Tighter security will be expected across the country in conjunction with the upcoming holidays, from August 17 to 21, which was set in lieu of the postponed Khmer New Year in April.
The measures include the acceleration of crackdowns on individuals who “attempt to cause social unrest”.
National Police Chief General Neth Savoeun’s order follows the Ministry of Interior’s call on Monday for the stronger implementation of the Health Ministry’s preventive guidelines to reduce risks of COVID-19 transmission during the five-day holiday, which is expected to see people coming out in droves.
As such, Gen Savoeun, in a letter obtained yesterday, ordered all police departments and municipal and provincial police units to beef up security during the period.
“[You] must be vigilant of the current security situation, especially regarding acts of terrorism, transnational crimes of all kinds of plots or attempts to cause social unrest and other criminal activities, so you can enforce effective measures to prevent and suppress [such crimes] in a timely manner,” he said.
He noted the authorities must implement the “Safe Village-Commune Policy” actively and use all measures available to stop opportunists from causing insecurity and threatening the safety of people and their properties.
“Security measures must be strictly implemented and observed at entertainment hubs to maintain order and close attention must especially be given in ensuring the absolute safety of the King, top leaders and senior national dignitaries who will be travelling and visiting the people on this occasion,” he added.
Regular patrols, said Gen Savoeun, must also be conducted to protect the properties of the citizens, who are expected to leave their homes to visit their hometowns or travel elsewhere with their families.
In addition, provincial police chiefs were ordered to ensure the continued dissemination of COVID-19 health guidelines and suppression of activities that incite fear and violence, such as organised crime groups, trafficking and unauthorised possession of weapons, explosives
and ammunition. Stronger enforcement of the new sub-decree on the Traffic Law must also be observed.
Preah Sihanouk provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearom said yesterday that they are well-prepared for the upcoming lieu days.
“Our main focus is the effective management of security and public order through the use of joint forces,” he said. “We are also strictly implementing the Health Ministry’s guidelines to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19.”
Phearom said provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun is expected to lead the meeting with provincial officials and armed forces to discuss more details about future measures.
“We will continually educate our people as well as the domestic and foreign tourists who will come visit our province,” he added.
Hopes for a work respite were dashed last April when the government announced the postponement of the public Khmer New Year holidays.
At the time, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the move was motivated by the government’s desire to limit the number of people travelling in and out provinces and the capital, saying: “The free movement of the people would pose a grave risk for huge cluster infections”.
To compensate for the cancelled holidays, the premier earlier this month signed a sub-decree approving a request made by the Ministry of Economy to set the lieu days on the third week of August.