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A five-ton steel strong-box-on wheels

A five-ton steel strong-box-on wheels

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An MPA security guard with the five-ton juggernaut that is now the flagship of the company's fleet.

A

five-ton, armored truck capable of resisting automatic weapons fire or a grenade

explosion will soon be the newest addition to Phnom Penh's increasingly congested

city streets.

Custom built in Thailand by the Thai military at the request of MPA Security Services,

the vehicle will be used to ferry substantial amounts of cash from place to place,

a process that can be quite risky as evidenced by the recent $310,000 payroll heist

at the Won Rex Garment Factory.

"Cambodia is a particularly dangerous country to do cash-in-transit in,"

said MPA's Country Director Chris Berger. He cited the ready availability of weapons

and weak security services as two of the reasons why, describing some company's security

personnel as "the friend of a friend who knew someone in the army with a rusty

old gun".

"[Robbers] are just waiting, ready, outside banks," said Berger. "Usually

the robberies are pulled off by insiders and they don't hesitate to take a life."

Berger added that thieves would think nothing of killing a guard for $100,000. "[A

robber] can move to the countryside and live like King Tut on that money."

The armored truck is constructed from reinforced steel and has puncture-resistant

tires. Inside the vehicle are three separate compartments: one for the driver, another

where the electronically coded safe is kept and a third for a crew of four armed

guards who can shoot out at would-be crooks via gun ports. The windows are made from

two-inch thick fortified glass composite.

Berger says it is the only vehicle of its kind in the Kingdom, although he would

not reveal what it cost to make.

MPA will operate the vehicle in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior's National

Police, according to Berger. When in use, the armored truck's four armed guards will

be supplemented by two policemen on motorcycles as outriders and an additional police

car in the rear.

Berger said the truck is almost fully booked for its first month on the roads and

that fees are determined via a formula that considers both the value of the cargo

and the distance covered. At present, however, MPA is still completing the licensing

paperwork and while this is being done the truck is sitting outside General Hok Lundy's

office at the Ministry of Interior. Berger, who drove the truck in from Thailand,

said that Lundy helpfully provided an escort for the trip in.

"This truck is our flagship," said Berger, who added that MPA intends to

add two smaller armed vehicles to its fleet in the near future.

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