Background information Cambodia
The youth rat hunters of Phnom Penh
Where Cambodian meat and fish traders peddle their wares under questionable hygienic conditions during the day, young people sneak through the deserted places at night. Hannes Schmid has followed them with a cameraman.
The boys aged 8 to 18 are armed. However, they do not pose any danger. They are out in the markets to hunt rats, which are plentiful here. They kill the rodents with primitive home-made harpoons, which they then sell to traders. They use it to make the questionable meat ingredient in their beefball soup. Really scary, but the reality in a country where around 40% of the population must get by on less than two dollars a day.
NOT FOR WEAK STOMACHES
The film that the “Sonntagsblick” made of the rat hunters contains some very explicit images. But because they show the inhumane conditions under which young people live in the urban swamp of Phnom Penh, we decided to show the film in our stories.