Police Draft Plan to Protect Foreign Nationals and Investors

With petty crime on the rise in Cambodia, the National Police on Friday drafted a plan to protect foreign nationals and investors throughout the country, a police spokesman said Sunday.

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said the draft plan was finished on Friday and sent to all 27 foreign embassies in Phnom Penh.

“The purpose is to protect all foreigners, especially investors and tourists, as part of the government’s strategic plan,” Lieutenant General Chantharith said. “Investment and tourism is very important in developing the economy and reducing poverty.”

Lt. Gen. Chantharith said that during the Interior Ministry’s annual meeting last month, police reported an overall decline in crime across the country, but an increase in petty theft.

“Petty theft, such as pickpocketing and [bag] snatching, has increased a little bit and it has affected foreigners,” he said. “It affects our national reputation.”

Lt. Gen. Chantharith did not specify when or what specific actions would be taken to protect foreigners, but said the plan would be implemented in all provinces.

In a speech to officials at the Interior Ministry on Friday, National Police chief Neth Savoeun said Cambodia welcomed all foreigners—as long as they abide by the country’s laws.

“But Cambodia does not allow mafia foreigners to come to commit illegal offenses on Cambodian land,” General Savoeun said, according to a transcript of the remarks posted to the National Police website on Sunday.

“If this happens, police forces will investigate those people and punish them by the law.”

Gen. Savoeun added that he had also noticed an increase in crimes perpetrated by foreigners in Preah Sihanouk province.

“The foreigners caused offenses such as revenge, shooting with intent to kill, love triangles and business conflicts,” he said.

In recent months, Russian nationals in Sihanoukville have been involved in numerous instances of violence, some of which centered around two wealthy Russian businessmen.

In December, longtime Sihanoukville resident Nikolai Doroshenko accused his rival, Sergei Polonsky, of ordering an attack on his son Ostap, who is a captain in the Preah Sihanouk provincial immigration police force.

Mr. Polonsky, an eccentric former billionaire who is wanted in Moscow on multimillion-dollar embezzlement charges, denied that he orchestrated the attack.

On Sunday, Kol Phally, deputy provincial police chief, said a car parked outside the Doroshenko family’s home in Sihanoukville exploded in the early hours of Friday morning.

“Now we don’t suspect anything, we have to wait for the technicians’ results,” Mr. Phally said of the ongoing investigation into the explosion.

On February 13, a fight broke out between two groups of men at Sihanoukville’s Queenco Hotel and Casino that left at least two men injured, one with a serious stab wound. Witnesses said at the time that the altercation began when one group of men demanded profits from Lotus Tours, which had been selling tickets for the Kazantip music festival on Koh Puos island that was subsequently canceled by local authorities.

In his speech on Friday, Gen. Savoeun said foreigners were also becoming a nuisance in other parts of the country.

He cited a case in January in which three European tourists were deported after being arrested for riding motorbikes naked in Kandal province, as well as the arrest and deportation of two American sisters who were caught taking naked photos of each other at Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap City in February.

(Additional reporting by Ouch Sony)

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