American Arrested in Sihanoukville for Expired Visa

Police in Preah Sihanouk province arrested a 25-year-old American man Saturday for overstaying his visa, a local police official said Sunday.

A post on the National Police Website dated Saturday states that a man named Ian Andrew Heller was arrested for holding an “illegal expired passport” in Sihanoukville.

A photo accompanying the post shows Mr. Heller’s photo. The passport was issued in Nebraska.

“We arrested one foreigner on Saturday because he had an expired visa, and we sent him to the department of immigration [in Phnom Penh] on the same day,” Kao Ratana, deputy provincial police chief, said Sunday.

Mr. Ratana confirmed that the foreigner was Mr. Heller from Nebraska, but declined to elaborate on the circumstances of his arrest or detention.

The American’s arrest comes in the midst of a nationwide census of foreigners conducted by the Ministry of Interior that has also seen 14 Vietnamese nationals deported from Ratanakkiri province since August 15.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said last week that the census—which is part of an effort to enforce a long-neglected law that requires foreigners employed in Cambodia to hold work permits—would also be used to identify non-Vietnamese nationals staying in the country illegally.

Sok Phal, director of the Interior Ministry’s new immigration department, Sunday declined to comment on Mr. Heller’s arrest.

“Give me one day. It’s Sunday and I need to celebrate the festival,” General Phal said, referring to the ongoing Pchum Ben festival.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Jay Raman also declined to comment.

“As policy, we do not discuss individual cases,” he said.

(Additional reporting by George Wright)

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