Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen: Claim that China is ‘invading’ Kingdom is crazy

Hun Sen: Claim that China is ‘invading’ Kingdom is crazy

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Deported suspects of VoIP scams are escorted by Chinese police to the aircraft on October 15. Many raise concerns about the increase of crime as more Chinese live and work in the Kingdom. Heng Chivoan

Hun Sen: Claim that China is ‘invading’ Kingdom is crazy

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday slammed critics over claims that China is “invading” Cambodia, calling the argument “crazy”.

Speaking to members of Cambodian diaspora in Geneva, Switzerland, Hun Sen said some people were concerned about the influx of Chinese nationals who live and work in the Kingdom, particularly in Preah Sihanouk province.

He argued that the Chinese are in Cambodia to “fill the gap in the Kingdom’s construction labour market”.

“There are a lot of construction projects [in Cambodia], but we don’t have enough skilled workers, therefore we have to bring [the Chinese] in to build our bridges and help with many other projects."

“When they finish their work, they will return to their home country. So don’t question … we don’t have any law that allows them to stay, after all,” said Hun Sen.

He said last year, there were about 1.2 million Chinese tourists in Cambodia. This year that number can grow to 1.5 million.

“And talking about China invading Cambodia … isn’t there Chinatown in France? Yes! Chinatown in the US? Yes! Even Cambodia has no Chinatown,” he said.

Hun Sen said some former opposition politicians had severely criticised the influx of the Chinese as they believed they [the Chinese] always committed various crimes, and that they pose serious risks to the Kingdom.

But he argued: “When [the Chinese] don’t come to invest, [the opposition] would talk. When they come to invest, [the opposition] say they came to invade Cambodia … What’s wrong with these people? Crazy!

“We are a sovereign state. China has never even sent their troops beyond their borders. How many times have other countries sent their troops to invade Cambodia?”

The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration director-general Sok Phal has said that, currently, there are about 210,000 Chinese nationals living in Cambodia.

Of the number, over 70,000 live in Preah Sihanouk province alone.

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said the government must strictly enforce immigration laws following the increase of various crimes “committed by Chinese nationals”.

“If the government prevents and controls the Chinese properly, then people wouldn’t be so worried,” he said.

Chey said the influx of Chinese workers takes away benefits from Cambodia’s labour force.

The country’s workers, he argued, would lose employment opportunities which will result in Cambodians emigrating to other countries to find work.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.