Police across Phnom Penh confiscated more than 100 motorbikes and briefly detained a similar number of riders on Wednesday after they threw plastic bags of water at each other in celebrations ahead of Khmer New Year, Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema said Thursday.
The drivers were released after they and their parents promised that they would not engage in such activities again.
However, the youths could be sent to court if they are rearrested, he said.
“We can’t forgive them anymore,” Kep Chuktema said.
“For the first arrest, those guys are detained at the district for a warning. But they will be sent to court for penal charges of causing public disorder when they are arrested a second time,” he added.
It is traditional to douse others with water on the final day of the Khmer New Year, but in recent years throwing water bags has become common in the weeks preceding the April holiday.
Daun Penh district police this week have seized over 30 motorbikes and briefly detained more than 40 youths in a bid to curtail drag racing and hurling water at other motorists, officials said.
“Most of them are youths who throw water at each other and some others use the riverside for racing, which is very dangerous to other drivers,” said Phan Pheng, district police chief.
“Most residents and other drivers are really scared to drive along the streets,” he said.
Unregistered vehicles, as well as those on which duty had not been paid, were impounded and their owners ordered to pay, he added.
Phnom Penh resident Prum Socheat, 26, said that she is afraid of driving home from work because of the number of people drag racing and pelting young girls with water bags.
“Last year, my older sister was seriously hurt after she was hit by a motorbike racing along the streets,” she said.
Ke Somalin, 19, said that her parents have forbidden her from crossing the streets after midday for fear of motorbike racers.