Police Warned to Drop Investigation of Chinese

Police investigating 17 Chinese nationals discovered Tuesday in a house in the capital’s Prampi Makara district said they have been threatened anonymously to keep away from the case, Yim Simony, Prampi Makara district police chief, said Wednesday.

The 13 women and four men—all of whom have valid Chi­nese passports and one-month visas for Cambodia—were being routinely investigated when police officers were threatened by telephone callers to back off the case, Yim Simony said.

“Neighbors reported to the po­lice post that many Chinese were staying in the house….When the police came to check their passports, they received many threatening telephone calls….We do not know who they are,” he said.

According to Prampi Makara police, the 17 Chinese investigated Wednesday said they traveled to Cambodia to work in the country’s garment factories. The au­thenticity of the passports belonging to the 17 Chinese are currently being checked, Bith Kim Hong, deputy municipal police chief, said.

Another senior law enforcement officer said Wednesday that people organizing the smuggling of Chinese immigrants through Cambodia to third countries have powerful backers within the government and police force.

The official said, for example, that the 224 Chinese arrested two weeks ago at a Tuol Kok district house likely were waiting to be helped out of Cambodia, and probably were en route to the US or Australia.

Some have their own Chinese passports, while others buy Cambodian passports here, the official alleged. Each pays thousands of dollars to be helped to Western nations, the official said.

(Addi­tional re­port­ing by Kevin Doyle)

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