IN order to prevent any disruptive Khmer New Year celebrations, the government has called for 24-hour security at public locations and ordered the Culture Ministry to hold a variety of wholesome and educational activities during the celebrations that run from April 14 to 16.
All municipalities and provinces have been asked to arrange concerts in public places and provide traditional games that would not cause public disorder during the Khmer New Year, according to the secretary general of the National Committee for Organising National and International Festivals, which also ordered the ministries of Interior and Defence on March 5 to "increase and tighten security to ensure order during the Khmer New Year".
The instructions, signed by the body's chief, Kong Sam Ol, demanded that the Culture Ministry hold performances and encourage people to play traditional games.
"These activities are to educate and show the young generation to be aware of and preserve such tradition," they said.
Games that involve gambling or violate Khmer traditions were also banned.
Sbong Sarath, governor of Preah Sihanouk province, said Wednesday that his province, after receiving the new instructions, would specifically target the locations where local and foreign tourists typically congregate during the New Year with a 24-hour security presence.
"Our authorities will work 24 hours during the three days at 12 main tourist destinations. Ten police officers will be deployed at each target.
We will especially tighten security along the beach," he said.
Along with increased security, the government will also work to ensure that the natural beauty of the beach is maintained and that visitors remain safe.
"Along the beaches, we will inform vendors and visitors to keep the environment clean as well as put up warning signs at dangerous swimming areas to prevent people from drowning," he said, adding that he expects about 3,000 people to visit his province every day of the Khmer New Year.
Security in the capital
Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema also announced that the capital's eight districts would also increase their security.
"From now on, all levels of police have to be on duty 24 hours," he said Monday during a monthly meeting, saying that during the last few months, "armed robberies, bag-snatching and other crimes had made people live in fear", and he did not want such things happening during the holiday.
"This would cause people to be unhappy during the New Year celebrations, and so the authorities will strengthen security," he said.
The festival committee also cautioned people to be careful with burning materials during the holiday.
"People must be highly cautious with incense sticks, candles or ovens because they could cause a major fire," the new instructions said.