Is Cambodia finally moving on human traffickers?

The government’s tone has changed since Hun Manet took power in August with arrests made and reforms announced, but violence continues.

For more than a year Cambodia has deflected criticism of doing too little too late when dealing with human traffickers, much to the irritation of its major benefactor Beijing, which needs Phnom Penh to rescue Chinese citizens from Chinese gangsters.

It’s an irritation not helped by a widespread and erroneous belief that the Chinese government was working in league with criminal syndicates. This was highlighted by a report released in September last year by the Geneva-based Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime.

Entitled “Sihanoukville a Hub of Environmental Crime Convergence,” the 32-page report challenged the role of “oknhas” — a title bestowed by the Cambodian government on favored businessmen — and singled out Chinese businessmen holding Cambodian citizenship.

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