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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Marriage 'agency' explained

Marriage 'agency' explained

Ministry of Foreign Affairs says agencies cannot charge

THE

Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement Tuesday to explain the

role of the newly established Association of People Protection (APP) in

facilitating marriages between Cambodians and foreigners, stating that

foreigners need not become members of the association or pay any money

"in order to be eligible for marriage with Cambodian citizens".

The

statement, addressed to accredited diplomatic missions, does not name

APP explicitly but states that any intermediary agency accepting money

in exchange for processing foreign marriage applications would be in

violation of government regulations.

Koy Kuong, an

undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said

ministry officials sent the release to foreign embassies to clear up

any confusion stemming from the actions of APP. He said that late last

year, after the lifting of a seven-month ban on foreign marriages, APP

falsely advertised itself as the only association through which foreign

marriage applications could be processed.

But Ha Tai Jun,

adviser to the APP, said the association's original licence from the

Ministry of Interior, issued December 12, 2008, stipulated that it

actually was the only association that could process foreign marriage

applications and that any foreigner looking to marry a Cambodian needed

to join.

In an interview with the Post Wednesday, he said

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng issued APP a "corrected" license on

January 15 stipulating that joining the association was not a

prerequisite for processing a foreign marriage application and that it

could not charge for its services.

Ha Tai Jun said he believed

the licences were changed after South Korea's embassy in Cambodia took

issue with the original arrangement. No one at the embassy was

available for comment Wednesday.

In a letter Friday to the

Post, a Ministry of Interior official cited an article of the subdecree

dealing with foreign marriages that prohibits any marriage arranged

through an agency, broker or commercial enterprise.

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