Helpful Police in Phnom Penh

by Cat Burgular
(8th Life)

Gimme Yer Fur!

Gimme Yer Fur!

I just want to know if I can rely on the police to help me out if I have a problem while in Cambodia. I heard some bad things about them and wonder what to do if I need help.

Quite a few people told me that its better not to contact the police at all.

I agree that Cambodia has a bad reputation for being dangerous to tourists but maybe it's because the police have such a bad reputation.

Cheers for the help M8.


Answer from

Tough question. The answer is yes and no.

For some reason people have come to believe that the tourist police are there to look after the Tourists.

They are designed to POLICE the tourists and can often be the least helpful and the most prone to corruption.

The Police in Cambodia (And even more so in Thailand and Vietnam) are motivated by money and face. Face in that they are not made to look bad or are disrespected or embarrassed in the presence of others.

If you make a complaint to the Police they will often use that opportunity to investigate YOU further. They are looking for any reason to fine you and then offer you a chance to bribe your way out of it.

If something of yours is stolen, a reward will motivate them to investigate. If there is no monetary reward for them then they will often do exactly nothing.

If you get into an altercation or disagreement with a Cambodian person and the police are on the scene then cooler heads prevail. If you state your case and remain calm and respectful to the police
but the other party is loud and lose their temper you will usually win the argument.

It is best to contact someone you know at the Guest House or Hotel you're staying at. They usually speak English well enough and don't want anyone hassling their guests so will side with you most often. As a paying guest you are an asset.

The owner of Guest House #9 is a police chief and no one messes with his guests.

The police are best avoided but they will do their jobs if it benefits them. They act like very low paid people (which they are) who look for any way to augment their salaries. They see all foreigners as wealthy and easy targets.

Sorry to make it sound so gloomy but this is how it is done all over Asia. Never carry more than $2USD or $3USD in your wallet and keep the rest in your shoe (Just somewhere people don't expect to find you carrying money). If you are pulled over by the police just open your wallet and claim it is all you have.

It will always be enough if you laugh about it and smile the entire time.

Contact the Tourist Police if it gets more serious. They will do their jobs in serious matters when attention is brought to it.

The Police in Cambodia are not bad people but often spend more time wondering how to get some extra cash to offset the pittance of a salary they make.

Walk away from anything you can and keep a cool head.

Tourist Police Department
N° 275, Norodom Road, 12302 Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Tel. 023 726 158

Good luck.

Comments for Helpful Police in Phnom Penh

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Jun 06, 2019
Tourist Police
by: Philip

Why do people assume that the tourist police of Phnom Penh are here to help tourists. They are here to police tourists, not to help you.

If you need a police report to be done as required documentation for a new passport or insurance claim, then you'll have to do it. Otherwise, accept your loss and move on.

Few people are robbed in the streets here. Most are robbed when allowing a prostitute in their room.

I've lived in Phnom Penh for 6 years and never been robbed.


Aug 12, 2018
Phnom Penh "Tourist Police" Reliable or not
by: Alan William Archibald WEMYSS

I have lived in Phnom Penh now for over 16 years & have recent involvement with them over a major theft ( $2000 USD)& assault by a group of Khmers & a Western tourist.Because this crime also involved the theft of my laptop computer, iPhone,& prescription reading glasses I needed an official police report/ invoice for insurance purposes. Even though I was the victim who was requiring assistance the first thing the officiating Tourist police man wanted was $ 20 before he would listen to me.After handing over $ 20 he informed me that a crime report would cost $50. As he was not a high ranking officer,I quickly realised that there would definitely be more demands for " tea money " & from more people higher up the food chain.I walked out of their Headquarters, $ 170 poorer with a misspelt,uncompleted " Official Police document " There was no inquiry into my injuries or serch for the perpetrators. So don't expect any professional service or interest if you ever need their " help"

Aug 06, 2018
Hooks of Phnom Penh
by: Anonymous

cheap & dangerous

Mar 08, 2017
old criminal barangs
by: Anonymous

Some of the foreigners here are real lowlife criminals.They will lie and trick you as well as trying to screw the woman your with behind your back.The police should kick them out but they stay like a disease festrring and spreading there malice. The khmer men are gentlemen compared to some of the old farangs you find here.

Mar 08, 2017
police graft .
by: james

after travelling to cambodia on 26 occassions in the past 4 years i can garuntee that the police are about as useless as t ts on a bull, my girl freind was assaulted along the river, after it was all sorted out we had to pay the policeman $20 to arrest the man who was sighted back on the street some hours later, the gangs of youths stealing telephone etc are ignored by a policeman standing 2 metres away because once the mobile phone/camera has been sold the youths return to the riverside and hand the policeman his share, be warned you are on your own and if in trouble do not expect a cambodian to come to your assistance and as for the tourist police do not bother to telephone them they will not answer, but fortunately i have many good cambodian freinds.f

Dec 14, 2016
by: Anonymous

unfortunately police in Cambodia is so curropted, with no school education, they cannot speak any word of english, even police that is called "turist police" they have no scholarship
it's a shame, they look for tourist only to get bribes, so if you do need some help, the best thing to do is to stay away, as far as you can from Cambodian police.

Nov 14, 2016
Corrupted police in Cambodia
by: Anonymous

Unfortunately we have been stopped by police in Sihanoukville yesterday, nov. 13th, 2016. We rent a scooter at the hotel and they had no reason for stopping us, but asking for money.
We got very upset, we did not want to give them any money. So we told them we wete callinh our embassy. At this point they just let us go. What a shame !! What a pity for a country that hopes for a better future, with no turists, they will not go anywhere.8

Dec 25, 2015
Helpful Police, Really?
by: L

Personal experience

1) I am a foreigner and if you a foreigner. That means you are a target

2) Agree with travel budget on his comment about the police especially traffic police, they will look for ways and means to get money from foreigner. Not police is bad but good luck.

3) I am reconsidering my option to invest in Cambodia. I had wanted to invest in cambodia property but their judicial system and police raise very serious concern. In the event that there is dispute, as a foreigner, you are in a disadvantage position

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