The hijacked craft was an easy target for a well-planned attack.
he Vice Minister of Tourism is suggesting security arrangements similar to an airport
for passenger boat operators on the Phnom Penh - Siem Reap run following an armed
robbery on March 22.
Seven men boarded a regularly-scheduled passenger boat in Phnom Penh, then about
an hour up-river they produced AK-47s and hand guns, forced the boat captain to stop,
and then tied up and robbed the passengers, who were mainly foreigners.
Vice Minister Thong Khon said they are discussing security arrangements with the
Public Works and Transportation Ministry.
He said one option was to ensure all luggage was put through an x-ray machine to
check for weapons before allowing passengers on the boat.
Khon made the comments when he issued an apology to the victims of the attack.
"I am so sorry that this accident happened. We have never had this kind of incident
before, this is the first time. I apologize to all the tourists who were robbed,"
"This is an important lesson for us to strengthen the safety and security for
the tourists," he said.
Veng Sereyvuth, Minister of Tourism, also acted quickly to apologize and reassure
tourists that the incident was an isolated one.
"On behalf of my government and the Ministry of Tourism, I would like to extend
my sincere apology for the inconvenience the hijackers caused mentally, physically
and materially to all the passengers and crew members.
"So far, the authorities are investigating. ... We are confident that all the
suspects will be caught and brought to justice."
Up to now three hijackers - Chom Phal, a former soldier, and Prach Konthol and Chroeng
Siha, students at a private university, have been arrested in separate locations
and police have confiscated about US$1,795, 319,400 Riels, 25,350 Baht, 200 Yen,
26,000 Dong, 2 Ringget, UK 400 Pounds, Myanmar 100, 10.22 French Francs, five watches,
perfume, knives and weapons.
Lt. Col. Sin Sophany, Chief of Investigation for the National Military Police said
that up to March 28 only six victims have come to file complaints against the robbers.
Two were Cambodian and the others foreigners.