. Then, in Siha­noukville, two Canadian tourists were robbed and stabbed by un­iden­ti­fied attackers inside their guest house. No arrests have been made in either case. “We are working hard to find the criminals,” Svay Tuon, Daun Penh district deputy police chief said Friday. He said there are 46 hotels and 82 guest houses in his district, which officials will closely monitor.

Phnom Penh officials expressed concern that the recent crimes could hurt Cambodia’s tourism industry. “The number of tourists visiting Cambodia will fall if we are careless in offering good security for them,” said Sar Mo­ny, Phnom Penh municipal tourism department deputy director. “It is very important to offer the tourists safety and good security.”

Included in Friday’s order, ho­tels and guest houses will be re­quired to document guests’ names, nationality, race, language, passport numbers, and check-in and check-out dates, Pok Kosal said.

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