Siem Reap province
POLICE in Siem Reap province have arrested 53 youths as part of a crackdown on “gangster” activity, seven of whom are being held on suspicion of using drugs, officials said yesterday.
Sok San, deputy director of the provincial military police research and justice department, said 45 men and eight women between the ages of 16 and 22 were arrested before daybreak yesterday while riding motorbikes, and that they had been accused of violations including speeding, failing to wear a helmet and using drugs.
He said police and military police had set up 10 checkpoints around Siem Reap town “to check for drug-addicted youths and to arrest gangsters so they can be re-educated”.
Of those arrested, 46 were released yesterday.
Thorng Sakun, chief of the Siem Reap traffic police, said the parents and guardians of those arrested for not wearing helmets had been asked to purchase helmets before their charges were released.
Some of those arrested denied any involvement in “gangster” activity.
Vy Vireak, 21, said he had just finished a shift of work at a restaurant in Siem Reap when he was stopped by police early Sunday morning and arrested because he was not wearing a helmet. He said he supported the crackdown, but that he hopes officials will focus their efforts in the future on “real gangsters”.
He said that his brief run-in with the law had left him “scared” and “ashamed”.
Sok Ly, 33, said his 18-year-old nephew had also been unjustly arrested.
“My nephew never goes out after midnight, so last night was an accident,” he said.