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The curious case of the good cops

It’s been rare for Siem Reap expats to have anything good to say about local police – but now many expats are singing the praises of a social networking good cop and his determined team.

On Siem Reap’s popular Expats Facebook page, provincial immigration police officer Yut Sinin has been referred to as “the good policeman” and “a great man,” gaining over 150 ‘likes’ for his posts about stolen items and warnings about shady characters.

Earlier this month he posted about a stolen Galaxy tablet that had been recovered through his efforts. Shortly after, it was returned to its owner, Tereshonok Tanechka who delightedly wrote,

Yut Sinin’s good deeds as a policeman have made him a hero among the expat Facebook set.​​
Yut Sinin’s good deeds as a policeman have made him a hero among the expat Facebook set.​​ PHOTO SUPPLIED

“I do not believe my luck! This is my Galaxy tablet which was stolen about a month ago, police found it. Many thanks to the valiant police!”

She later posed for a picture with Sinin and the retrieved tablet.

And it’s just not expats singing Sinin’s praises. Ponheary Ly, founder of the Ponheary Ly Foundation, wrote that she was proud of the police in her town, while many others have urged Sinin to “keep up the good work.”

Yut Sinin, 38, who has worked in Siem Reap police headquarters Immigration Department for five years, told Insider that he felt a deep obligation to provide safety and security for international visitors and residents in Siem Reap. “I am a policeman working for my people, it is my obligation to work for them from my heart without any discrimination,” he said.

Sinin has earned a reputation for taking crimes seriously and working towards returning stolen items to the original owners.

“They hope we can bring back what they lost and that is the reason they come to us, so it is our job and it is what we must do,” Sinin said, noting that the areas in town that criminals were most likely to target expats and tourists are Wat Damnak and Wat Bo.

“Every month there are about ten cases of stolen items included bag snatching,” he explained.

But while Sinin has become the expat Facebook poster boy, he points out the kudos should also go to his team, including his offsider, first lieutenant Im Reahul.

The first lieutenant said that policemen absolutely had an obligation to protect citizens and tourists, and to keep the peace in the city.

“When we receive a phone call from tourists or expats reporting any crime, we will not ignore them. We will pay attention because we know how they feel and then we will try our best to investigate and work on their cases,” he said.

Both Sinin and Reahul are happy about the expat praise on Facebook. “We are happy to hear this. Maybe it’s the first time that foreigners have described Cambodian police like this,” Reahul said.

Both cops said they know everyone talks about the Cambodian police having a bad reputation among foreigners over factors like corruption. But Sinin said that’s why his team tries hard because they would like to eliminate this idea from people’s thinking.

“Not all policemen are as bad as they think,” he said. “Money is not more important than seeing people living in this town safely.”

Sinin added that he feels pained when foreigners phone for help when they lose their goods and promise to give him money if he solves their cases.

“I am hurt when I hear such words. Not everyone needs money in order to do their job,” he said.

Reahul added the team’s actions will help expats be aware that Cambodia and Siem Reap have laws that everyone has to respect.

While Insider was interviewing the good cops, two foreigners walked into the office to file complaints that their Suzuki motorbike was stolen from their house on Sunday morning after thieves cut a hole in the wire mesh fence.

One guy added that he had emailed his embassy for advice but hadn’t had any response. After a ten minute conversation, the police officers checked ownership documents, and then went to the house to investigate.

Later the victim added praise on the Expat Page commenting, “And when it comes to money or bribes (the big forbidden question), up until now nobody asked me for anything despite some policemen making personal expenses. Honestly. Of course I will express my gratitude in an appropriate and correct way.”

Siem Reap Immigration Department welcomes any call for help and complaints about crime 24/7. Contact Yut Sinin: 017 600 700, 097 933 3869.

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