Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Suggestions for dealing with gang violence



Suggestions for dealing with gang violence

Suggestions for dealing with gang violence

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the article "City authorities ban samurai swords after upswing in violence" (June 22, 2009). Police say the swords, widely available in the capital, are the weapon of choice for student gangs, and have featured in recent brutal attacks.

I do agree with city authorities in prohibiting the sale of samurai swords in Cambodia's markets. Swords have been used to commit crimes and inflict severe or fatal injuries. However, there are six main approaches to respond effectively to gang violence.

First, we must eliminate the culture of impunity that allows rich and powerful people to live outside the law. In the past, Prime Minister Hun Sen has stated that he would leave office if he were unable to deal with gangsters. He also warned that any government official unable to deal effectively with gang violence would be removed from his or her position. So far, I have not seen anyone removed from office on these conditions.

Second, Cambodian youths learn violent behaviour in part from international films and even locally produced comedies.

Third, the prevalence of domestic violence also reinforces violent approaches to conflict resolution.

Fourth, the Kingdom does not have enough recreational outlets or government-sponsored programs and activity centres to provide outlets for young people, particularly in the areas of athletics, art and music.

Fifth, drugs are easily accessible and contribute to a culture of violence, leading rival gangs to fight over territory and profits.

Lastly, there are many donor-funded organisations that focus broadly on education, health and youth leadership. But there are very few NGOs that work exclusively on community safety and youth-oriented violence, particularly among Cambodia's middle- and upper-class youth.

I hope that a balanced approach as outlined above might help the government deal more effectively with gang-related violence and get closer to eliminating violence in Cambodian society.

Tong Soprach
Phnom Penh

Send letters to: [email protected] or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.
The views expressed above are solely the author's and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.