City Hall yesterday released a statement urging the public to remain calm after reports were published online on Tuesday saying that unidentified men were dismantling the newly-built Russey Keo district bridge.
According to the statement, the Department of Public Works and Transportation, and the Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation, the company designated for the construction, sent a team of engineers yesterday morning to check on the bridge following reports that it was being deconstructed from the bottom up.
The statement said that it was in fact scavengers transporting leftover steel from the former construction site.
“The whole bridge is new,” the report said. “Please let traffic normalise.”
Chea Pisey, Russey Keo district governor, said police questioned four people Tuesday night at around 10pm after suspecting that they were stealing metal bridge pieces from the site.
He identified the men as Moh Moud, 30; Mat Kriya, 56; Ty Smankoh, 17 and Tiet Artok, 17. They were found to be fishermen scavenging metals and were released shortly after.
“After they were questioned we found out that they just went there to collect metal pieces that remained from the construction period,” he said.
An unnamed security guard who was posted at the bridge said that he had seen people on a boat filled with metal pieces and feared that they were thieves stealing pieces of the bridge. He blamed the misinformation on an article he had read on Facebook.
“Online news saying that people came to cut metal pieces from under the bridge travelled quickly,” he said. “It only spreads fear to people travelling on the bridge. They were only collecting the remaining metals, not destroying it.”
The new bridge was officially launched yesterday morning by Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng.
The bridge links Russey Keo district to Prek Tasek commune in Chroy Changva district.