Stampede Footage on Sale at Phnom Penh Markets

Video recordings of the stampede that killed 353 people on Koh Pich’s Diamond Bridge last month were on sale yesterday at a market in Phnom Penh.

A saleswoman in Phsar Thmei yesterday sold reporters a VCD with footage and slide shows of the tragedy for 2,000 riel, or about $0.50.

“It’s for people who want to know what happened at the festival,” the vendor said, declining to give her name for fear of arrest.

Teenagers had copied the discs and sold them to her at the market on Monday, she said, noting that she had sold five recordings. “I was shocked and could not believe anything like this could happen,” she said of the graphic footage.

The VCD has a traditional Khmer music soundtrack and includes images broadcast by Bayon TV and some from the Cambodia TV News website that show children jumping from the bridge during the tragedy.

Buth Bovuth, general director at the General Department of Information and Broadcasting, said he was aware recordings of the disaster were for sale in markets.

“This morning I brought and watched the VCD of the Koh Pich incident,” Mr Bovuth said. “I sent files including the VCD to the Information Minister to consider the case.”

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith could not be reached yesterday.

Phnom Penh deputy governor Pa Socheatvong said the people who produced VCDs about the tragedy could provoke social unrest and distress victims’ families. “We will conduct an investigation as soon as possible,” he said.

Khim Sarith, secretary of state at the Culture and Fine Arts Ministry, said he did not think the VCDs were a problem as the footage had already been broadcast on television, but added he would be concerned if the footage had been invented or altered to exaggerate the scale of the incident.

Phnom Penh resident Bun Heang, 26, said he did not object to buyers viewing the stampede in which his sister had died. “I think it is no problem because some people want to rewatch the video clips.”

(Additional reporting by Khuon Narim)

 

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