The Phnom Penh municipal police and various provincial authorities have urged people to exercise caution in the event of fires, implementing a ban on the use of all types of fireworks and prohibiting the import of such items during the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 10.

In an effort to bolster security throughout the February 9-11 holiday, also known as Spring Festival, the municipal police have directed all 14 district police inspectorates, as well as the general public, to be highly vigilant against fires. 

This includes a strict prohibition on fireworks, firecrackers and explosives during the festivities.

“Every entertainment venue, department, unit, factory, enterprise and household must uphold security, safety and public order. It is crucial to be cautious when lighting candles, incense sticks, joss papers, stoves and using electricity as these can potentially cause fires. Particularly, when burning paper offerings, it is imperative to use metal buckets or earthen pots and it is strictly forbidden to burn them on sidewalks or main public roads,” they said in a notice.

In the lead-up to the holiday, authorities at all levels are instructed to take the most stringent measures to prevent the importation of all varieties of fireworks, firecrackers and explosives into the capital. Inspections will be conducted and prohibited items will be confiscated.

“In instances where any individual disobeys these directives or commits an act that disturbs social peace, security, safety and public order, the municipal police will adhere to the law and the offender will face punishment as per the prevailing legal framework,” they added. 

In a separate directive, Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang instructed that during the Lunar New Year, authorities at all levels, alongside the private sector, NGOs and the public, must actively promote village and community safety policies.

“Local authorities must alert residents to the risks of fires, especially concerning the use of incense sticks, stoves and electricity, while strictly prohibiting the lighting of fireworks … and other explosives,” he stated.

Samnang advised that authorities intensify their regular duties and swiftly disseminate information to effectively and timely address any traffic congestions or incidents that may arise.

Battambang provincial deputy governor Soeum Bunrith said that each year, the provincial authorities consistently advise both the relevant authorities and the general populace to be vigilant regarding fire hazards. 

He said this includes a prohibition on the burning of any explosive materials or products that could lead to accidents.

He noted that the provincial authorities also counsel people to uphold order, security and social safety and bolster security through the implementation of the safe village-community policy.

“This year, our recommendation remains the same as in previous years. The Lunar New Year is not typically a Khmer tradition, but since some of our people are of Chinese descent, they observe certain traditional practices. Our state does not hinder people from honouring these traditions,” Bunrith said.

Koh Kong provincial deputy governor Sok Sothy echoed a similar sentiment, noting that this year’s approach is consistent with those of previous years. 

He said the provincial leadership has directed all levels of forces and relevant local authorities to maintain security and order, as well as to implement the safe village-commune policy.

“On the occasion of the upcoming Chinese and Vietnamese New Year, we urge people to adhere to the authorities’ instructions, as in previous years. Particularly this year, we want to remind people to exercise caution while driving and to obey traffic laws,” he said.

Koh Kong provincial leaders have also instructed local authorities to continue advising people to be careful with the use of candles, incense sticks, stoves and electricity. They have specifically emphasised the prohibition of all types of fireworks during the forthcoming celebrations.