Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t warns tourists over use of fake visa websites




Gov’t warns tourists over use of fake visa websites

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged tourirts to only use their official website when applying for visas for Cambodia.

Gov’t warns tourists over use of fake visa websites

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Wednesday urged tourists to avoid websites offering e-visas for Cambodia after receiving fresh reports of tourists being ripped off and losing their money.

The ministry warned prospective visitors to only use its official website as there is no legal framework in place to get back any money that is lost.

The call comes after the ministry found bogus websites – including cambodiaimmigration.org, which charged one unsuspecting tourist $300 – falsely claiming to be able to obtain e-visas for visitors to the Kingdom.

One British national complained to the Cambodian Embassy in London about the excessive cost of an e-visa after they were charged $90 by one such website, which is far in excess of the ministry’s own pricing.According to the ministry’s official website, an application for an e-visa for tourists should be made at evisa.gov.kh. An e-visa is valid for three months and costs $36.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson on Wednesday told The Post that the ministry does not have the framework in place to take legal action against fraudulent websites offering e-visas for foreign tourists over the internet and called on tourists to only use official channels.

Ket Sophann said on Wednesday that e-visas ease the application process while also reducing fees for tourists. He warned that using other websites to apply for one would lead to the applicant being defrauded.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls for those wishing to visit Cambodia to only use the ministry’s website for an e-visa, or to go to their nearest embassy to avoid being deceived. We only issue visas this way,” he said.

The ministry released a letter in 2017 saying it had found 17 websites that fraudulently sell e-visas to tourists at a price far in excess of the true cost on the ministry’s website.

Sophann said he did not know an exact figure on the number of tourists who have been cheated by fraudulent websites.

Phat Sophanit, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, and Kirth Chantharith, the director-general of the ministry’s General Immigration Department, could not be reached for comment.

Tho Samnang, an official at the Legal and Consular Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told local media that those behind the fraudulent websites used a sophisticated system to defraud users.

When applicants typed in the words “Cambodia” and “e-visa”, the browser shows fake websites that have paid to be shown first in the results, he said. With the applicant unaware the sites are bogus, they register, complete the form and then send payment.

“After getting the money for the application, those running the fake websites send the forms to the ministry to issue the e-visa, but we always catch their IP address and do not issue one because the ministry does not permit brokers to act in this way,” he said.

A member of staff at a Phnom Penh tourism company said she was unaware of websites offering e-visas, saying only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its official website could do so.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • Police arrest 29 Chinese for PP kidnapping

    Phnom Penh Military Police arrested 29 Chinese nationals on kidnapping charges on Wednesday. The suspects are said to have abducted three other Chinese nationals from a hotel in Chaktomuk commune, Daun Penh district. The operation took place on Wednesday and was led by two deputy commanders –

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia