‘VIP’ jail in Cambodia scrapped

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – A ‘VIP’ prison wing in Cambodia offering cozier cells for a fee has been scrapped, the Interior Ministry said yesterday, after the plan sparked outrage in the kingdom.

Builders broke ground on the USD4 million facility in 2017 and it was nearing completion last week.

But the government backtracked yesterday, citing a lack of experience in managing the system.

“We did plan to have such a facility … but we abandoned the project now,” Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak told AFP.

Cambodia’s prisons are notoriously overcrowded and inmates already have to pay for basic amenities.

The additional wing was informally called a hotel and was supposed to be able to hold up to 400 inmates in roomier conditions than those at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison.

But rights monitors slammed the idea, saying it would create discrimination between the haves and have nots in a country where impunity for the wealthy is common.