Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo yesterday said his nation stands in solidarity with Cambodian authorities that catch Chinese nationals committing crimes in the country, following criticism from Cambodians on Facebook.
Mr Xiong met with reporters at the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh to address rising concern amongst Cambodians, many of whom believe China is taking over the country, especially in Preah Sihanouk province, where Chinese investment in hotels and casinos has skyrocketed.
Mr Xiong said China absolutely supports the arrests of any of its nationals committing crimes in the country, operating businesses illegally or scamming fellow countrymen back home through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scams.
“Concerning VoIP scams, China absolutely fights against it,” Mr Xiong said, noting some of the cases were bogus because young Chinese people come to Cambodia, lose money gambling and then dupe their parents into thinking they have been kidnapped in order to get their money.
“The Chinese government appeals to all Chinese people who live abroad to respect those countries’ laws and respect their customs and live in peace,” he added.
Mr Xiong noted that more than one million Chinese nationals visited Cambodia in 2017.
“China supports the Cambodian government to take action against any Chinese criminals according to the law,” he said. “We will continue to cooperate and coordinate with the Cambodian government and fight against all illegal activities.”
National Police spokesman General Kirth Chantharith said on Tuesday that some Cambodian people were worried about the rise of China’s influence in the country.
“Some people are worried that the Chinese will make problems for them,” he said.
Gen Chantharith noted that Interior Minister Sar Kheng created a committee to study the situation in Preah Sihanouk province and ensure both sides can live in harmony.
“Mr Kheng will preside over a meeting with the committee to hear its findings on Friday,” he said. “The majority of the Chinese are good, but there will always be some bad apples.”
He added that there were more than 30,000 foreigners from 40 countries in Preah Sihanouk province, but most of them were Chinese.
Since 2011 until October this year 1,133 Chinese nationals, including 222 women, have been deported to China for offences related to cybercrime.