Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More ‘undesirables’ in city’s sights

More ‘undesirables’ in city’s sights

A young girl tries to sell jasmine flowers to a motorist at an intersection in Phnom Penh last week
A young girl tries to sell jasmine flowers to a motorist at an intersection in Phnom Penh last week. City Hall said it is preparing for a second campaign against Phnom Penh’s homeless and underprivileged. Vireak Mai

More ‘undesirables’ in city’s sights

City Hall is preparing to launch a fresh round of street sweeps, hailing its recent controversial efforts to clear Phnom Penh of beggars, street sellers and homeless adults and children a success.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said the first round of the municipality’s campaign to clear the city was over, with authorities looking to target a new batch of “undesirables”.

“We are not sure what date but, from July, City Hall will start the second campaign,” he said, adding that everyone rounded up earlier this month was benefiting from the initiative.

During the first round of sweeps, the Post found that children as young as 7 years old were being hauled into caged vans and taken to the city’s notorious Prey Speu social affairs centre.

Several witnesses said that rather than receiving training, those locked in Prey Speu spent much of the two to three days they stayed there cleaning and collecting rubbish.

Two days after the first sweep, United Nations representatives visited the centre and described conditions inside as “extremely poor”.

Authorities denied that Prey Speu was used and said those rounded up were put into the care of Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE).

However, PSE said it was providing help to just 13 children.

Last week, in a further bid to clear the streets, City Hall named six intersections across the capital that would be used as “model areas” in which beggars and street sellers would no longer be allowed.

Dimanche told the Post yesterday that such efforts were needed to ensure the safety of people on the streets, to offer them a more prosperous future, to combat human trafficking, and to make the city more attractive.

He named PSE, Mith Samlanh, New Family and Enfants d’Asie Aspeca – all of which focus on disadvantaged children – as NGOs joining in for the latest roundup.

Ouk Sovan, deputy program director at PSE, confirmed that the partnership was expected to continue.

“We are working with City Hall in order to respect the rights of children,” he said, adding that his organisation could only help those in its care and could not ensure that no one rounded up would be sent to Prey Speu.

Son Sophal, director of the Social Affairs Department, said the “roundup [of] the homeless and beggars [was] for their benefit and the city’s”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’