In the first three months of 2019, 241 Chinese were detained by Cambodian authorities, more than the Vietnamese, Thais, South Koreans and Americans. Chinese nationals also top the list of victims of offences as well. “The issue is that Chinese nationals boast of relations with the Royal Government,” one official said. For activist, Chinese nationals should be monitored to see if “they respect our traditions and customs, and Cambodian law”.
Phnom Penh (AsiaNews) – In the first three months of this year, Cambodian authorities intensified their crackdown against crime. Among foreigners, people from China rank first in terms of offences committed in the country, more than Vietnamese, Thais, South Koreans and Americans, this according to an Interior Ministry report released yesterday.
During the first quarter of this year – actually from 20 December 2018 to 19 March 2019 – foreigners committed 82 offences across the capital and 11 provinces.
A total of 341 people from 20 countries were taken into custody in connection with some 20 types of offences. In all, 241 Chinese nationals were detained, followed by Vietnamese (49), Thais (926), South Koreans (4) and Americans (3).
The report also notes that 167 foreigners were victims of the same offences across the capital and 14 provinces for the same period. In total there were 211 victims from 35 nationalities, with Chinese nationals suffering the most at 98, followed by French (12), English (11), Germans (9), and Americans (7).
The offences involve “drug dealing, sexual harassment, illegal marriages, the overstaying of visas and so on. The majority of victims were foreigners who suffered from accidents, illnesses, suicide and traffic accidents,” the report says.
For O’Russey I commune police chief Thong Mardy, “Chinese nationals who come don’t seek to learn our laws.” What is more, “Chinese nationals who come here were mostly criminals in China who have poor track records. And they commit offences . . . Were we to implement our country’s legal measures, there’d be no pardons for them."
“The issue is that Chinese nationals boast of relations with the Royal Government of Cambodia and claim they are very intimate. These are personal views, not common ones. If our government recognised the Sino-Cambodian friendship ties, they would not be allowed to come to our country in such an anarchic manner,” he added.
Civil society groups have long criticised the administration for its alleged negligence towards the increasing inflow of Chinese nationals into Cambodia and have called on the authorities to take appropriate steps.
In particular, activists blame the government for relying too much on foreign investments and tourism for the economic progress of the Kingdom.
“The government should regard Chinese nationals as a group who are to be placed under administrative control and monitored for various offences,” said San Chey, executive director of Affiliated Network for Social Accountability.
“We insist that there be inspections of their comings and goings, their residences and their workplaces to ensure that they respect our traditions and customs, and Cambodian law."