Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ugly New Year




Ugly New Year

Ugly New Year

Last Thursday evening (17th April), the traditionally boisterous New Year celebrations

sadly degenerated into mob violence, largely directed at women and girls. Around

Wat Phnom, a mob of about a hundred young men verbally and physically abused every

female they encountered. On the riverfront, male youths formed two lines, and motorists

and cyclists were forced to "run the gauntlet".

Men on motorbikes and in cars were generally allowed to pass relatively unhindered,

but women and girls were pushed, slapped, sometimes dragged from their motos, and

chased through the streets by a howling mob of up to a hundred young men. This wasn't

the good-natured play and throwing of water that characterized earlier celebrations.

This behaviour was sexist, ugly, and shameful.

Groups of youths on motorbikes rode up and down the riverfront, chanting and yelling,

in a manner disturbingly reminiscent of January 29th. At around 1am, armed police

arrived, but by then the majority of the mob had dispersed.

We would like to believe that this behaviour is uncharacteristic, but there is growing

evidence of young men in Phnom Penh pushing the boundaries of acceptable behavior,

particularly towards women.

Recent research has highlighted the increasing incidence of bowk - gang-rape of young

women by groups of largely middle-class youths.

Parents, teachers, local authorities, and youths themselves have a duty to curtail

this behaviour before it becomes the norm.

We hope that this letter, and the recent press articles on gang rape, will help to

stimulate public debate on this issue, and provide a platform for addressing this

disturbing trend.

- David & Sharon Wilkinson - PO Box 1642 - Phnom Penh

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15