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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - There's trouble right here in river city

There's trouble right here in river city

boat.jpg
boat.jpg

The hijacked craft was an easy target for a well-planned attack.

T

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,"

he said.

"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.

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