Crime, including armed robberies, shootings and petty thefts, is on the rise in Cambodia, according to a report released by the US State Department earlier this week that tracks incidents reported to the US embassy.
The Cambodia 2013 Crime and Safety Report, produced by the Overseas Security Advisory Council, provides security information to US private sector interests in Cambodia.
“Criminal activity remained high in 2012, with an increase in both the level of violence and the frequency of incidents involving Chief of Mission personnel,” the report says.
It notes an increase in the past year of “snatch-and-grab” thefts on tuk-tuks and residential break-ins.
The report also highlights corruption within the Cambodian National Police and the judicial system, along with low police wages as major drivers of crime in the Kingdom.
“Corruption continues to be a major problem with police personnel often committing serious crimes themselves,” the report says.
Among the concerns listed are “very porous borders [that] allow easy travel by terrorists”, though to report notes “very little evidence of anti-American sentiment among the Cambodian people”.
The report also gives some rules for embassy staff, who are not allowed to drive outside the city after dark, order drug-laced food items such as “happy” pizza, or frequent “establishments that appear to derive the majority of their income from the sex trade”.
Though officials at the National Police could not be reached for comment, Council of Ministers Spokesman Phay Siphan said that the report “does not show Cambodian reality”.
“That’s echoing the view from outsiders,” he said. “Cambodia is actually safer than the US.”
“Corruption is monitored very closely and managed very well by the government,” he added, addressing the report’s criticisms. “Everywhere they have corruption, not just in Cambodia, even in the United States. We have a very good anti-corruption unit and the media can also play a useful role.”