More than one million people visited the three-day water festival in Phnom Penh over the long weekend, with authorities hailing security at the event a success, despite an increase in traffic fatalities.
Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun, the senior police official in charge of festival security, said between 1.3 and 1.5 million visitors attended over the three days.
“The efforts of the authorities led to improved security and safety throughout the festival, while there were no serious incidents that disrupted proceedings,” Lt Gen Kim Khoeun said.
According to a report on policing at the festival, 303 people were arrested for wearing jackets bearing police and army logos, as were three vendors of the jackets. They were released after signing contracts not to sell, purchase or wear the jackets again.
The authorities also confiscated 70 small and 15 large gas containers from festival-goers.
“Five boats sank, but all the racers were rescued,” the report said. “Police officials also intervened to stop fighting between boat racers from Kampong Chhnang province.”
A total of 11,264 people received health checks and treatment at the event, including 12 people who were sent to hospital.
Authorities helped 60 lost children to find their parents, although three are yet to be reunited with their families.
Races involved 270 boats and 17,826 rowers this year.
During the closing ceremony for the festival on Saturday, King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen presented awards to the winning boat teams.
The department of traffic police meanwhile issued a report on road accidents during the festival.
It said there were 39 traffic accidents across the country from Thursday to Saturday, in which 25 people died and another 45 were injured.
“Traffic accidents increased by five cases or 15 percent if compared with the same period in 2016. Deaths also increased by 11 people, but injuries decreased by five people or 10 percent,” the report said.
It added that speeding, drunk-driving, overtaking and ignoring traffic rules were the main causes of accidents.
More than 8,000 tonnes of rubbish were collected over three days in the four Phnom Penh districts where the festival took place. City Hall said more than 1,000 waste collectors worked around the clock to keep the capital clean.