Prime Minister Hun Sen is Considering Beating as Sentence for Littering

  • Phoung Vantha
  • October 22, 2019 12:12 PM

The Cambodian government is looking into imposing beating as a sentence for those found guilty of throwing garbage in public spaces and streets.  

During his speech at a private school’s graduation ceremony Tuesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that he wants to introduce beating for such offenses as is being done in Singapore. “We [in Cambodia] eat and then throw away,” he said. 

This is such a widespread habit that hundreds of garbage-removal companies would not be able to handle all that garbage, Hun Sen said. “In the future, there is only one way…[to] follow Singapore [example].

“What has Singapore done? They arrested and hit, and cleaned the roads too,” he said. 


Caning is one of the sentences imposed on men in Singapore. It is applicable in the case of more than 30 offenses including vandalism, rape and drug trafficking.   

Soeng Sen Karuna of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (Adhoc) said that Cambodia does not have any law in which the sentence includes hitting a suspect. He added that the prime minister’s comments concerned him as his words always are more powerful than any law.   

"The leader cannot raise [such issues]…through feelings,” he said.  “The government should think more critically—not just say [ordering]—how it affects. As I noted, because of the authority he is, his [Hun Sen] fans will follow his orders even if what he said is against the law and affects society." 

Karuna added that a violent measure is not the best way to deal with that case: The best way is to educate people and impose strict fines on those who don't manage their trash properly.

In his speech, Hun Sen said that Singapore imposes such sentences not only on nationals who throw rubbish in public places but also on foreigners living in Singapore who commit similar offenses.

The prime minister has ended the garbage-removal contract of the company Cintri as it could not on its own effectively handle rubbish in Phnom Penh, he said. He called for bids from three or four companies to manage rubbish collection in the capital.

Cintri (Cambodia) is a private company that was established August 2002 to handle garbage removal and transport in the capital.

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