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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - South Korean man stopped from marrying woman

South Korean man stopped from marrying woman

Authorities have shut down a wedding between a Korean man and a Cambodian woman in Siem Reap, saying they are scared for the bride’s welfare.

On December 19, provincial police led by Choa Moa Vireak, deputy provincial police chief, stopped a traditional ceremony between the Korean groom, who is about 30, and the Cambodian bride, 24.

Kor Houn, deputy chief of Toek Vel district’s Kor Houn village, said authorities were concerned for the fate of brides who travel to Korea, following the death of Cambodian woman Y Silen there in August.

“We need to know [the groom’s] story clearly, because we are afraid,” he said. “As you know, a Cambodian woman was killed by her Korean husband. We have ordered [this couple] to get permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the [South Korean] embassy first.”

Silen’s husband, known publicly only by his family name “Lee”, is accused of murdering Silen, but details of any charges have not been made public.

Silen died in a traffic accident, but suspicions were aroused later when it was discovered that her husband stood to collect up to $9 million in life insurance.

Choam Chhern, Toek Vel commune chief, said the authorities “had not dared” to write an approval letter for the couple in Siem Reap before the wedding, because the groom is from South Korea.

“The groom did not appear [at our office], and they do not have a permission letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said. “How I could approve it? They still tried to have a wedding party, but police stopped it.”

The bride’s family returned to the commune office on Tuesday requesting permission for the wedding, but were again denied, he added.

The government banned foreigners from marrying Cambodian women in 2008 but lifted the ban in early 2009. In 2011, authorities announced that prospective husbands from overseas must be younger than 50 and prove that they earn more than $2,500 per month.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong declined to comment on the Siem Reap case but said the age and salary conditions still apply, especially after recent allegations of abuse from Korea and China.

“Korean and Chinese men must follow these steps,” he said. “If they honestly love a Cambodian woman, they need a letter from their embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior so that the local authorities can provide marriage letters to them.”



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