The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has banned the sale and use of fireworks, firecrackers or any kind of explosive devices during the Chinese and Vietnamese New Years – which will take place from January 21 – to maintain security and public order.

Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng issued a January 11 announcement that said in order to maintain safety and public order, the municipal administration has introduced several measures.

“It is strictly forbidden to light fireworks, firecrackers or any kind of explosive device during the festival. Gambling of any kind and public celebrations of other religions or traditions are strictly prohibited,” it said.

“People should be wary when burning joss paper or offerings, as is traditional during the holiday. People should use metal or clay receptacles to burn them, and it is strictly forbidden to do so sidewalks or public roads,” it added.

The administration has instructed authorities at all levels to take the strictest measures to prevent the import of fireworks, firecrackers and all kinds of explosive devices into the capital, and to confiscate them wherever they identify them.

“Anyone who violates this instruction shall be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” it said.

Ros Dalin, a vendor selling Chinese New Year ceremonial materials in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, expressed her support for the move, adding that fireworks and crackers are “noisy and potentially dangerous.”

“Every year, I sell ceremonial materials like joss-paper, red envelopes and lanterns, but I do not sell explosives because they sometimes harm children,” she said.

According to the announcement, the Phnom Penh Department of Cults and Religions has the responsibility of sharing this information with Chinese and Vietnamese associations. The officials of the capital’s 14 districts will also disseminate the announcement.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Police, the Phnom Penh Gendarmerie Command and the Special Forces Command will issue orders to their officers to enforce the guidelines.