The new chief of the Preah Sihanouk provincial police force Monday vowed to carry out orders to protect and monitor foreigners in the seaside city of Sihanoukville after being officially appointed to the position in a ceremony earlier in the day.
Chuon Narin, a former Phnom Penh deputy police chief, is taking over the post from Seang Kosal, who was removed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng last week for “sleeping” on the job.
In a speech during the handover ceremony at the provincial government headquarters Monday, National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun reminded police in the audience that they had been tasked with rigorously protecting and controlling foreign tourists, investors and expatriates in Sihanoukville, according to provincial governor Chhit Sokhon, who was also present.
“He asked our forces to defend tourists and foreigners who stay here,” the governor said by telephone. “It is important that we have forces prepared [to react] when incidents occur.”
Following the violent robbery of two expatriates on Koh Rong island off the coast of Sihanoukville last month, Mr. Sokhon was also slammed by the interior minister for failing to bring under control a foreign-led crime spree in the province. For now, however, the governor appears to be safe in his position working alongside the new police chief.
“He has vowed to unite [with me] and work together,” Mr. Sokhon said of Brigadier General Narin.
The Koh Rong robbery, which saw a special team of Interior Ministry police make four arrests, followed a drive-by shooting, a brawl and a stabbing—all involving foreigners—in Sihanoukville.
The city has also been put on edge by an increasingly volatile feud between two rival Russian factions.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said last week that Brig. Gen. Narin was chosen to take over due to his demonstrated ability to “control a city.”
Following his instatement Monday, Brig. Gen. Narin pledged to fulfill the expectations of his superiors.
“I will bring my expertise to the job,” he said. “When investors and foreign tourists arrive in Cambodia, we will protect their safety, but if they commit crimes, we will take action according to the law.”