Fighting Crime in Sihanoukville Has Been Tough, Says Governor

Preah Sihanouk’s governor said tackling the transnational crimes that have plagued his province has been tough but is now under control, with extra measures needed to prevent future criminal activities
Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun
Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun

Preah Sihanouk’s provincial governor admitted on Wednesday that there has been difficulties dealing with online scams and other crimes in the province and extra measures need to be put in place to fight new crimes occurring in the future.

“Criminals who commit transnational crime are recognized as internationally experienced perpetrators, so the perpetrators are unusual and complex,” Kuoch Chamroeun said at a press conference at the Office of the Council of Ministers.

In terms of criminality, Chamroeun said that certain incidents are still tough to solve because there are so many foreigners in the country and there are security issues, including cybercrime, which is more prevalent than in other than provinces, as well as crimes of attempted repression, labor, sex, and human trafficking.

Chamroeun said that the spike in crime between July and August prompted a number of crackdowns. On some days, these netted up to 10 cases of criminal activity. However, he said crimes have now slowed down and brought some relief.

“However we have not slowed down with our activities,” Chamroeun said. “The authorities can regulate the current rate of crime, but criminals continue to consider alternative types of illegal activity.”

He added that the situation is under control and the administration has made efforts to plan ahead to manage the condition of crimes, acting to stop further criminal activities from occurring.

Also speaking at the press conference, Chuon Narin, provincial police chief, said the arrival of heavy investment in casinos and hotels in Sihanoukville between 2018 and 2019 attracted many criminals.

Narin said despite police not being trained in how to investigate international crimes, officers have tried their best.

Provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, Cheab Sotheary, said generally the situation in Sihanoukville has returned to normal and is more stable than before, while businesses have also reopened.

She added, “Between September and October we were consistently flooded with crackdown information scams from the family of victims, mostly foreigners. Nowadays, crackdowns are on drugs.”