For assured justice, Cambodia’s streets often render it

Happy holidays to one and all!


Some of the most popular pieces in local newspapers concern crime.

Two of the local English-language publications have standing columns devoted to briefs about petty and not-so-petty crimes, from muggings to murders.

The dailies that Cambodians readers consume often carry photos so grisly that most Westerners are horrified by what they may glimpse.  No U.S. newspaper would publish them.

What captured my attention in the last few weeks has been the volume of accounts of street justice, which frequently proves to be far more severe, even life-threatening, than anything the courts here might impose.

I’ve collected a sample of such interactions below.

Poached passenger

Party cleaver

Karaoke routine

Wedding row

Wine headache




Hitting the books

Pig penance

Burger’s bungle

If you’ve clicked on any of the links, you now appreciate how brutal street justice can be.

I certainly don’t condone the practice, but I should note here that underpaid police officers cannot be counted on to be helpful when they learn of a crime.

Whether that is the reason for street justice or its prevalence is merely a manifestation of a cultural phenomenon I’ll leave for others to say.


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