The followings article was translated by Moeun Chhean Nariddh from the
July 4 edition of Raksmei Kampuchea (Cambodian Sunlight).
The increase in armed robbery and the rash of murders since mid-June has shocked
people from all walks of life, especially those who earn their money honestly on
the streets such as the motor-taxi drivers.
Looking into this matter it becomes apparent that at the root of this problem is
the chaos and confusion spawned by the transitional period in the aftermath the elections.
Through investigations and interviews, and according to the competent institutions,
we can identify some reasons for the crime wave as follows:
The preoccupation of nearly all sections and levels of government on the issue of
national reconciliation has resulted in the reduction of their attention to the social
questions-to put it directly-gaps in the work of the government have appeared.
The failure to implement certain aspects of the Paris Peace Accords by all the political
parties, speaking in general, and, in particular, the demobilization of the Cambodian
People's Armed Forces and the failure to collect weapons and other explosives, and
to take measures to resolve the problems of the soldiers who were demobilized. This
has allowed a good opportunity for some devilish groups of people who have cheated
and concealed weapons to be sold in an anarchic way, which has, in the end, caused
these weapons to fall into the hands of gangs of evil-minded persons who have, like
those conferred with tiger fangs, been conducting these outrageously immoral acts.
The rights, freedom and democracy which have been impregnated too rapidly in Cambodia-in
some cases, beyond the limits to absorb them -have made the investigation and search
for the evil-minded gangs become more difficult.
Meanwhile, according to unreliable sources, the bad control of prisons has enabled
many criminals who have robbed and murdered people to escape and continue their old
As for the other reasons, it might be because of the loose controls over the issuance
of car/motor ownership certificates and the free trade of cars and motorcycles. It
has created a favorable condition for gangs of robbers to sell their stolen vehicles
We believe that there are more reasons for the increasing number of robberies, but
everything will be in order again if the social structures are reviewed and adjusted
The Cambodian people, especially those in Phnom Penh, hope that laws and competent
implementors will be able to deal with this problem in the near future.