Tip-offs have led to rise in arrests, officials say.
POLICE have urged Phnom Penh residents to cooperate more closely with authorities following a spate of arrests of suspected robbers that they said were the result of tip-offs from the public.
A total of 18 suspects in armed robberies of gold merchants and banks have been nabbed this month, police said, adding the three most recent arrests – made last week – were initiated by suspicious residents.
“The residents saw the suspects carrying guns,” Phnom Penh Police Deputy Chief Pol Pithey said Tuesday.
“Then they reported this to the police, and we promptly launched an investigation that collected enough evidence to arrest the suspects,” he added.
The three, who are suspected of robbing gold vendors in Prek Leap commune, were paraded before television cameras during a press conference Monday, where police said they would increase patrols and rely more on input from the public.
“We will continue to hunt for more robbers based on information we get by interrogating these ones,” Pol Pithey said.
Reported robberies decreased nationwide in the first half of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008, National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said last week.
Some 238 cases were reported through June this year, compared with 278 last year, he said, attributing the drop to improved cooperation between the police and the public.
More police officers are now being deployed in public areas and markets to act as a deterrents to would-be robbers, he added.