Violence, Accidents Down Sharply From Last New Year

Provincial authorities said at least 11 people were killed and more than 30 people were injured during this year’s three-day New Year holiday, which according to officials is a significant decrease from previous years.

Prime Minister Hun Sen praised Cambodians for peacefully celebrating the New Year and compared revelries in Cambo­dia with celebrations in Thai­land, where at least 300 people were killed and 27,000 were injured over the holiday weekend.

“This year was better than last,” said Kep Rak Sa, Siem Reap province deputy traffic police chief. “Last year, we didn’t have enough space [in the provincial lot] to put all the cars damaged in accidents.”

In Siem Reap province, Keo Rak Sa said three people were killed in an April 15 motorbike accident, while three others were injured in a separate traffic accident.

As in previous years, most of the deaths and injuries during the 2002 New Year celebration were caused by road accidents.

“Accidents are always caused by drivers who drive over the speed limit, disobey the traffic laws or don’t understand the traffic laws,” said Chev Hak, a Phnom Penh municipal traffic officer. Chev Hak said two people died in Phnom Penh and another 11 were injured in traffic accidents. He said most accidents occurred on National Routes 1, 5 and 6.

Kompong Cham province, which reported two deaths, led the country in traffic accidents during the holiday weekend. Provincial traffic police officer Chum Thany said 17 people were seriously injured and another 20 people were slightly hurt in traffic accidents.

Battambang province reported that three people died in traffic accidents. Kandal and Kompong Chhnang were the only provin­ces reporting people killed in arguments or robberies this year during the celebrations.

Police in Rat­anakkiri, Mondol­kiri, Sihanouk­ville, Pailin, Kratie, Banteay Meanchey and Stung Treng reported no deaths and only minor accidents during the New Year.

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