Police Action Hurts Vendors

Keng Heng found herself wondering on Wednesday if her business was worth the dangers that came with it.

The 43-year-old vendor at Phsar Kandal was one of the few still open Wednesday afternoon at the market, one day after riot police began a crackdown on nearby Wat Ounalom and protesters in so-called Democracy Square that involved rock throwing and gun fire.

“I am afraid,” said Keng Heng, standing next to the sugar and other cooking ingredients she sells. “I need to stay open be­cause I need the money but I am worried about the situation.”

It has not been a good week for Phnom Penh vendors, who first faced widespread fears that water and food had been poisoned and then a series of crackdowns that left markets and businesses locking their gates.

By 4 pm Wednesday, only one of the four gates to the market was open. There were no customers.

Kao Oeung, deputy chief of Phsar Kandal, said vendors were planning to reopen today, provided there were no further incidents.

Vendors at Phsar Tuol Tom Pong, Phsar Thmei and Phsar Kandal said this week that in contrast to July 1997, business has been slow and prices have re­mained steady.


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