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Koh Pich footage crackdown

Authorities have begun confiscating the sale of VCDs containing footage filmed during last month’s stampede on Diamond Island bridge, which left 353 dead and 393 injured.

Thai Noraksathya, secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture, said yesterday that a working group of ministry and police officials had last week confiscated 100 VCDs from vendors in Kandal Market, as well as 77 discs from vendors in Koh Kong province.

The film features about an hour of footage cobbled together from local and international broadcasts of the tragic incident and its aftermath, including scenes of the rescue efforts, relatives searching for loved ones and a mourning ceremony attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“It is illegal selling and it affects the viewers’ feelings when they watch it,” Thai Naraksatya said, though he added that vendors would not have to be “punished or fined” for selling the VCDs.

He said the films were also being sold in DVD and CD format across Cambodia, as well as in the United States.

Mok Chito, director of the Ministry of Interior’s criminal police, said officials planned to crackdown on the sale of illegal Koh Pich films nationwide.

Puthi Ngob, the deputy police chief in Oddar Meanchey province, said police had confiscated 254 such VCDs from local vendors since receiving an order from national police officials on Thursday last week.

“We will burn them all if we get an order to burn them from the high-level officers,” he said. He added that the offending vendors had agreed to stop selling the films, and that those breaking their promise “will get punished”.

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