The government on Tuesday issued a statement addressing social media chatter concerning the rise of Chinese nationals in the province of Preah Sihanouk by reminding the general public that racism will not take place in the country.
The recent influx of Chinese nationals in Preah Sihanouk has sparked debate among Cambodians on Facebook and Twitter, where many have criticised the group for a rise in crime in the province.
The government statement said its has been monitoring social media posts, and slammed the media for “reporting on the matter on behalf of their own interests”.
It also said that the government has taken strong action against those breaking the law.
“For instance, there were some foreign tourists who were deported by using the Kingdom’s existing laws,” the statement said. “The government strongly hopes that authorities at all levels continue to enforce the law in the fields of tourism and investment.”
Preah Sihanouk Governor Yun Min yesterday said the province has benefited from the rise of tourists and investments.
“I ask that our people understand and look at the bright side of development,” he said. “Preah Sihanouk is now under control. We are working hard to ensure safety and a good environment for investors.”
Major General Chuon Narin, the provincial chief of police, said that crimes committed by Chinese nationals have decreased over the past two months.
“I would stress that it’s all under control. We took strong action by cracking down on crimes and educate new foreigners, especially Chinese nationals,” Maj Gen Narin said. “There are crimes, but if you look closer, ordinary crimes happen across the country – not just Preah Sihanouk.”
Andy Zhang, a Chinese tourist, said he flew here to search for an investment opportunity after hearing about Chinese achievements in Cambodia.
“Most Chinese people are like me, we come searching to easily operate a business,” Mr Zhang said. “I think Cambodia is the right place to invest.”
An estimated 1.5 million Chinese tourists have visited Cambodia so far this year. The number is about 300,000 higher when compared to last year’s 1.2 million.
In separate news, Chinese police will come to the Kingdom to transport about 200 Chinese scammers who were arrested on Monday in Takeo province, a senior Interior Ministry official said yesterday.
Takeo police said a total of 235 Chinese nationals living in Bati and Tram Kak districts were arrested over online scams following an investigation conducted by the Counter Terrorism and Cross Border Crime department.
The Chinese nationals were questioned by police and Chinese police will now pick up the alleged criminals on an unannounced date.
“We are waiting for Chinese police to take their plane and pick up the suspects from our airport because we can’t afford to deport them ourselves,” said Lieutenant General Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the General Immigration Department. “We cannot say when they will be deported because we still need approval from higher-level officials.”