The Chinese government yesterday recommended that Cambodian police continue cracking down on any Chinese people committing crimes in Cambodia.
Liao Jinrong, director-general of the International Cooperation Department of China’s Ministry of Public Security, yesterday met with Cambodian National Police chief General Neth Savoeun at National Police headquarters.
Kirth Chantharith, spokesman for the National Police, said the meeting between Mr Liao and Gen Savoeun was held to prepare a visit by China’s Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi to Cambodia in May.
He said that during the meeting, Mr Liao said that China supported Cambodian police cracking down on any Chinese nationals committing illegal acts in Cambodian territory.
Gen Chantharith said Chinese police have since 2010 recommended that Cambodian police crack down on offences committed by Chinese people.
“Mr Liao Jinrong said that Chinese people who come to Cambodia must obey Cambodia’s laws and traditions and he suggested to Cambodian police to continue to crack down strictly on them, and not be concerned about the country’s friendship with China,” he said.
Gen Chantharith added that Mr Liao also asked the Cambodian government to protect Chinese people when they come to visit, work or invest in the country.
In 2017, Preah Sihanouk province welcomed nearly two million tourists, including 470,000 foreigners, according to Mr Chantharith.
Of the total number of foreign arrivals, nearly 120,000 were Chinese, an increase of 126 percent year-on-year.
“For Chinese investors in Sihanoukville, National Police chief Neth Savoeun told Chinese police that Cambodia was ensuring their safety,” Mr Chantharith said.
He added that Cambodia suggested that China help donate walkie-talkies and other technical material.
According to an Interior Ministry report, 1,133 Chinese nationals, including 222 women, were deported to China for offences related to cybercrime from 2011 to 2017.
Earlier this month, immigration police deported 89 Chinese nationals who were arrested in Phnom Penh in connection with online gambling and Voice over Internet Protocol extortion scams.
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said yesterday that it was not the first time the Chinese government has appealed to the Cambodian government to crack down on Chinese citizens committing crimes in Cambodia.
However, he added that some Chinese people were still committing crimes in Cambodia and using their power to get away with it.
“I think the suggestion by China just shows they support Cambodia in cracking down on their nationals,” Mr Chey said.
In January, Preah Sihanouk provincial Governor Yun Min sent a report to Interior Minister Sar Kheng, noting that the increase in Chinese investment had led to opportunities for Chinese mafia members to set up criminal networks and commit various crimes, including kidnapping.
Sok Phal, director-general of the Immigration Department, downplayed the issue last month, saying there was no problem with the increase of Chinese in Sihanoukville because the authorities were very strict in enforcing immigration laws and suppressing crimes.