IN the early hours of Thursday morning in Phnom Penh's Daun Penh district, 30 beggars, suspected drug users, sex workers and homeless families were rounded up and dumped at the Department of Social Affairs in Phnom Penh, according to rights groups.
"We were told they were arrested as part of the campaign to ‘clean up' the streets before the EU-ASEAN meeting of foreign ministers," said Jason Barber, an advocacy consultant at Licadho.
Most of the people have been released, but seven suspected drug users were sent to a rehabilitation centre, said Christophe Peschoux, the country representative of the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
He said that arbitrary arrests before major events used to be common, but since August of last year, the municipality had stopped the police action.
"We hope that this is not a resumption of a practice we thought belonged to the past," he said.
A Daun Penh district official on
Thursday denied the street arrests had occurred.