heavily armed, seemingly well-trained gangs stole an estimated US$400,000 worth of gold from jewellery shops across Phnom Penh in three carefully coordinated daytime hits
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2008 11:15:40 -0800 (PST)
Gangs go for gold in PPenh
Written by Chrann Chamroeun and Thomas Gam Nielsen
Friday, 19 December 2008
With a new police chief, are criminals taking advantage?
THIS week, heavily armed, seemingly well-trained gangs stole an
estimated US$400,000 worth of gold from jewellery shops across the
capital in three carefully coordinated daytime hits, which observers
say belies a marked deterioration in the capital's security following
the sudden death last month of National Police commissioner Hok
"The perpetrators might believe that the police are demoralised and
are busy restructuring themselves," said lawyer Sok Sam Oeun, director
of the Cambodian Defenders Project. He could not provide any
statistics on crime trends.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said that an observed
increase in serious crime was not connected to the recent reshuffle
at the National Police.
"Overall, crime is decreasing, and the fact that we have seen more
serious crime recently is not connected to the death of Hok Lundy," he
said, adding that he also did not have exact figures on crime rates in
Khieu Sopheak said the police are hunting for the perpetrators of this
week's gold robberies, which took place Tuesday and Wednesday, but
said that to bring crime down "prevention is better than investigating
after the crimes have happened".
US embassy spokesman John Johnson said, "[We] have noticed a slight
increase in purse-snatching and similar crimes against American
citizens and other expatriates this year." But he added that the
embassy did not anticipate the change in police leadership to
significanly affect crime rates.
"The embassy has a solid and cooperative relationship with the
Cambodian National Police, and we expect that to continue under the
leadership of Neth Savoeun," he said.
The new National Police commissioner, Neth Savoeun, was not a
available for comment Thursday.
Sam Rainsy lawmaker Mu Sochua said that more severe crime was not a
result of Hok Lundy's death but an inevitable by-product of the
Kingdom's ongoing culture of impunity.
"Justice is for sale in our country for those who can pay," she
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