22 February 2018
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  • » 01/27/2018, 01.28

    CAMBODIA – CHINA

    Governor warns that Chinese investments bring organised crime and instability



    A steady flow of capital has led to a boom in Sihanoukville with new hotels, casinos and housing. Although the authorities have tried to allay fears and concerns, Cambodia is ranked ninth out of 146 in terms of risk on the money-laundering index.

    Phnom Penh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China's growing presence and investments in the fast-developing Cambodian port and province of Sihanoukville have pushed up the crime rate and brought instability, the local governor, Yun Min, said in a letter to the government.

    The two Asian nations have close political, economic and military ties. It is thus rare to hear someone in Cambodia voice criticism of China's heavy involvement and important investments in the country’s thriving economy.

    Beijing's support has boosted Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen following criticism at the banning of the country’s main opposition party ahead of upcoming elections.

    Preah Sihanoukville province in the south-west has seen a construction boom in recent years supported by a steady stream of Chinese money into building hotels, casinos and thousands of housing units.

    In his three-page letter to the Interior minister, Governor Yun Min warned that the Chinese influx had "created opportunities for Chinese mafia to come in and commit various crimes and kidnap Chinese investors, causing insecurity in the province".

    Whilst acknowledging that Chinese investment had created jobs and pushed up real estate prices in the province, Yun Min also complained about drunk Chinese getting into fights in restaurants and about rising hotel prices as a result of Chinese interest in Sihanoukville.

    Interior Ministry spokesperson Khieu Sopheak said he had not yet seen the letter but noted that Cambodia would not be controlled by the Chinese. "We still keep our sovereignty; the Chinese can't control us. If they come as proper investors and respect our laws, it's fine," he explained.

    For its part, the Cambodian government has tried to allay fears and downplay concerns raised by international media about Chinese investors laundering money from criminal activities through the Cambodian real estate market.

    A spokesman for Cambodia's Foreign Ministry recently called reports to that effect "baseless".

    Yet, some analysts warn that rampant corruption, the lack of government transparency, and loose banking regulations make money laundering easier.

    In fact, Cambodia is among the most vulnerable countries in the world in terms of money laundering, this according to the Basel-based Anti-Money Laundering (AML) index, which aggregates data from 17 different sources – including the World Bank, World Economic Forum and the Financial Action Task Force – to assess risk.

    Out of 146 countries, Cambodia ranks 9th for risk of becoming a hotspot for money laundering, after Uganda and before Tanzania.

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    See also

    11/01/2018 14:15:00 CAMBODIA-CHINA
    New economic agreements with Beijing: Phnom Penh increasingly distant from the West

    The two countries are linked by a solid political, economic and military understanding. China provides loans for the construction of an airport and a motorway. Bilateral trade between the two countries will reach $ 6 billion by 2020. 



    30/12/2010 VATICAN
    Pope: new laws for transparency, honesty and accountability in financial matters
    Benedict XVI enacts norms by which all institutions connected with the government of the Catholic Church and the State of Vatican City, are inserted, in a spirit of sincere collaboration, within a system of principles and legal instruments that the international community is building to fight illegal activities such as money-laundering and terrorist financing.

    16/02/2012 NEPAL
    Nepal risks ruin because of Maoist opposition to international financial rules
    The ruling party blocks proposed rules on money-laundering and terrorism that are binding on UN member states in order to prevent Maoist leaders from going on trial. The country could be blacklisted, unable to sell government bonds or attract foreign investment.

    19/05/2014 VATICAN
    Vatican “significantly stregthens” measures against money laundering and financial crimes
    Financial Intelligence Authority presents annual report. "Notable uptake in suspicious transaction reports (STR) from 6 in 2012 to 202 in 2013". In the first quarter of 2014, the AIF has conducted the first routine inspection in situ of the Institute for Works of Religion ( IOR) .

    16/12/2014 CHINA
    China loses US$ 1.25 trillion to tax evasion and corruption
    According to a report by Global Financial Integrity, illicit outflows from the mainland grew exponentially over a ten-year period. Tax evasion and corruption are the main reason. This makes China the biggest loser among 151 developing nations.



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