Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has announced strict measures for Lunar New Year celebrations from January 31 to February 3.

In instructions issued on January 25, Sreng said public and private institutions and Phnom Penh residents must maintain security, safety, and public order during the holiday.

He said noise disturbances – including fireworks and firecrackers – and all kinds of gambling are banned during the celebrations. Parades or processions without permission are also banned, and anyone who causes unrest and disturbs the social order will be punished according to the law.

“Entertainment venues must practise social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, especially its omicron variant. Be careful about lighting candles, incense and joss paper or anything that might eventually cause a fire. Please maintain security, safety, public order and dignity,” the notice said.

He added that joss paper must be burned in iron containers or earthen pots and must not be burned on pavements or public roads.

The governor also issued rules to the relevant authorities at all levels so that they would take the toughest measures to stop the import of fireworks, firecrackers and all kinds of explosives into the capital. They would be searching for and impounding all such items from now on, he said.

He also requested that the municipal Department of Cults and Religions invite Chinese and Vietnamese associations to disseminate this notice, and for the 14 district administrations and public and private institutions to share the instructions widely.

“The municipal police, Military Police, and special military region command must issue strict orders to their forces for them to implement.

“Anyone who violates these instructions or commits any offence that causes social unrest or the loss of security, safety or public order shall be punished,” he added.

Similar notices were also issued by some district police in the provinces.

In Koh Kong province, Mondul Seima district police chief Prak Vichet said he had instructed his force to maintain security, safety and public order on the occasion of the Lunar New Year. The message had especially targeted owners of factories.

“We must obey all road traffic laws and must not drive under the influence. We also have to be especially careful to prevent fires from candles, stoves or joss paper to maintain the safety of our property and lives,” he said.

He has also banned gambling and all kinds of explosives including fireworks and firecrackers. A ban on parades or processions that had not applied for permission would also be strictly enforced.