Phnom Penh Warns Market Managers of Uptick in Gold Heists

Phnom Penh municipality has warned market managers from around the capital to beef up their security or face “administrative measures” amid a wave of gold robberies, a City Hall official said Thursday.

Municipal Deputy Governor Pa Socheatvong said city Governor Kep Chuktema met with market managers Tuesday to issue the warning in response to an increase in gold heists in the capital.

“City Hall will use administrative measures on officials at the markets where serious crimes occur,” he said, but hung up his phone on a reporter when asked what measures would be taken against managers who don’t heed the warning.

Sok Kimheng, chairman of Phsar Thmei market in Daun Penh district, said he attended Tuesday’s meeting.

“This message does not scare me, but it reminds me to enhance my security and keep my market safer as well,” Mr Sok Kimheng said.

He added that he employs 80 officials, including security guards and managers, at Phsar Thmei, which he said is enough to keep his market safe.

However, Mr Sok Kim-heng said he will look into ways to boost security further because his popular market has many gold and jewelry vendors.

Seng Sakim, chief security guard at Olympic market, said his market is also secure, but after the governor’s warning his staff will pay greater attention to keeping vendors and their property safe.

Keang Lak, chairman of the O’Russei market, said that gold robberies were a serious concern for his market in 2005, but the market hasn’t been targeted since.

In addition to the 100 security guards currently protecting the market, Mr Keang Lak said, armed municipal police also provide an extra blanket of security.

“The governor told the participants [at the meeting] that if one market has a serious crime, like a robbery, he will remove the management committee of that market,” Mr Keang Lak said.

“I don’t worry that it will happen in my market, but I have to keep working because it is my duty to keep it safe,” he added.


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