MUNICIPAL authorities will take steps to bolster security in the run-up to this year's Chinese New Year, banning the sale and use of fireworks and monitoring crowded areas during the six-day holiday, which kicks off Sunday.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the government was concerned the crowds expected to participate in the New Year celebrations - the main holiday in the Chinese calendar - had prompted authorities to consider imposing restrictions.
"Wat Phnom and the Royal Palace are the main places where the authorities have to strengthen security," he said. "The ban on firecrackers is to avoid opportunists who could create an explosive device. [It] is important for security."
The municipality has also issued a statement instructing citizens to be careful of any fires that could be caused during New Year celebrations at pagodas across the city.
Even though there is a longstanding ban on selling fireworks, there are still small numbers of people who are likely to play with firecrackers illegally imported, said Hy Prou, Phnom Penh municipal deputy police chief.
"We are telling the relevant authorities to monitor any shops selling firecrackers. If we find any, we will seize them and educate the shopowners [about the ban]," he said.
Sea Hong, an administrator at Toun Hua Chinese School in Phnom Penh, said that it will close for 10 days over Chinese New Year, adding that it approved of the new regulations.
"We Chinese descendants do not mind about the banning of firecrackers during Chinese New Year. The authorities have the right to ensure order in the city," he said.