Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police criticised over KKrom

Police criticised over KKrom

Police criticised over KKrom

MUNICIPAL police officials on Tuesday called the representative of a group of 22 Khmer Krom asylum seekers to police headquarters in order to explain the rationale behind the decision to deny them identification cards, a move that has drawn the ire of civil society groups.

The representative, Thach Soong, attended the meeting along with the owner of the home where most members of the group have been staying since being deported from Thailand in December after a failed asylum bid.

On Friday, police informed the Khmer Krom that they could not receive identification cards, which are seen as essential for finding jobs, enrolling in schools, renting accommodation and accessing healthcare, among other things.

After the meeting on Tuesday, Min Sothet, director of statistics and information for the municipal police, reiterated that the Khmer Krom could not receive identification cards because they lacked a permanent address.

“First, the Khmer Krom live in a rented house; there is no permanent address,” he said. “The authorities will provide them family books should they have their own permanent place to live.”

He said he had advised the Khmer Krom to seek assistance from NGOs to purchase a plot of land for themselves.

“As long as the group owns the property, we’ll be able to process the family books for them, and following that they can obtain ID cards,” he said.

He added: “It’s not that we don’t want to provide them with legal documents such as family books and the ID cards. We’re more sympathetic to them ... than native Cambodians.”

Licadho, the rights group that has been assisting the Khmer Krom, has said it cannot continue paying for rent and food beyond the end of the month. Am Sam Ath, a technical supervisor for the group, said Min Sothet’s suggestion that the Khmer Krom buy land was disingenuous.

“How can they [buy land] without having any legal documents that identify themselves as Cambodian citizens?” he said. “The Khmer Krom are poor. They have no money to buy property.”

Meanwhile, Maggie Murphy, programme director at the Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organisation, which is based in The Hague, said the decision to deny identification cards was part of a broader pattern of discrimination against the Khmer Krom.

“Khmer Krom from Vietnam should not have to fulfil impossible conditions such as proving they were born in Cambodia, nor being expected to have a permanent address,” she said.

“Cambodia needs to resolve this issue once and for all to guarantee a fair and transparent process administered by the central government to ensure consistency and equality in the treatment of Khmer Krom. Khmer Krom arriving in Cambodia from Vietnam live in legal limbo for significant stretches of time, as they are neither treated as citizens nor as refugees.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s