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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Immigration: The view from the street

Immigration: The view from the street

Immigration: The view from the street

A STREET survey of both Khmer and Vietnamese attitudes towards the immigration law and immigrants in general has been carried out by the Post. Here are the results:

Ethnic Vietnamese Pham Yang Houng, 63, a carpenter

"I think I have been living in Cambodia for three lives already. Even my great grand parents were also born here in Russeikeo district, Phnom Penh. But it depends on the government - if they let us stay we prefer to stay and if they want us to leave we will leave."

Ethnic Khmer Sao Kun, a barber

"This is not racial discrimination, but the Vietnamese should respect our territorial integrity. Never do people run from a peaceful country to the one that has war like the Vietnamese. Throughout history, the Vietnamese had used such tricks of sending more and more of their people to our country and then they would expanded their families and take our land. We have lost a lot of land to the Vietnamese."

Ethnic Vietnamese Troung Thu Be, 45, a trader

"My parents were born in Battambang, and so was I. If they want us to go back to our home place, we are glad to go back to Battambang. We really want to live in Cambodia, but it depends on the laws of the government."

Ethnic Khmer Chea Virak, a student at Phnom Penh University

"Not many good people have ever come to Cambodia. Many Vietnamese men come to be thieves and get our men to follow them, while lots of Vietnamese girls come here to sell their sex and make bad models for some Khmer girls."

Ethnic Vietnamese Cheary, 43, a tailor

"Actually, I don't know what sorts of Vietnamese people should be driven out of Cambodia. My husband is Vietnamese and he was born in this country. I came here in 1985. So should I be chased out? But we cannot separate our family. If they want us to go we have to go as a family and if not we would like to live here together. However, we Vietnamese are doing proper business in Cambodia. Another thing I feel doubtful about is that there are also Cambodian people living in Vietnam, so will they also be sent back to Cambodia?"

Ethnic Khmer, anonymous cyclo driver at Phsar Kandal market

"We want the Vietnamese who have been living illegally in Cambodia to go back to their country, because our nationalities are different. And we have different traditions and customs. We are the Khmers. We should live in Cambodia and they are the Vietnamese. They should live in Vietnam. I think nearly all the Vietnamese who used to live in the Sangkum Reastr Niyum were killed by the Khmer Rouge along with our unfortunate Khmer people."

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