Officers at the Phnom Penh International Airport denied claims that a Kenyan woman was discriminated against on Monday, saying she was denied entry to the Kingdom for not meeting proper requirements.
Comments by the woman, Mwangi Mumbi Muthoni, which were published in an online forum for expatriates, said she was told she couldn’t enter the country without proving she had $1,000 in cash.
Despite having a valid e-visa, passport and a letter of invitation to volunteer, Muthoni was allegedly asked to prove she had available funds and told to fly back to Malaysia if she didn’t have the money.
“They said they wanted to see my bank account balance. I asked why, and they said they wanted to see if I had enough money to support myself,” she said, adding that she had $250, and 100 Malaysian ringgit on her.
Muthoni said she could prove she had more than $1,000 in her bank account within two hours but was told by police that that would be too late.
She said the requirement to have $1,000 in cash wasn’t listed on the government’s website, and that she had been treated differently because she was African.
An immigration officer based at the airport claimed she had been denied entry over fears she would stay illegally in the country. He denied that officials were presented with an invitation letter.
“She came and an officer questioned her. She did not have a clear purpose for entering the Kingdom and no invitation letter. She did not have money and said she had [some] on her bank card, but when we asked her to present it, she did not have that either."
“We suspect that she may have come here to look for work. If we allowed her to enter the Kingdom, we believe there would be problems in the event we had to deport her in future,” the officer said.
The police official cited sub-decree 12, issued in 2016, when saying the requirements for Muthoni’s entry had not been met.