Violent Crime Against Tourists in Cambodia

Cambodia is a country with corrupt government so naturally crime prevention is not a priority. Crime prevention is typically not even on an agenda. The result is a lawless country with incapable and underpaid police force. Add to it the fact that Cambodian culture is a culture of violence and you get the picture of a country with super high levels of crime, including violent crime against tourists.

Getting scammed and ripped off on a daily basis is something I won’t even list as a crime against foreigners in Cambodia as petty crime is so frequent, every tourist visiting the country will be subjected to it on every step of their stay. Instead, let’s focus on more serious crimes that happen more often than anyone cares to admit – violent crimes in which foreigners are brutally murdered:

Australian Man John Edward Thompson Clubbed to Death in Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville is a coastal resort town in Cambodia and is well known for being one of the most dangerous places in the world. While majority of Tuk Tuk drivers throughout the entire country are shady, you occasionally get a chance to deal with an honest driver who tries to make his living by offering decent services. You can even find such in Phnom Penh but they don’t exist in Sihanoukville. Virtually every Tuk Tuk driver in Sihanoukville is a crook with the rest of the local populace consisting of some of the most dangerous individuals anywhere in the world.

47 year old John Edward Thompson of New South Wales, Australia was clubbed to death in a robbery with wooden sticks while living in Sihanoukville, where violent crime against tourists is more than common.

Source: Daily Telegraph Australia

19 Year Old British Student Eddie Gibson Went to Cambodia and Never Returned

According to the words of his mother Jo Gibson-Clarke, Eddie Gibson, despite being a teenager was well travelled and very capable. He was on his way to visit Bangkok, Thailand but also went for a short visit to Cambodia and has never been seen or heard from again. Like so many before him and so many after him, Eddie Gibson simply vanished in Cambodia with no one investigating on his disappearance.

As I have explained countless times before, violent crimes without repercussions are easy and frequent in Cambodia. The cost of a human life is low (you can have anyone offed for $50) and guns are plentiful. With former Khmer Rouge henchmen roaming the country freely, still armed with their military grade weaponry and explosives, killing someone is a matter of simply wanting to, or having been paid a little to. The body would be then thrown in the jungle where wild dogs will eat it and no one will ever hear from you again. Cambodian police will not investigate and no one will be brought to justice.

Source: Daily Mail UK

David Mitchell, Owner of Ginger Monkey Bar Murdered in Phnom Penh

37 Year Old David Mitchell – a British owner of a Ginger Monkey bar in Phnom Penh and his girlfriend, 29 year old Jane Nye – a journalist from Wellington, New Zealand were stabbed in an armed robbery by a nymphetamine addict in Cambodia’s capital city. David Mitchell died as a result of vicious stabbings, while Jane Nye who had her throat slashed and got bludgeoned survived and was recovering in the hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.

If you survive a violent attack that near kills you, the first and most obvious thing to do is to remove yourself from Cambodia immediately. You don’t want any more dealings with this murderous nation and besides, if you come to a Cambodian hospital with life threatening wounds, you’ll leave with life threatening wounds and an HIV.

Source: New Zealand National News

French Tourist Jean-Pierre Blouin Killed in Sihanoukville

63 year old Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blouin was found floating in the sea near Ocheteal beach with fatal wounds to the neck, head and chest. His passport and an empty wallet were found nearby.

In an unrelated incident, another Frenchman, the hotel owner in Cambodia was hacked to death with a meat cleaver in his bedroom.

In yet another unrelated incident, a Canadian girl was raped on a beach in Sihanoukville by a Cambodian military police officer in 2004.

Source: Monsters and Critics

Canadian Aid Worker Jiri Zivny Beaten and Left for Dead in Sihanoukville

43 year old Jiri Zivny was a member of the team of volunteers from International Humanitarian Hope Society, a Kamloops, BC, Canada based humanitarian agency that specializes in distribution of vitamins and food to orphanages in Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Thailand and Burma. In mid January, 2009 Jiri Zivny was withdrawing money from an ATM machine in Sihanoukville when he was attacked, brutally beaten and left for dead in a ditch. When he was discovered, he was stripped of all of his possessions, including his clothes and in a coma. It took a while to get him to the hospital where he was later proclaimed dead due to severe head trauma suffered during the attack.

In an attempt to play down the crime (or perhaps in an attempt to come with a fabricated “breaking story” to establish himself as a superior journalist), a news surfaced that according to some Canadian, the murder of Jiri Zivny was a traffic accident. Even though Jiri Zivny’s body had no rash or scratches typical of bike accidents, and had his cell phone, camera, money and clothes disappear with the attack, Cambodian officials are in a major rush to make his brutal murder play down as a traffic accident. Such whitewash is something that could be expected. Cambodian authorities are experts at sweeping the story under the carpet if it could jeopardize visitor numbers.

Source: National Post

Contradicting Statements About Safety in Cambodia

This is the list of just a few documented cases of foreigners – both tourists and expats killed in violent crime attacks in Cambodia. Strangely enough and following truly bad journalism, many reports contain contradicting or downright silly statements regarding safety in Cambodia. For example following statement from the Reuters report about the murder of David Mitchell in Phnom Penh concludes with the following statement:

Despite its reputation for lawlessness, most violence against foreigners in the impoverished southeast nation, which is still recovering from decades of civil war including the Khmer Rouge genocide, is limited to street crime or assault.

Most violence against foreigners is limited to street crime or assault? Hmm… Does that not cover it all, really? Sure there are also foreigners hacked up with meat cleavers in their own bedrooms, like the French hotel owner, but getting violently assaulted in the street is all it takes to get you killed in Cambodia and that’s exactly what happens in this country more often than any politically correct newspaper would like to admit. Tourist safety is in question so let’s stop being politically correct and call a spade a spade. The politically incorrect translation of said statement, without beating about the bush would read:

Foreigners in Cambodia are subjected to considerable danger of being the victims of violent crime.

Then there is an even more ridiculous statement about safety in Cambodia in an article related to the murder of Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blouin who was killed for 2,000 Riel (about $.50). The statement reads:

While muggings are common in Cambodia, where a sense of lawlessness and a gun culture remain after decades of war that ended in 1998, serious attacks on foreigners have been rare.

Wow! So mugging is not a serious crime? Does this reporter mean that unless a person dies, it’s not worthy of mentioning and doesn’t add to how dangerous the country really is? Violent armed robberies are extremely common in Cambodia and just because some people survive them – regardless of how bloodied and near dead they end up – are we not supposed to count them and continue fooling new travellers to Cambodia with statements that Cambodia is otherwise safe?

Many foreigners (including myself) have been and still are subjected to violent assaults in Cambodia, but all know really darn well that reporting the assaults to the Cambodian police is a waste of time. Yet it’s only a waste of time if they are lucky. In a less lucky case, upon reporting, they would be subjected to extortion or ridicule by the police themselves. Thus, foreigners simply chalk it up as a bad experience, try to collect themselves and swallow the pride hoping it will not happen to them again. The scars follow them for the rest of their lives, but there simply is nothing they can do about it in a country like Cambodia. Unless the case involves shockingly gory loss of life, not only will it not be reported to the police, it will not make it to the media at all.

What Causes Violent Crime Against Tourists in Cambodia?

It is important to understand that a country with hundreds of murders each day will not get an international community talking. However if a government arrests just one person outside of standards accepted by the international community, that could cause a massive media backlash. One wrong arrest could result in human rights violations accusations which could result in shrinkage of foreign aid and foreign support for opposition to oust current dictatorship.

Hence for a government of Cambodia it is easier and more “international media friendly” to let violent crime get out of hand, even if it involves tourists, than having any of the criminals prosecuted and put away. Unfortunately, this approach hurts both ordinary Cambodians who needlessly die in the hands of criminals the number of which seem to be growing like mushrooms after rain, as well as foreigners who are far more attractive targets for violent crime than the locals.

35 thoughts on “Violent Crime Against Tourists in Cambodia”

  1. Even if the case of Jiri Zivny was the way Cambodian authorities are trying to play down, it would still show Cambodians in true light. Whether he was beaten to death and robed right after leaving the ATM machine, or beaten to death and robbed after he got into an accident that rendered him unable to protect himself, the Cambodians who did this to him showed how dangerous the country really is. When Jiri Zivny was near dead, they stripped him of all of his possessions and clothes and finished him up before leaving him in the ditch to die. Even if he landed there because of the accident, it was because of Cambodians that he got no help, but was instead beaten some more and then robbed. What a nation!

  2. I find it hard to believe that what u write here is a comon threat to all visitors to Cambodia.
    Was there for a week (drunk sometimes too) and NOTHING happened.
    I might made a shit of myself at a few occasions, but nothing dodgy happened.
    I went walking everywhere in PP at any time of day searching for something to eat and looking for pubs.
    Once I rented a bike and got totally lost and I ended up at someones porch eating with them. Had to stop a tuk tuk to get back to the hotel, and even though the driver asked me not to bring the bike along, I insisted and in the end he was cool with it.
    Of course bad things happens everywhere, but I think u have dug up the worst things u could find about Cambodia.
    I love the country and the people and most definitely going back there again!

    1. I agree, my second time in Cambodia, total of 6 weeks here, traveled by car, by foot and by tuk tuk all over and at all times and never once found the Cambodian people to be anything but gracious and kind. Violence exists in every society and Cambodia is no different and certainly no worse than other parts of the world.

    2. Absolutely, Cambodia can be dangerous or it can be wonderful, i live there in Shianoukville, and it is nothing like this article suggests

  3. foreigners are not welcome unless they
    give all there money to cambodians,this is thanks to ngos and organisations that
    \helped confuse these people…If you have any sense stay out of asia ….

    1. You are so so rite…..1000% about Cambodians…
      Ngos and organisations are just robbing good innocent people….and all the Money
      goes into the Deep pockets of Ngos and Government Officials…Always and Forever.

  4. Jimmy, what do you mean by “stay out of Asia”. Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei are great countries to visit.

    And yes Mark, Cambodia is definitely not safe at all.

      1. Yea sure its safe, thats why my son was recently locked up in a Cambodian jail for a trumped up charge with others. Had thousands of dollars stolen from him including his 3500.00 underwater camera, held at the courts for “evidence”. All charges were dropped and $8,000US taken by corrupt lawyers. One of them is an Australian working with the Khmer, he took the most money to fund his failing businesses in Cambodia. Yea for sure cambodia is safe!!!!

  5. Hello Kelly,

    thank you for your comment. I agree with Singapore and Brunei. I visited both countries while I was in the area and found them safe in all regards (also safe for larger purchases because consumers are protected from scam so you are backed up in case you get to deal with a shady person – unlike it is in Malaysia, Thailand or Cambodia). Compared to the rest of Asia, traffic situation is also much safer in Singapore and Brunei and pedestrians are respected as traffic participants, which is something you won’t find elsewhere in SE Asia. These two are definitely some of world’s safest countries.

    Malaysia however, is a slightly different game. I spent 5 months there – because people are nice, there is a lot to see and it is a very “foreigner friendly” country that will get you spoilt cause it’s so easy to get by with English and find your way around with signs you understand.

    Malaysia was the only country in SE Asia where I tried hitch-hiking (and was very successful, aside from one time when I tried to go to an extremely remote cave and there was only on average one car per hour going down that road). I was once picked up by a mad driver who had a class 7 BMW (quality car), but he drove like mad down windy road of Belum Forest reserve in heavy rain. I thought I was going to die he drove so recklessly, but the car truly stuck to the road and kept its balance despite inappropriate driving.

    People of Malaysia offer help even if you don’t ask for it. It’s definitely one of the finest countries in Asia and one where I spent more time than anywhere else (I really liked it there, I won’t lie). However Malaysia is also home to some of the worst drivers in the world. I actually think they are worse than Chinese drivers in China. That makes for very bad road safety. Sidewalks are either non existent or in bad conditions forcing people like me – who like to walk everywhere – to walk on the road where world’s worst drivers drive in the most uncourteous manner imaginable. There are often no ways for pedestrians to safely cross the road and if you have four lanes on each side, full of drivers who don’t respect pedestrians, you’re in for a tough time crossing it.

    That all aside – the best way to tell how safe a country is, is by doing a reality check on it. You do it by going to website (exercise caution as it is a reality website and reality is often not very pretty) and search for the country you intend to visit to find out what takes place there. I hate to admit this, but Malaysia, even though I had the best possible experience travelling through it, is a very dangerous country. With high intentional homicide rates and some of the worst traffic accidents (which are all facts that can be looked up on I would really have hard time putting it in the same league with Singapore or Brunei.


  6. “Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei are great countries to visit.”

    Brunei? Oh lor! LOL.

    The above ‘catalog’ of crimes against foreigners in Cambodia is but a handful of incidents over the last five years or so, and pales into absolute insignificance when compared to the number of similar happenings in neighbouring Thailand. There, foreigners (mostly white Westerners) are dying off at the rate of around 5 or 6 a week, most of which the horribly corrupt and predatory Thai police dismiss as ‘suicide’ (victim is found with his hands tied behind his back and a plastic bag over his head!) or ‘natural causes’. Recently, nine people have so far died in very mysterious circumstances connected to a hotel in Chiang Mai, which is still allowed to remain open and tout for business – “coincidence” – proclaims the Governor of Chiang Mai. A cursory investigation into who actually owns this hotel will explain why they are allowed to continue operating with impunity.

    A couple of years ago, the British Foreign Office announced that Thailand accounts for the deaths of more British nationals overseas than any other country. A staggering statistic, when one considers that Thailand attracts only 0.6% of outgoing tourism from the UK.

    While I agree that one should certainly exercise due caution in certain areas of Cambodia, particularly at night, one needs to keep a sense of perspective. Yes, the country is dirt poor, corrupt, with a venal and basically useless police force, and a repressive government whose only concern is lining their own pockets; but so too is much of the Third World. For horrendous crime rates, senseless violence, unbelievable squalor, and rampant corruption at even the most elementary levels of society, much of Latin American and Africa make Cambodia seem like a bastion of civilization in comparison.

    Overall, Cambodia is a lot less dangerous for tourists and foreign residents than many other places on the globe, including huge swathes of the so-called ‘developed’ West.

  7. No doubt Thailand, Cambodia and many other asian countries are quite equally dangerous and most uncomfortable for any foreigners who have to struggle with little money or travelling alone.

  8. Me and my partner and best friend are in Sihanoukville now, after spending 6months travelling in South-East Asia. We have genuinely loved Cambodia so far… until 2 nights ago when we were brutally attacked… TWICE.

    My boyfriend and I were walking along the beach in the evening on our way home from a bar, when a Cambodian man ran past, grabbed my bag from my shoulder and bolted into the darkness. (In it was my camera, both our phones, ipods, money etc). We walked about 40 meters from the beach to the main road looking for help. We both looked obviously upset and distressed, and to add insult to injury (or injury to insult in this case) a middle aged white man who was sitting in a tuk-tuk by the road ran at us from behind, beating my boyfriend around the head with a metal bar. I started screaming as my boyfriend fell to the floor, at which point the man turned around, ran at me, and smashed my face in with the bar. He then got back in the tuk-tuk and drove away. He didn’t speak, or take anything (we clearly had already been robbed minutes earlier). The tuk-tuk driver, a Cambodian man, just watched. A group of Cambodian people who were sat eating nearby immediately ran away also, clearly not wanting to get involved. We staggered up the street hysterical and bleeding, when another Cambodian man turned up and took us to the police booth. The policeman on duty took one look at us and laughed, telling us it was not his problem, and to go away before he arrested us for disturbing his nap. Within minutes, a group of about 70 people were surrounding us trying to help, including a Cambodian man who said “I saw everything, I was the man’s tuk-tuk driver.” When asked where he took the man, he promptly changed his story and left. Someone rang the police who were annoyed that there was no money in it for them (they wanted us to pay them to find the criminals), and told us to go to hospital. Some friendly Russian men took us to hospital, paying for the tuk-tuk. The hospital staff would not treat my partner for his head injury, then proceeded to stitch my face up without anaesthetic! Horrific pain. One of the Russian guys helping us was actually weeping seeing the distress we were in. They did not treat me for my clearly broken nose, or ask if we had other injuries. Then, they were reluctant to let us leave because we couldn’t pay the bill – even though we explained we had just been robbed and needed to get in touch with our insurance company.

    My mum, back home in England, got in touch with a member of the British Embassy based in Sihanoukville, who came to our hotel and helped us. He first took us to the general purpose chief of police who said it was not his problem – we needed to go to the tourist chief of police. We went there, and this policeman accused us of everything being our fault, and told us to go back the next day. We returned the next day to get a police report, which we had to write ourselves, and it had a word limit! They also demanded that we omit the whole metal-bar violent attack part because it would look bad on their records!! We wrote it on anyway because none of them could speak or read English. The British Ambassador told us no investigation would take place, as the police worked pretty much solely on bribes, and even if they did catch the two separate criminals, they would be able to pay off the police so there would be no just outcome.

    The horror of this ordeal has left us distressed, traumatised and massively out of pocket (but thankfully our insurance are going to cover it). Since then I have read up about the vast amount of crime that occurs and goes unreported or unsolved in the area. I still love Cambodia, but would advise anyone who visits Sihanoukville to exercise extreme caution, even when traveling in groups. And if you are unlucky enough to experience crime, make sure you get all the correct documentation needed for insurance, and do not have faith in the police.

    1. Wow that is really terrible. I mean to have the bag snatched is bad enough but the more incredible part is the European bloke with the metal bar who attacked you for absolutely no reason at all?! Have you been able to establish any reason at all for this? Do you think he was mentally unstable or something? Let’s face it, there are a lot of very weird expats who inhabit Sihanoukville and many of them act in a manner that would simply be unacceptable in their home countries.

      My family are Cambodian and they live in Sihanoukville. I need to work away but do get there 3/4 times a year on my vacations. We too have been subject to an attempted robbery during the early evening hours when a moto with 3 people on it drove by us at speed and tried to snatch my wifes handbag. Also i am aware of expat friends over there who have also been robbed. I was in country when the poor Australian man was clubbed to death down past the Snakehouse, apparently by migrant workers from another part of the country. I think there may have been arrests here and it did make the local paper too.

      The police, as you have already pointed out, are absolutely useless, corrupt and no help whatsoever, except of course when they are stopping you on your moto for not carrying the proper documentation etc and they need their ‘fine’ money.

      We do go out in the evening but are extremely cautious and aware of our surroundings at all times. We will use tuk-tuks on a regular basis, but we know our tuk-tuk drivers and tend to have them drop us off at the beginning of an evening and pick us up at the end of the night. My wife will carry a very small bag which she clasps to her chest when we are moving from A to B, and I only take cash out, with no wallet/credit cards etc. I do feel sorry for tourists who come here and relax all to easily because it really does appear to be the kind of place that is so friendly and warm .. and safe.

      So many of the people are extremely poor and specifically come to Sihanoukville and places where tourists visit with the specific intention of robbing somebody when the opportunity arrives.

      All in all – yes it can be very dangerous, the police are next to useless, but I still enjoy living there and will eventually join my family permanently just as soon as I am able.

  9. Sihanoukville in particular is one of the most dangerous places for westerners (Tourists and expats alike) in Cambodia. 2 Weeks ago, end of April 2012 there where 4 fatalities in Sihanoukville alone in one week !! the first one was considered “suicide” : see:
    Although it is in German, the picture tells it all. The second story was happening on Sihanoukville’s Ocheteal Beach where an Australian had his throat cut. A day later the French owner of “Cambadia” Restaurant at Victory beach had shot himself and the last one, possibly a brit was pushed off the road while driving his rented motorbike. He instantly died. None of this ever appeared in the local press. Cambodian Daily and Phnom Penh Post are possibly too busy to raise AD Revenues from the 3000 NGO’s. Sihanoukville has over the last 10 years got considerably worse. At the start of the rainy season the outlook for cambodians and expats alike is more than bleak.

  10. Dutch tourist shot in robbery in Phnom Penh

    The Cambodia Daily, which unfortunately has no up to date online version, reported that a Dutch girl was shot at 4am after returning from watching a football match at a bar. Unfortunately, she decided to struggle with the thief when she was shot The only good aspect was that an e-ray revealed that the bullet entered and exited through her calf doing no bone or nerve damage and she was also fortunate enough that a local ex-pat staunched the wound with a shirt. The call for an ambulance and police were ignored, so they took her to the hospital in a tuk tuk where police showed up an hour later. She is not responsible for the crime, but she did make some mistakes. Be careful in PP; this is not the first mugging this year and they appear to be getting more violent.

  11. I am a Cambodian. Presently, I can only see foreigners living happily in Cambodia and it can be a heaven to them more than to Cambodian people. It is only a case by case or anecdotal evidence. In overall, you should understand that most of you come to make huge amount of money from us rather than helping or contributing to our society. Anyway, thank for many foreigners who have tried helping Cambodia. Nimul

  12. It is your opinion, so I can not blame though. Different people have different opinions. I am agreed that polices is useless here and corruptions. I do not like the way that polices here are working but still cant blame them. The top of the gov’t gets all the benefits and become super rich but the lower polices got nothing beside lower salary, how can they feed their family? Poor become poorest, they cant survive, so they must force themselves to become robbers or do violent to get money, I believe that in the hunger situation, people will do everything to survive. I do hate the word that the writer said Cambodia is a culture of violence. I must say, you are completely wrong. Look to the world please? why don you say America is the culture of violence? There was/are many war happening, can you go to Iraq ? how many people have died coz of the war? Look to the histories please? WWI or WWII….. The writer probably travel a lots, so just go to mexico there are many Kidnaps, let go to see there and write an article then. The writer just look into the negative points, why don you write about Foreigners living happily in Cambodia and it can be a heaven to them more than to Cambodian people? why don you write about foreigners use their money to buy sex with the children in this country? come to Cambodia again and go to the riverside, you will see very very old foreigners who use their money with very young girl……why those young girl agree to go with all those very very old foreigners? is it they want to survive? why don you write about those old foreigners? you cant just blame to us lah…………

  13. I just found out that my ex-husband was murdered in Phnom Penh, Cambodia while visiting a few years back. I’m assuming there is no way to find out what exactly happened to him..? If any of you have suggestions it would be appreciated.

  14. Young college punks and backpackers go to places like Cambodia thinking everything’s good inthe world, then they get beat, raped, and robbed. Good riddance, Cambodia is gunslinger’s territory, deal with it.

    1. That’s the point of this blog: to inform people about these facts. I wasn’t interested to deal with it but didn’t get the info prior to my trip.

  15. Its my first time to cambodia , I Just got robbed in the Sihanoukville downtown, i was riding my motor cycle and another bike came beside me ripped my hanging walling off and took off, i followed them as i ha d fast bike and screemed to stop them, They Took a 10 inch NIfe, I was about to crash my bike in to them but seeing their knife i thought its not worth it, they were around 20 yrs old and they were scared shitless. its a fuckin dangerous city, i had no idea, i was very close to downtown area, right about 8 pm.

    1. Thank you for being honest Sean..
      99% of foreigner would never admit to being robbed or anything bad happening to them……. They like to say Oh I had a great time….even after being robbed 2 or 3 times.

  16. I have been a hostage for more than 7 years in Cambodia, mostly Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

    Statistics say 1 in 4 asian men is a rapist, I would say 1 in 4 Khmer men is a child rapist and 1/2 or more Khmers are rapists. The police being described as “useless” does not come close. Some police here are decent people, however the job of the police in Cambodia is to protect the State. That is their law. The police as well as all Khmers will always be on the side of any other Khmer no matter how heinous the crime, as that is a cultural requirement. There is a hierarchy in their culture which is why some Khmers hate the police, they will however always defend other Khmers or ignore their crimes. Police officials and wealthy Khmers are responsible for the criminal gangs who rob, rape and murder foreign and local victims, these gangs frequently have foreign members and are well coordinated and very violent. All non-Khmers are targets, Cambodia should be avoided and shunned.

    1. Thank you Mark Staben..

      At last someone speaks the truth..
      Foreigners have no rites in Cambodia….
      Cambodians just smile and tolerate foreigners
      for there money…..

  17. Found this article because I had been thinking about my old business partner David Mitchell. I was saddened to read so many ill informed and distorted opinions on a country that I lived in as an ex pat for five years. Cambodia, like most of South East Asia, is a beautiful place and was for me a very safe and happy place to live. I have heard details on a number of the violent incidents cited in the article and there is much more to them than meets the eye. Cambodia is a place of freedom, it is a place where almost anything is possible and where tolerance is high. Sadly this sometimes attracts the wrong kind of people; weak people and those of a criminal nature. At least one of the Sihanoukville murders cited was done by a fellow ex-pat after a drug deal went bad. The case of Eddie Gibson was widely reported and it was widely accepted that he had become involved in the Cambodian underworld of drug smuggling. He may have been murdered but he opted to enter the darker, more dangerous side of the country. Even the death of my old friend David was not so clear cut. I personally still have doubts that the correct person is behind bars for that. The police claimed to catch the youth a few hundred meters from the crime scene, washing blood from his hands. That would be strange enough but they said they caught him two hours after the crime was committed. It seemed to me that this homeless teenager was being made the fall guy. It is my suspicion, based on a claimed eye witness account and my knowledge of David, was that the real killer was also an ex-pat.
    If anyone does read this, please be assured that Cambodia is a fantastic country to visit and live in. I still have many friends there and it has not changed. It is no more dangerous than any other country and I’d rather go walking late at night there than in most big cities of developed countries.

    1. I visited Cambodia in 2004, and I thought it was an amazing place. Obviously it had its problems with inequality and child sex tourism. But I found the people lovely. I am so sad that the country has turned so violent towards foreigners because if this keeps up, there won’t be any foreigners visiting. The international community need’s to get involved in this. Has anyone contacted their governments? Or the Cambodian embassies?

  18. Looking back over the past 10 Years that i have spent in Cambodia i have a feeling that things (crime) got worse. Most of it does’nt happen to Foreigners which often enough give local people enough reason to be upset. Backpackers beeing pissed or drugged out of their mind destroying whole hotel rooms, Girls hanging out their bare tits at the beach. They obviously don’t give a shit. This is not unique to Cambodia where most of this is happening in Sihanoukville or the Islands but everywhere where you can see the lonelyplanet jerks on tour. The Question is Cambodia dangerous can be answered quite easy; Yes and no. In general it’s much more safe here than in most middle and South American Countries, the US and UK/Australia. The Khmer Culture is not Violent; but folks get violent after beeing drunk frequently so stay away from Karaoke and local dancing venues in the Country side. Most Violence/Robberies that happen to Foreigners either have a History where someone got offended or it is the result of ignorance when you walk around with your Goldchains after a Party out at night. I agree with a comment made earlier that a lot of Violence happens between Foreigners (Expats) which is the result of boredom, beeing broke and drug/alcohol addiction and the indifference to the Country they live in.

  19. I travelled extensively through Cambodia as a woman on my own and although I would advise anyone to exercise caution, I want to say that Cambodia is a beautiful friendly country that has a lot to offer.

    I saw terrible poverty, desperation and fresh memories left from a time of war and percussion. When you take Cambodia’s tragic history into account, it’s easy to see why it is the way it is.
    However, I was struck by the strength of the people, children especially. I talked to a lot of locals and a lot of kids.

    The person who wrote this page is VERY one sided and bias in their opinion of Cambodia and Cambodian people.

    There is a lot wrong with the political and the justice system in Cambodia, but I would never tell anyone to avoid visiting. Not only do the country rely on tourism to survive, but it’s a beautiful country and well worth a visit. Also, although you have a list of very tragic, horrible events … where are your success stories?? THOUSANDS of people visit Cambodia each year, they are careful, cautious and well informed, and have a wonderful time.

  20. I stocked up on two litres of water before heading home at around one or two in the morning at Phnom Penh by myself in jan 2012 and noticed a tuk tuk driver waiting there to give me a ride home.

    I noticed driver was driving along fairly slowly and I became suspicious as drivers tend to drive quickly so they can pick up more work. Sure enough I realised why when he pulled a gun with his right hand as he was driving with left just half a km out of the main strip where the lights were a bit darker.

    I jumped out of tuk tuk in a flash as it was moving and quite frankly am glad to be here today writing this article. Driver didn’t come back to ask questions. Someone with a clear conscience would. Some other locals were looking at me as I hit the deck but didn’t say anything. Luckily I got a ride straight away from a motorbike rider behind who i gave a decent tip to.

    Yes life is cheap in that country and to me I think killing a foreigner is like killing an animal in the wild to feed the family. Best to exercise extreme caution in this country and travel in groups.

  21. I assume this blog describe very accurately what’s going on in this lawlessness country.

    I was myself assaulted in PP in a coffee shop by what may have been some kind of military “officer” and his bodyguard armed with a gun, for precisely nothing (a glance maybe, I’m not even sure what did trigger it…). I was pretty badly injured to the head, having being hit several times by the gun (itself, not by a bullet). I reported to the police, with of course, no result. My embassy didn’t give a shit.
    I was an ordinary European tourist. I left the country shortly after.

    May I have seen this blog before visiting C., I would have never set a foot there.
    Even though for most tourists wandering around for few days or weeks, everything looks fine, the threat is there. It’s real. Partly because, while part of the population is relax, polite and charming, another part is truly vicious, and may kill for nothing. The Red Khmer psychopaths didn’t come from nowhere.

    To say that Cambodia is safe to visit is a bad joke. More injuries and deaths will follow.

  22. So does this mean there is no rape, murder or muggings in any other part of the world? Here in the United States this a daily thing, the United Kingdom, a daily thing. South America, Africa – violent crime runs rampant. This type of stuff happens everywhere. And you want to say this is a lawless country that doesn’t intervene? Well I’m so happy that I live in America where the law is always perfect and just and does there best to bring justice to people like say, Eric Garner. Yes Cambodia has crime, just like anywhere else. And actually, when you compare the amount of disgusting, gruesome horrifying crime happening In the United States or even my own home town ( just a month ago a teen put a gun to five of his “friends” heads in the lunchroom of our local highschool) Cambodia doesn’t seem so bad afterall. Wake up, crime is everywhere. No country is immune.

  23. After reading this post, these stories are all too familiar. I popped over to Cambodia in ’76 with my girlfriend, and some unsavoury characters decided to march us out of Pnomh Penh, after which I was held in a disused school for 3 years – the conditions were awful.

    I went back there in 2011 with my same partner (who is now my wife) and we were attacked in Snookyville 8 times in one night! The first 5 times we were clubbed viciously by different tuk tuk drivers, the last 3 times we were attacked for not delivering the payment for our methamphetamines. Obviously nothing has changed a couple of years on, and I shall not be returning.

    1. What do you expect when you deal in methamphetamine’s? half of these stories on this page are a little hard to believe. (being beaten by a white man (who was sitting in the back of a tut tut) with an iron bar for no reason?) (A tut tut driver pulling a gun on you with his right while driving with his left?) The accelerator on the tut tut is on the right.
      Don’t believe everything you read folks

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