Security Heightened for Biggest-Ever Boat Races

In anticipation of record crowds at next week’s Water Festival, security measures will be higher than in previous years, police said.

There will be a total of 5,470 security officers on duty for this year’s Water Festival, a combination of mil­itary and municipal police, ac­cor­ding to a police statement.

In 2007, an estimated 3,400 po­lice officers patrolled the festival.

The Water Festival, which runs from Nov 11 to 13 this year, typically draws several million visitors to Phnom Penh.

“This year’s Water Festival will be the biggest one yet,” Muni­ci­pal Military Police Chief Ya Kim Y said Sunday, explaining that at­tendance is expected to be high in part be­cause Cambodia’s 55th anniversary of independence from France will be celebrated Nov 9, only two days before the Water Festival begins.

At a press conference on Water Festival security measures Thurs­day, Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said five temporary police stations will be set up in Phnom Penh’s riverfront area to help handle security during the festival.

In an effort to cut down on traffic jams, buses with 12 or more seats will not be allowed into the city during the festival, he added.

He also warned all festivalgoers to watch out for pickpockets and to be careful that their children don’t get lost in the dense crowds during the fireworks displays that mark every evening of the three-day celebration.

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