China is set to establish a consulate and an information center for Chinese nationals in Sihanoukville to bolster security and law enforcement and to improve awareness of Cambodia’s laws among Chinese nationals.
The move follows a massive influx of Chinese into the city in recent years, with Preah Sihanouk province revealing earlier this month that more than 90% of all businesses in Sihanoukville are Chinese-owned, including 150 of its 156 hotels and guesthouses, 48 of its 62 operational casinos plus 41 karaoke bars, 46 massage parlors and 95% of its 436 restaurants.
At the same time, rising crime rates across the city and serious safety violations at some new developments have raised concerns over the incredible speed of Sihanoukville’s expansion.
According to The Phnom Penh Post, local officials have now asked China for help during a meeting between provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun and Chinese ambassador Wang Wentian last week, with Wang agreeing to the request.
“Provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun requested the establishment of a consulate and a Chinese information center to raise awareness of Cambodia’s laws among Chinese nationals living and investing in Preah Sihanouk province,” said spokesperson Cheang Phearum.
“The aim is to help them learn about Cambodia’s culture and laws. When a consulate is established in Preah Sihanouk province, it means there will always be someone there to provide accurate information and statistics about Chinese nationals living in the province.
“A consulate will also make it easier for Chinese investors and tourists when issues arise in terms of security or other pressing concerns.”
Cambodian National Research Organisation director Sok Sokhom told The Phnom Penh Post that the establishment of a Chinese consulate would provide a huge boost for overwhelmed local officials
“By working closely together, it shows a concerted effort to resolve the issues that are bound to arise in the target areas,” he said.
“If there continues to be no consulate like in the past, when there are issues, only Cambodian officials themselves in the area can enforce the law – without the participation of partner countries’ law enforcement agents. When a consulate is established, joint mechanisms will be devised to achieve common goals and solve issues.”
Five Chinese nationals were charged last month after a new Sihanoukville hotel development collapsed, killing 28 people, while in March a casino was ordered to close due to multiple health and safety breaches including pumping raw sewerage straight into the sea.