Years of over-indebtedness might soon push Cambodia into a crisis as the coronavirus makes it even harder for families to pay back their loans, experts and debtors say.
While the country has officially registered only 122 cases of COVID-19, thousands of garment workers lost their jobs when their factories closed. Those working in the tourism or service industry similarly have lost their incomes.
Among those struggling with their loans is tuk tuk driver Hy Sokhom. He would usually drop off his wife and adult daughter at a school in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district for them to sell noodles, but the school closed mid-March to contain the spread of the virus, and potential customers no longer congregate in the area. Due to the pandemic, the family has lost $10 of daily income.