Tourists Left in Limbo After Passport Theft From Agency

About 50 tourists whose passports were stolen after being sent away for visa extensions last month were still in limbo on Monday despite a large travel agency reportedly agreeing to foot the bill for new documentation.

According to Chea Sokhum, a branch manager at bus company Virak Buntham, 50 passports were sent to VLK Travel in Sihanoukville from smaller agencies in the coastal town last month. VLK then passed them onto CPSTA, a logistics company, who arranged for the package to be taken to Phnom Penh on a Virak Buntham bus on January 22, Ms. Sokhum said.

The passports were then placed in a Virak Buntham office in Daun Penh district, but were stolen by “two scavengers” that night as a security guard napped, she said.

On Monday, 20 representatives of small travel agencies in Sihanoukville met with VLK, which agreed to foot the bill for issuing new documentation, said Keo Sreyrath, the owner of Otres Tour & Travel.

“I already settled it for the clients. I sent them to Phnom Penh to get new passports, and I will pay for all the expenses,” she said, adding that VLK would reimburse her.

VLK representatives declined to comment.

British backpacker James Lloyd, 22, who was among those whose passports were stolen, said he expected it would be a while before he could get new travel documents.

“We don’t know who is paying and what we’re going to pay for,” he said.

“We were going to leave Cambodia at the end of this month[to go] to Vietnam, me and my friend that I am with,” he said.

“Honestly, we will not be able to do that because it needs more than a month to come through.”

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