Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 'Airport robbery'



'Airport robbery'

'Airport robbery'

Dear Editor,

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

I often visit Cambodia, my native country, to do volunteer work (and also to play)

since early 1992. I have been fortunate enough to witness Cambodia grow and develop

as a nation just awakened from decades of devastating war. So much has changed since,

but one thing has not changed. It is the culture of extortion at Pochentong International

Airport in Phnom Penh.

If you are an overseas Khmer traveling through Pochentong over the years, you know

exactly what I am talking about. You may even personally experience some of the cruel

treatments received there. Sadly, it appears that only overseas Khmer are the target

to receive such "special" treatment.

What sort of treatment? It is the extortion of money from overseas Khmer by the custom

officials at Pochentong. The tactic they use is always the same. They hold the passport

(aka passport-knapped) until a hefty ransom is paid. If you pay up, it is quick and

painless. You would be out the door faster than you can say "uncle". If

not, plan on being held up for a long while.

If you are a foreign tourist, you need to pay only the $20 visa fee and need not

worry about associated harassment whatsoever.

My most recent trip to Phnom Penh via Pochentong cost me a total of $40 US. The fact

that overseas Khmer currently do not need to pay a "visa fee" escaped the

professionals at Pochentong all together. I had no choice but to pay the crooked

agent who, I know for a fact, works for a bigger crook at Pochentong. Again, this

is nothing new as it happened all the time to the majority of overseas Khmer who

have no influential relatives or friends to intervene. Yes, it is very sad.

Unfortunately, this has become a routine based on my own and others overseas Khmer's

experience. The airport custom officials know full well that they can get away with

it. There is a good chance, they knew, that the overseas Khmer will not make a big

fuss about it. Not when they know

that the entry into Cambodia (after a very long ride in the plane), will be denied

and the passport is retained indefinitely. Let's just simply call it "airport

robbery" because I do not mind donating some pocket change to underpaid civil

servants. However, a ransom demand is just not acceptable!

- Ronnie Yimsut, Oregon, USA, email: [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and