A Cambodian man deported from the United States after serving an eight-year prison term in California was charged with theft by Siem Reap Provincial Court on Saturday after allegedly robbing a French tourist, said provincial police officer Sean Thlar.
According to Thlar, suspect Steven Paosa, 38, was arrested on Friday just one hour after allegedly stealing a handbag containing a Samsung mobile phone and a small amount of cash.
“He confessed and we sent him to court,” Thlar said, adding that the goods were returned.
In 2012, Paosa was sentenced to one year in prison for robbing a tourist in Siem Reap, he went on to say.
Thlar said that Paosa travelled to the US from Cambodia as a refugee in 1977 when he was 1 year old, and was deported back in 2005.
“He grew up in the US and became a gangster, and seriously hacked a victim with a sword in 1997,” he said. “He is homeless in Cambodia. He became a street snatcher and stole, sleeping in pagodas and on the streets.”
According to the Returnee Integration Support Center, which works with deported Cambodian-Americans, there were nearly 400 such returnees in Cambodia as of last year. Many struggle with reintegration into Cambodian society.