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Naturalised citizens cannot get diplomatic passports

Ros Chanveasna / Khmer Times Share:
A man has his passport photo taken. KT/Mai Vireak

The government has issued a directive banning the issuance of diplomatic passports to foreigners who are naturalised Cambodian citizens and advisors or assistants to ministries or public institutions, according to a letter signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday.

In the letter, Mr Hun Sen said that in the past, some ministries and public institutions appointed foreigners as advisors or assistants and some of those who obtained Cambodian citizenship have applied for diplomatic passports.

He said that diplomatic passports are not to be issued to advisors or assistants who are not Cambodians by birth, adding that exceptions can only be made through a government order, if necessary.

“All concerned ministries and institutions are to take back diplomatic passports issued to their advisors and assistants who do not hold citizenship by birth, and hand them over to the Foreign Affairs Ministry no longer than a month after it [the directive] has been signed,” he said.

Mr Hun Sen ordered the Foreign Ministry to determine which naturalised person has been issued a diplomatic passport and to declare it null and void and also ordered the Interior Ministry to prevent the use of such passports to cross the country.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Ket Sophann could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Last week, Hong Kong-based English language daily South China Morning Post reported that former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra obtained a Cambodian passport to register a company in Hong Kong.

However, the Cambodian government denied that a passport had been issued to Ms Yingluck.

Mao Chandara, a secretary of state at Interior Ministry, who in charge of identification refused to comment on the matter yesterday.

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