Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New Prey Sar block set to open

New Prey Sar block set to open

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Kingdom’s defunct ‘pay-to-stay’ VIP prison plans were modified to temporarily alleviate overcrowding at Phnom Penh’s Police Judiciaire prison. Photo supplied

New Prey Sar block set to open

A new Prey Sar prison building – part of the scrapped VIP prison project – was handed over to the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons on Friday and will be put into operation soon.

General Department of Prisons director-general Chan Kimseng said the new building will help reduce overcrowding and temporarily replace Phnom Penh’s Police Judiciaire (PJ) prison, which is filled beyond capacity until a new prison has been completed.

The building, on the compound of Prey Sar prison in the capital’s Dangkor district, was built on 1.5ha at a cost of some $4 million by Kunn Rekon Holdings Co Ltd.

“According to the principle of [Minister of Interior] Krala Hoam Sar Kheng, the Phnom Penh prison is allowed to use the building for some time to alleviate overcrowding.

“We will use this building until the new prison is finished. It won’t be long before it is put into operation.

“We need to process the legal documentation regarding prisoner relocation and submit the documents to the government. It’s less than a month away, but we will try to speed up the process,” Kimseng said.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said in July that the ministry had abandoned the VIP prison project after a study found no other country had “pay-to-stay” prisons for inmates able to afford them.

“At first, we asked permission from the government to build a prison for those who want to have more space in return for paying a little money.

“[But] we have looked at other countries, and none has built such a prison. So we have decided to abandon the project.

“No other country has done this, so if we were to, they would use us as an example to follow, and if we were to do it alone, it would be unfeasible,” he said.

Am Sam Ath, the deputy director of monitoring at human rights organisation Licadho, welcomed the decision to abandon the VIP prison project saying it meant the government would avoid criticism about unfair discrimination against the poor.

“Private prisons are not good for Cambodia. It would discriminate against poor people by making life easier for wealthy criminals.

“They will be less afraid to commit crimes because they know they could go to a private prison with comfortable facilities,” he said.

General Department of Prisons spokesman Nuth Savna recently told The Post that there were more than 36,600 people detained in prisons across the country, of whom more than 3,000 were women, with many of them drug offenders.

Watch video:

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • First case of coronavirus reported in the Kingdom

    Cambodia reported its first case of the deadly 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on Monday, Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng announced. He said medical specialists detected the virus in a Chinese tourist in Sihanoukville. The minister said Jia Jianhua, 60, travelled from Wuhan city, where the outbreak

  • PM urges precaution amid virus outbreak

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday called on all Cambodians to bump up precautions to avoid contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has already killed more than 50 people in China. The prime minister told the public to remain calm but alert about the possibility of

  • Gov’t slams NGO over 2019 corruption report

    The government on Thursday slammed a report that described the Kingdom as highly corrupt. Government spokesperson Phay Siphan dismissed the latest Transparency International (TI) report as “just an advertisement of NGOs to promote their own interests”. Released on Thursday, the report puts Cambodia near the

  • Gov’t answers garment buyers’ complaint

    Some of the biggest buyers in the Kingdom’s garment sector have urged Prime Minister Hun Sen to address issues faced by unions and workers – a request a senior official said was out of touch with the situation on the ground. The letter addressed to

  • App to connect farmers to millions

    The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has soft-launched a mobile app that connects farmers with potential buyers and gives them access to critical market information. The ministry’s Agriculture Marketing Office chief Meach Yady said the ‘CamAgriMarket’ app gives farmers a platform to showcase