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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 10,000 pornographic videos seized

10,000 pornographic videos seized

10,000 pornographic videos seized

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5-story-1.jpg

Vendors near Olympic market lose their stock of blue movies after authorities raid their stalls as part of an ongoing drive to rid the capital of pornographic DVDs and VCDs

VANDY RATTANA

An example of pornography available in Phnom Penh shops on Wednesday.

MORE than 10,000 illegal VCDs - mostly pornography - were confiscated this week from vendors near the capital's Olympic market, according to authorities struggling to shut down the trade in pirated movies.

The two vendors targetted in Monday's raids have been "educated" not to engage in the porn trade, according to Chamkarmon district Governor Lo Yoy, who led the dragnet.

"For the first offence we do not fine them, but we just educate them so that they do not continue doing this illegal business," he told the Post Tuesday.

"But if they are found selling again, we will file a report to the courts."

The raids are the latest in an ongoing crackdown on Phnom Penh's burgeoning trade in pirated video discs. The joint effort between City Hall, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and district police has so far netted nearly 35,000 illegal movies since September 18, according to ministry figures.

Lo Yoy said he targets pornography in particular. "It really impacts our society, especially our good culture and traditions," he said.

Cambodian Women's Crisis Center Secretary General Nop Sarin Sreyroth saw the raids as a step in the right direction.

"I welcome the crackdown [as] it shows there is political will to implement the new law on human trafficking and sexual exploitation," she said.

"The authorities should implement the law and punish the sellers and distributors according to the new law on human trafficking. It determines that the sellers and distributors of pornographic materials will be punished from seven days to a month in jail and fined from US$25 to $50," she added.

Good to issue warnings

Kong Kantara, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and deputy chief of the inter-ministerial committee to crack down on illegal film and video, said he agreed with being lenient on first-time offenders.

"But if they do not follow the contract and still sell [pornography], the authority will take them to court."

It is illegal to sell any kind of pornography in Cambodia, and VCDs  and DVDs need a stamp of approval from the Ministry of Culture to be legal. 

Meanchey district Governor Kuch Chamreoun said that his authorities also have made progress in preventing the illegal movie trade.

"We always check and crack down on many stalls selling pornography," he said. "We have seized thousands of VCDs," he said.

On Thursday, sellers outside Olympic market said they had no pornography on sale.

Vendor Sok Ry said she use to sell illegal VCDs but ever since the police confiscated her stock some years ago, she stopped.

"I feel afraid of having my products seized again," she said.

 "The authorities come once a month and check if they can find illegally copied VCDs or pornographic  films."  

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