Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Official denies Prey Speu transfers

Official denies Prey Speu transfers

Detainees mill around the grounds of Prey Speu detention centre earlier this year.
Detainees mill around the grounds of Prey Speu detention centre earlier this year. Hong Menea

Official denies Prey Speu transfers

Phnom Penh’s Social Affairs Department yesterday dismissed reports that dozens of homeless people were sent to the city’s notorious Prey Speu detention centre this week, even as the United Nations confirmed the transfer and expressed concern at the continued use of the facility.

Kim Vutha, Daun Penh district’s chief of security, said on Wednesday that 61 homeless people were sent to the facility in the early hours of the morning after being rounded up from the streets.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Cambodia later said it had been informed that 54 people had been detained at the centre, including four to five children.

But Son Sophal, director of the Municipal Social Affairs Department, remained adamant yesterday that the facility, which has come under renewed fire this month after reports of two recent deaths there, had not been used.

“They [the 61 people] are all drug users, so we sent them to Orkas Khnom,” he said, referring to an equally controversial drug detention centre in Phnom Penh.

The reports earlier this month of more deaths at Prey Speu prompted pledges of reform from the government, which included the creation of a technical working group with a UN and civil society presence tasked with finding alternative solutions to the abusive centre.

But two weeks later, the group has yet to convene, as a prakas establishing it awaits approval, according to OHCHR’s country representative Wan-Hea Lee.

In the meantime, Lee said, OHCHR “continues to be concerned by the fact that people are still being rounded up and held at Prey Speu”.

“OHCHR has not been able to obtain clearance to return to the site recently. We are ready to do so at any moment.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Bosba: The first Khmer woman composer from UK’s Cambridge

    Bosba Panh is just 25 years old, but she’s already accomplished some impressive milestones for herself and the Kingdom. On July 24, she graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Cambridge as the first Khmer woman composer and Khmer music graduate ever at

  • Pailin longan winery tries to break through to the big time

    Longan aren’t quite as glamorous as some fruits. They don’t have the star-power of mangos or generate the excitement of a pricey seasonal niche fruit like the pungent durian. Unlike bananas or oranges, which are known and loved everywhere, longan remains a decidedly

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Debt restructuring over, time to tackle rising NPL ratio

    The Cambodian banking system has just completed a 26-month debt restructuring exercise where scores of loan accounts were revised, classified and provisioned as the rate of non-performing loans inched up, sparking a slight credit risk unease Implemented in April 2020, the Covid-19 debt restructuring measures came

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’