Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Daun Penh guards just ‘trying to help’: gov’t

Daun Penh guards just ‘trying to help’: gov’t

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Daun Penh police officers Eli Meixler

Daun Penh guards just ‘trying to help’: gov’t

Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday defended the notoriously violent security guards employed by Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district to keep order and crack down on protests, saying they were necessary to help understaffed police.

Wearing black motorcycle helmets and wielding batons, the Daun Penh guards spent much of 2014 enforcing the government’s decree banning gatherings of more than 10 people by attacking anyone who defied it. Speaking at an event at the Sofitel Hotel, Kheng said the guards were necessary during the time of postelection upheaval and did not deserve the criticism often directed at them.

“It was historic in our country, as we never had a gathering of hundreds of thousands of people in Phnom Penh . . . [the opposition] said there was 400,000,” Kheng said, rejecting claims the guards used disproportionate force to stop protests.

“They were outnumbered, because . . . we had only a few police. Therefore, there was a need for the help of the volunteers,” he continued. “The security guards . . . had no intention to do anything more than helping the authorities, including the National Police forces, which were understaffed.”

Whatever their intention, the guards gained a reputation for chasing after activists, civil society members and journalists swinging their batons. In May 2014, one split open the skull of opposition lawmaker Nhay Chamroeun at a protest. Another guard struck the head of journalist Lay Samean, who now works for the Post and was covering the protest.

Both required extended hospitalisation and treatment abroad.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (