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Soldiers banned from providing private security services

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
RCAF commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen delivers a speech. Supplied

The Royal Cambodian Armed Force has banned soldiers from providing security services to private firms or individuals.

In a directive dated September 3 and released on Saturday, RCAF commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen issued the ban and ordered all military commanders to ensure their soldiers stop providing such services.

He cautioned all units to ensure that state vehicles are also not used for the purpose.

“All military commanders, including those at units…which are under the jurisdiction of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, must regularly manage your soldiers, monitor their attendance and not allow any personnel to be sent to guard private companies, factories and other establishments or serve the interest of any individuals,” Gen Pisen said.

He ordered RCAF officers and soldiers to strictly implement the instruction and respect discipline.

“Off-duty soldiers are also banned from wearing uniforms in crowded areas such as restaurants, shopping malls or entertainment clubs,” Gen Pisen added.

Major General Mao Phalla, Royal Cambodian Army spokesman, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Gen Pisen’s action comes two months after Phnom Penh police chief Lieutenant General Sar Thet ordered municipal police officers to stop providing private security services for powerful tycoons unless they have obtained official permission.

In July, Lt Gen Thet ordered supervisors of all units to list down the names of police officers who are currently commissioned as security guards for tycoons.

He cautioned all units to ensure the proper use of the police personnel by not allowing them to serve at private companies, factories or other establishments, especially entertainment clubs and casinos, without consent from senior leadership.

Lt Gen Thet also banned the use of police motorbikes or cars and using sirens to aid private individuals without permission.

San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, yesterday said that only military commanders are able to provide troops to serve the interests of individuals.

“Soldiers cannot simply go to guard private properties unless their superiors send them,” he noted. “Please don’t blame soldiers in this issue. The top military brass must crack down on those who are responsible for sending the soldiers.”

Mr Chey said that although he supports the measure to ban the use of public forces to serve the interests of individuals, the RCAF and National Police should make exceptions for some places, like banks and other high-risk places which serve the public.

“I am concerned about security at high-risk places like banks because if they lack armed security guards, criminals will take the opportunity to stage robberies or other crimes,” he said. “So they [the military and police top brass] need to consider this. When a crime happens the authority may be too late to respond to the situation.”

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