Interior Ministry Officials Meet to Discuss Foreigners’ Safety

Interior Ministry officials met in Phnom Penh on Monday to discuss the security of foreign investors and tourists, with the country’s immigration chief noting that measures were also being taken to ensure that foreigners did not bring trouble into Cambodia.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng told gathered officials that crime was scaring away potential foreign investment and tourism, and called on them to counteract the trend.

“Robbery…and violence among locals has impacted…investment policy and tourism,” he said. “Some crimes have happened to foreigners who are staying in Cambodia, some of them losing their lives and some getting injured or losing their possessions, money and travel documents.

“To contribute to attracting investors and foreign tourists to invest in or visit Cambodia…we must work harder to make the whole society feel safe, especially investors and tourists so their activities go smoothly and legally without interruption,” Mr. Kheng said.

A plan handed out at the meeting calls for the dissemination of the phone number for a hotline foreigners can call if they are in need of assistance, better cooperation with companies who cater to tourists, and tightening of restrictions on companies or individuals who provide transportation to foreigners.

Sok Phal, head of the Interior Ministry’s general department of immigration, said measures were also being taken to ensure that foreign criminals were not operating in the country.

“Crimes that take place against foreign investors and tourists come from our people, but another part is from foreigners who come from abroad,” said General Phal, adding that Sihanoukville, Siem Reap City and Phnom Penh were hubs for crime among foreigners.

“There are many companies challenging each other, resulting in injuring each other and causing traffic accidents with each other,” Gen. Phal said. “We have found that there are many foreigners who do not respect our Cambodian law.”

Gen. Phal said the immigration department has placed more than 3,000 foreigners on a “blacklist” to indicate that they are suspected of being criminals, noting that some were involved in international crime syndicates while others had smuggled goods across the border.

“This blacklist is for us to track down foreigners who live abroad and in the country to take action complying with Cambodian law,” he said.

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