Helpful Police in Phnom Penh
by Cat Burgular
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 Travel-Budget-Asia.com
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