As Khmer New Year approaches, City Hall yesterday reminded residents to think of their safety and refrain from playing games in the streets to ensure security and public order.
In two weeks, millions of people will return to their home provinces or visit tourist areas to mark Khmer New Year. The government has said that civil servants and private company employees, including garment workers, are allowed to take April 14 to 16 off.
In an instruction letter, Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng said residents should refrain from causing public disturbance by setting off fireworks and playing disruptive games in the streets.
“You must respect traffic laws and not drive drunk so traffic accidents can be avoided,” Mr Sreng said in the letter. “People must prevent fire incidents by increasing their awareness. Be especially careful when using candles, incense, cookers and other electric equipment in order to save your lives, properties and other people.”
He noted that residents should only play traditional games and avoid using water pistols, water balloons and talcum powder on each other. He also said that residents should refrain from fighting in the streets.
“We are absolutely against gambling, fireworks and firecrackers,” Mr Sreng said. “City Hall hopes that residents will respect this instruction.”
National Police spokesman Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun said National Police chief General Neth Savoeun has already told Phnom Penh police to be prepared to maintain public order and security during Khmer New Year.
“We are preparing for Khmer New Year,” Lt Gen Kim Khoeun said. “We have ordered all police chiefs to disseminate and carry out this safety instruction so that people can feel secure and crime is prevented from happening.”
He added that police will be on standby at pagodas and shrines around the country to prevent opportunists from committing theft during celebrations, and that traffic police will work to ease traffic.
Lt Gen Kim Khoeun noted that police will cooperate with local authorities and prepare fire trucks to be on standby.
“We urge that people be careful,” he said. “We will send police officers to patrol the streets at night in order to make people feel safe.”
The National Police’s traffic police and public order department has said in a report that 47 people died and 143 people were injured in 91 traffic accidents during Khmer New Year last year.
It noted that during Khmer New Year in 2017, 55 people were killed and 226 were injured in 121 accidents.