Police all set to beef up security during festival

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodians visit Wat Langka pagoda on the 1st Kan Ben Day as Pchum Ben kicks off, in Boeung Keng Kang I of the capital’s Boeung Keng Kang district on Wednesday. Heng Chivoan

With the 15-day Pchum Ben festival approaching, Phnom Penh municipal police have mobilised nearly 2,000 officers for duties like maintaining security and public order during the celebrations, while municipal governor Khuong Sreng urged police in the capital to also pay attention to enforcement of Covid-19 preventive measures.

Speaking at a meeting on September 20, municipal police chief Sar Thet said public order would be the primary focus of law enforcement over the holiday, especially the strict implementation of Covid-19 preventive measures.

“For this year’s Pchum Ben, Phnom Penh will send nearly 2,000 police officers into the field to man key locations, especially all of the pagodas. More than 150 officers will be sent to pagodas in Phnom Penh to ensure a safe holiday. They will be positioned at entrances and exits to direct the flow of traffic at the pagodas as well,” he said.

Thet also instructed all district police chiefs to safeguard security and order in their localities in order to build positive relations and trust with the communities they serve.

Sreng urged the local authorities to take the implementation and enforcement of Covid-19 preventive measures seriously during the festival to ensure the public’s safety and reduce the risk of transmissions.

“The officers whose job is to uphold security over this 15-day Pchum Ben festival have to be very careful about Covid-19 transmissions. They have to protect themselves and prevent others from behaving carelessly,” he said.

At the meeting, Sreng also instructed the head of the municipal Department of Cults and Religion to call a meeting with all pagodas to ensure that they will be fully prepared to prevent Covid-19 transmissions during the festival.

“At each pagoda, especially the gates, those entering will have to spray alcohol sanitiser on their hands and take their temperatures,” he said.

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine also called on all people to remain cautious and observe all of the recommended preventive measures because Covid-19 cases have surged in some provinces and localities.

“Our concern remains high because in our experience we’ve noted that transmissions have often come about through group gatherings or meetings. We must not allow the ceremonial donation of gifts to the Buddhist monks living at these pagodas to become super-spreader events for Covid-19,” she said.