POLICE broke up an engagement party for seven Cambodian-Korean couples in Tuol Kork district on Tuesday morning, suspecting that the pairs were getting married without following proper procedure.
Hy Prou, deputy chief of the Phnom Penh municipal police, said police received a tip-off on Tuesday that the couples were being married through a marriage broker in violation of Cambodian law.
“We stopped the party because they threw the party without asking permission from the authorities and they didn’t respect the [law],” he said.
Hy Prou said the couples were released with just a warning after it was found the women had not been forced to attend and because the couples maintained that they were just being “introduced” to each other.
In November 2008, following a spike in marriages between Korean men and Cambodian women, the government banned brokers from arranging foreign marriages.
A blanket ban on foreign marriages followed in March 2010, because of concerns for women who were migrating overseas.
When the ban was lifted in late April, the government introduced requirements that foreigners looking to marry Cambodians appear in person to submit applications to the relevant authorities.
Though police did not make any arrests during Tuesday’s raid, there have been concerns raised about the Association for People Protection, the group that organised the meeting.
Jiyoung Leean, a member of the South Korea-based Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives, wrote in May that APP claims to have been “established under the Ministry of Interior in Cambodia to help Cambodian women who want to have international marriage”.
She said that the group was using nonprofit terminology in order to mask the nature of its operations.
Officials at the Interior and Foreign ministries could not provide confirmation about APP’s status yesterday.
Representatives from APP also declined to comment.