The seven commune police stations in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district have been instructed to pay more attention to the issuance of residence and family books to people changing their residence or moving from one village or commune to another.

District police chief Heang Thareth told The Post on February 23 that the residence and family books are important identification documents that each Cambodian citizen needs.

“The service providing people with residence and family books and identity cards is free of charge. Residents who have relocated and do not yet have these documents can the police in their commune during administrative hours,” he said.

Thareth also urged the police in charge of statistics and identification to continue to collect statistical data on the people who have relocated to make it easier to provide the books to them.

According to Thareth, the issuance of family book was once the responsibility of the municipal-provincial police station but has now been delegated to the district police, while the residence book that used to be obtained at the district police station can now be obtained at the commune police station instead.

Pursuant to the government’s sub-decree 1997, the family book is a reference book for identifying family members of Cambodian nationality and the family ties between each family, including spouses and children. Every family of Cambodian citizens living in the territory of the Kingdom must have a family book.

“Foreigners have no right to use a family book. Any person who is not a Cambodian citizen and lies to officials in order to obtain a family book or any authority who performs this duty contrary to the provisions of the sub-decree on the family book shall be punished in accordance with the law in force,” the sub-decree states.

The residence book is used by the police to collect information about the number of people currently staying in each house, but this book is not intended to confirm the family relationships or Khmer nationality of the persons listed in it.

The same sub-decree states that every person who is the primary head of the household, whether that person is the landlord or a tenant, is obliged to write in the residence book the name of everyone who currently lives with them.