Chief of Immigration Police Prok Saroeun claimed Wednesday that authorities are unable to charge the Chinese woman recently apprehended at Pochentong Airport for attempting to bring 40 Chinese passports with valid Cambodian visas into Cambodia.
“The case has not advanced because we are still discussing with higher level authorities. This is the first time we have encountered the case of one person carrying other peoples’ passports….We do not have a law against that yet,” Prok Saroeun said.
However, Ang Eng Thong, head of the Bar Association of Cambodia, said the incident clearly was against Cambodian law, as the woman brought passports into the country for other people apparently already in Cambodia. “This is not tourism. She took passports into the country for other people. This is not legal…. She participated in an act that breaks the immigration law,” said Ang Eng Thong.
Ren Hongli, 33, from Guangzhou province in southern China, remains in detention at Immigration Police headquarters near Pochentong Airport but charges have not been brought, according to Prok Saroeun. “The woman assisted an acquaintance who…asked her to bring the passports. The problem is what should we categorize the crime as? The crime of doing a favor for someone?” Prok Saroeun asked rhetorically.
The Cambodian visas on the 40 passports were issued at the Cambodian Consulate in Guangzhou, police have said.
Foreign Affairs Ministry officials have said they are investigating the case.
Arriving on a flight from Hong Kong, Ren Hongli was taken into custody after the 40 passports with valid Cambodia visas were discovered by Immigration Police based at Pochentong Airport. The passports also contained transit visas for Malaysia and Thailand, Customs Director Pen Siman said at the time.
Police have said the 40 passports were carried into the country for a Phnom Penh tour company.