Crime saw a marked decline in 2012, but a surge in protests both legal and illegal proved a worrisome trend, military police officials revealed last week during an annual meeting on the forces’ activities.
The uptick from 231 reported demonstrations in 2011 to 499 in 2012 was due to repeated instigation by a few groups and individuals, said national military commander General Sao Sokha, citing figures from a report released jointly by the national police and national military police.
“The amount of demonstrations increased because the people who join the protests are the same each time and they persuade people to protest,” General Sokha said.
He did not name particular groups doing the persuading, but noted that the protests most frequently occurred around factories and land dispute sites.
National military police spokesman Kheng Tito echoed Sokha’s statements, saying yesterday authorities saw the “same faces” at most demonstrations.
He said these protests, which often involved factory workers demanding higher wages, were led by a small group of NGOs and unions, but he would not specify which ones.
The national military police were co-ordinating with local authorities to maintain peace and security for both sides of the disputes, he said.
He added that the biggest security threats to face the military police this year were the alleged secessionist plot in Kratie, drug smuggling and the kidnapping of General Sau Phan’s son allegedly masterminded by former police official Ngoun Soeur, and said demonstrations were a relatively small security concern for military police.
Overall, crime cases, including both serious and minor crimes, decreased 4.5 per cent from last year, Sokha said.
This year saw 3,676 crime cases, compared to last year’s 4,121, he said, though he did not provide a breakdown of the principal crimes recorded.
He added that since last year, deaths from crime across the country also decreased by 3.94 per cent and injuries from crime decreased by 8.27 per cent.
The National Police will soon release its own report on the 2012 statistics.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at firstname.lastname@example.org
With assistance from Khouth Sophak Chakrya