Police Boost Security for Crime Wave

Police on Friday said they are stepping up security to help fight a recent surge in crime against foreigners.

“The plan to strengthen security in the city is in place,” said Mok Chito, chief of municipal police for foreigners. More municipal police will be on patrol at night in the capital and will focus on cracking down on teen gangs, the police chief said.

At least 15 foreigners have been robbed or assaulted in the capital in the past 10 days—a slight increase from the norm, police said. Most of the robberies were committed by young teen-agers, especially drop-out students and members of teen gangs, Mok Chito said.

All of the reported robberies occurred between 6:30 pm and 11:30 pm and near tourist centers like the Hotel Sofitel Cambo­diana, the Goldiana Hotel and the Heart of Darkness bar. Thieves are often described as young men on motos and armed with pistols, police said.

Two French nationals were shot Monday when two men shot the car the Frenchmen were driving in, police said.

Although the recent surge in crime is not as serious as a 1996 wave, there are some new trends, a Western security adviser said.

One difference is that some robbers are targeting people in cars. On Tuesday, two men on a mo­to pointed a 9-mm pistol at the driver of a vehicle on Sih­anouk Boulevard, the adviser said. Three foreigners escaped uninjured after they sped off.

Another difference is that robbers realize some tourists wear money belts and are looking for them, the adviser said. The im­por­tant thing—especially for women—is not to become al­armed if an assailant frisks a victim while looking for a mon­ey belt. “These do not seem to be in­tended as a sexual assault,” the adviser said. “Please don’t overreact…surrender.”

Kidnapping also remains a problem in the capital, said Khuon Sophon, municipal penal police chief. This week, five people were kidnapped, police said.



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