Finnish Man Found Homeless in Preah Sihanouk

A Finnish man is homeless and wandering the streets of Preah Sihanouk province with police trying to contact foreign embassies for help, officials said Wednesday.

Provincial immigration police chief Som Saroeun said officials are concerned about the man, whose identity was not available to police, and believe he has fallen ill. He said the homeless adult man was first spotted in Mittapheap district’s Commune II sitting down, reportedly because of pain in his leg.

“We saw his leg was swollen. We are very worried about him,” he said. “We cannot do anything but contact the embassy to get him and observe him.”

Lars Backstrom, the Finnish ambassador in Thailand, said the embassy is aware of the man’s case but could provide no further details about how it learned of his plight, the man’s identity or what steps, if any, the Finnish government was taking.

“I’m not at liberty to discuss that,” he said Wednesday by telephone.

Som Saroeun said the man has been wandering around Preah Sihanouk with no money or passport, and that it is unclear how the man arrived in the seaside resort town. Officers have also not been able to communicate with the man due to the language barrier and said he is surviving off of donations from passersby, he added.

Som Saroeun said he informed the French Embassy in Phnom Penh about the case in December but has seen no action taken to date.

“We don’t know his name, and we even did not know his nationality until we contacted the French Embassy and an embassy official told us he is Finnish,” he said. “I am waiting for a solution from the embassy.”

Faybene Mansencal, spokeswoman for the French Embassy, confirmed that the office had been told of the situation but added it was awaiting instructions from its Finnish counterpart.

“The French Embassy is in-formed, has contacted the Finnish Embassy in Bangkok and is waiting for a decision from the Finnish authorities,” she wrote in an e-mail Wednesday.


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