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Improvement pledged after spate of robberies

People stand around the scene of a Kampong Speu jewellery store robbery where one man was fatally shot last week.
People stand around the scene of a Kampong Speu jewellery store robbery where one man was fatally shot last week. Photo supplied

Improvement pledged after spate of robberies

The Ministry of Justice and other authorities yesterday acknowledged their shortcomings and vowed to improve cooperation, following a second special meeting at the ministry sparked by a recent rash of armed robberies.

“In response to the challenge faced by law enforcement officers, the Ministry of Justice is setting up a working group to boost understanding between the different ministries and officials involved and help crack down on crime,” ministry spokesman Kim Sontepheap said.

Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana, he continued, plans to meet with the prison pardon committees in provincial capitals, which were recently criticised by the prime minister for releasing prisoners who have in turn been blamed for recent serious crimes.

Police were following up clues related to suspects involved in the recent robberies, according to National Police deputy commissioner Mok Chito, who added that crime so far this year had, in fact, fallen overall. “In 2015, offences fell by 14 per cent compared to 2014,” he said.

According to San Chey, a fellow with the accountability group ANSA-EAP, current prison policy regarding jail terms was adding to the crime problem.

“The early release of prisoners stops the system from working effectively and leads to more crime,” he said.

Chey added that recent armed robberies, including thefts from jewellery vendors and the money transfer company Wing, along with street crime, had created widespread alarm.

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