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Government releases census on foreigners in Sihanoukville

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A Chinese tourist enjoys a foot massage at the beach. Sahiba Chawdhary

Government releases census on foreigners in Sihanoukville

Preah Sihanouk provincial police and relevant authorities released a first census on foreign residents on Thursday, which showed that foreigners in the province had shown a strong increase in recent years.

The report’s findings were released at a meeting led by the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Immigration director-general Kirth Chantharith and provincial governor Yun Min on Wednesday.

Chantharith said it was the first census for foreigners who are living and working in, and visiting the area.

Between December 16 last year and January 15 this year, the authorities visited 418 residences in the province, counting 13,859 foreigners (of which 2,896 were female), from 30 nationalities. Of them, Chinese nationals comprised the vast majority, with 12,454 living and working in the province.

Chantharith said national level authorities must cooperate with their provincial counterparts to enforce the law upon all people in the Kingdom without discrimination, adding that authorities must support and protect foreigners legally living and working in Cambodia.

“But with respect to foreigners who violate the laws of Cambodia, the authorities must take legal action without any hesitation or tolerance,” he said.

Min said the province’s foreign population had increased dramatically due to rapid development in construction projects, and investment in new residences and infrastructure.

“There has been a rapid increase in foreign people living in the province, with many different nationalities currently residing in Preah Sihanouk. Chinese nationals by far had the highest number,” Min said.

In the report, foreign nationals were classified into three distinct categories. They included company owners, workers and tourists.

Deputy provincial police chief for immigration Hun Sorithy said that in order to efficiently control the immigrant population in the province, task forces need to cooperate with interior ministry experts and be on alert round the clock.

He added that his team would continue to control, manage and review all foreigners that came in and went out of the province, saying authorities must keep close tabs on all foreign business owners as well.

“My team will continue to cooperate with relevant authorities in order to preserve security, public safety and public order for foreigners who stay in Preah Sihanouk province,” he said.

Chantharith could not be reached for comment on this story.

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