As hundreds of thousands participate in the annual mass migration from Phnom Penh to their home provinces for Khmer New Year next week, military police will remain at their posts.
National Military Police in the capital and provincial outlets will be working at full capacity 24 hours a day during the April 14-16 holiday, National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito said.
One of the reasons, he said, was because some criminals use Khmer New Year as a time to steal from unguarded houses and businesses.
“No [military police are] allowed to leave the headquarters for New Year,” Tito said yesterday. “We are concerned about traffic accidents, because many people will travel.… We are also concerned about robberies and fires.”
Despite the temporarily diminished population in the capital, police patrol cars, fire engines and ambulances will remain fully operational during the holiday.
Those who stay in Phnom Penh can enjoy celebrations planned at Wat Phnom, City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said.
“We will perform all types of traditional games,” he said. “But we will not allow any disruptions before or after Khmer New Year.”
In anticipation of the holiday, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party activists on Monday that police will be ready to squash any demonstrations they may plan.
“We, the authorities, are not stupid,” the premier said at a graduation ceremony at Koh Pich. “If you come out to demonstrate, you will taste the pro-government demonstration; and there are no soldiers, police or armed forces to support the opposition’s fight against the government.”
Hun Sen’s warning that police will be on guard in case the opposition party holds protests during the national celebration demonstrated paranoia in the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, CNRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said after hearing of the rhetoric. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEAN TEEHAN