Phnom Penh Saw Crime Rate Rise in 2005

Despite security being bolstered in Phnom Penh, crime levels still rose in 2005 due to a sharp increase in the number of bet­ting shops and drug users, mu­nicipal officials said Thursday at City Hall’s annual meeting.

Officials also announced that the municipality collected over $3 million in tax collection and vehicle fines last year, and that 1,005 street people were taken for education and re­turned to their respective provinces.

“We have done a great many things to develop and maintain good security in Phnom Penh, but we still have some serious problems we have to face,” Mu­nicipal Governor Kep Chuk­tema said.

Vice Governor Pa Socheatevong said 847 crimes were com­mitted last year—45 more than in 2004. Of the 847 crimes, 430 were robberies and 44 kill­ings.

Twenty-four illegal gambling halls and 13 brothels were closed down, while 16 brothel owners were arrested and 136 trafficking victims were rescued, he said.

Heng Pov, municipal police com­missioner, reported that 460 gang members were arrested over the year, and that 162 motorcycles and eight other vehicles used by alleged gang members were seized.

He added that police will be taking action against cars with blacked-out windows. “In particular, we will educate all vehicle own­ers to voluntarily remove black stickers from all vehicles’ windows. Otherwise those vehicles will be confiscated and the owners fined,” he said.

Pa Socheatevong added that 227 drug smugglers were arrested. One was Austrian and 20 Viet­namese, he said. Police seized 64,765 methamphetamine pills, 1,893 Ecstasy tab­lets and eight small bags of heroin, he said.

Strikes and demonstrations oc­curred 141 times, the majority of them at garment factories, Pa Socheatevong said, before blaming unions for instigating them.

A total of 310 glue-sniffing children were taken from the streets to two municipal rehabilitation centers, and 320 sex workers ta­ken for education and then sent to various NGOs for training.

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