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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Phirin calls the shots in Takeo

Phirin calls the shots in Takeo

PEOPLE seem impressed - if perhaps slightly awed - with the no-nonsense way that

Governor Sou Phirin has ushered in change in Takeo province.

"He declared

'there will be no bandits or rogue police', and suddenly there weren't," said

one Westerner working in Takeo.

"He can't control the national routes but

there don't seem to be any checkpoints extorting money on his provincial roads


Phirin's philosophy is simple: "The first way we solve problems

[in Takeo] is by ourselves; the second way is with help from the Royal

government and from NGOs."

"The problem of undisciplined soldiers has

gone," he says, chopping his hand through the air.

"I talked to them, I

enforce a strict order, and I implement this by law," says the CPP


His three step approach is education, rehabilitation and

imprisonment. Though Phirin has not yet had to jail anyone, it is clear he

wouldn't hesitate to do so.

Anyone messing around in Phirin's patch -

robbers, bandits, rogue soldiers, illegal immigrants from Vietnam, or vagrants

from other provinces wandering in - can expect the same.

"I am a cruel

man," he said. "I enforce a noble order and abide by the law."


Phirin has been governor, the KR "leopard spot" in the Takeo mountains seems to

have been cleared and the security situation was now "100 per cent," he


With the gradual improvement of Takeo's agriculture, Phirin says he

is becoming free to invest in better roading, hospitals and schools.


Phirin had a choice, he would like to bring his hard-line approach to provincial

leadership to either Phnom Penh or Kompong Cham.

"It depends on the

Co-Prime Ministers and the government who they appoint or remove as


"If the Co-Prime Ministers ever asked me what province I would

like to govern, I would chose Phnom Penh or Kompong Cham. I would allow no


"Traffic robbers would not be allowed to exist," he said of the

problems that abound in Phnom Penh.

"Also, I would solve the allegations

of [illegal] foreign residents, especially Thai and Vietnamese."

"I don't

want to interfere with the business of the governors of Phnom Penh or Kampong

Cham, but I would want to restore the situation in Phnom Penh so that visiting

foreign guests or delegations can see the beauty and law and order in the


In Kampong Cham he said he would improve peoples' living

conditions by changing their agricultural methods.

"There is an abundance

of rubber and tobacco [in Kompong Cham], it is very fertile land," he said.



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