CAMBODIAN police have resorted to caning curfew breakers in the capital Phnom Penh to get them to comply with lockdown measures.
Reports have emerged that police were caning those who were out of their houses in red zones for non-essential reasons.
Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng told Khmer Times that this was being implemented with the use of rattan canes in public areas to prevent people from gathering or moving from one place to another.
“I did not order the authorities to use whipping measures against the people, but so far we have to use some tough disciplinary measures so that the people do not continue to disobey the government’s instructions. If they don’t comply, they will be beaten by authorities,” Khuong said.
On Monday, the Phnom Penh Municipal Authority had designated some areas in Meanchey, Por Senchey and Toul Kork districts with the most number of Covid-19 cases as red zones.
Police spokesman San Sok Seiha told local media that the use of these tough measures against adamant violators was to serve as a warning to them rather than arresting, fining or sending them to court.
He added that if the people still did not obey the rules and committed serious violations, they would face more penalties.
“I would like to emphasise that the use of sticks or whips is mainly focused in red zones or the areas which have a high risk of spreading Covid-19,” Seiha said.
He said that since April 15, city authorities have arrested 121 people who violated lockdown measures.
Eleven were produced in court with six being sentenced to jail in Prey Sar prison.
However the move to cane violators did not go down well with some saying it was not good for the country’s image.
Tep Hak Seng, a resident of Sen Sok district, said authorities should educate them first and apply the law that the government had already issued.
“I saw a video shared on Facebook showing the authorities using whips to beat people who do not follow the government’s instructions. It seems a bit cruel, the authorities should implement the law of curfew or lockdown more effectively,” he said.
Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophorn has also issued an additional order to apply tough measures against those breaking the curfew and lockdowns.
“Local authorities, including the armed forces, must implement the utmost care and use ‘hot dharma’ (harsh measures) against any citizen who dares to abuse and defy administrative measures,” he said.
Sophorn said he saw that in Takhmao city, people were still riding motorcycles on the streets as usual and were not afraid of Covid-19 at all.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry detected 446 new cases of Covid-19 in Cambodia on Thursday and announced three more deaths, bringing the death toll to 59.
Most of the cases were in Phnom Penh with 331 infections, followed by Sihanoukville with 82 cases.
The total number of cases in the country now stands at 8,193, of which 7,648 are linked to the February 20 Community Event, where several people who tested positive escaped a quarantine center by bribing a security guard.
By : New Straits Times