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Accidents, crime tick down amid quiet fest

A subdued Water Festival holiday translated into fewer road deaths and less crime, according to police, as Prime Minister Hun Sen praised authorities for ensuring “peace and political stability” during the four-day event.

With its traditional boat races cancelled, ostensibly because of low water levels, Phnom Penh saw just a trickle of visitors over the four-day event compared with the mass influx of years gone by.

Many headed to the provinces to visit families.

General Run Roth Veasna, director of the Department of Traffic Police and Public Order, credited a growing awareness of road rules for cutting the death roll by 26 per cent compared to last year’s holiday.

“It has decreased; this is a point of great pride,” he said.

According to statistics, the department recorded 70 traffic accidents with 29 people killed compared with 84 accidents and 39 deaths in 2014, when the festival’s famous boat races were held for the first time in four years.

The police recorded 95 injuries, 76 considered serious, from traffic accidents, a 39 per cent drop.

The main cause of collisions was excessive speed, followed by drunk driving and driving in the wrong direction.

Kampong Thom experienced the most traffic accidents, with five people killed and eight injured, followed by Kandal, with four killed, and Ratanakkiri, where four people also died.

Despite three people being shot during a Thursday night moto robbery, Phnom Penh Municipal minor crimes police chief Song Ly claimed there was little crime overall in the capital, where revellers still enjoyed live music and fireworks.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said he had no reports of significant crimes. He said there were “not many” bag snatches thanks to tight security.

“The security and safety was good in Phnom Penh during the festival this year, but we had some problems like two fires and the power outage,” Dimanche said.

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