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Idiotic Corrupt Cambodian Tourist Police and my Apologies for being Redundant

So, our blog went dark for a while. Why? Because our laptops were stolen from our guest house room. Yes, they were stolen from the locked room that we had vacated for a mere 3 hours. Yes, the same room that was on the second floor in a recessed part of the property away from the street where the only person we’d seen pass by in 4 days was the maid. Congratulations gumshoe in the making (for our foreign friends, a gumshoe is an American anachronistic term for a police detective), you’ve probably just figured the whole thing out yourself!

Fingerprints, all part of the Theatre

Now what if I were to tell you the first thing out of the guesthouse owners mouth was “Oh, the doors are easy to break into.” And then on the way to the police, he tells you in July of last year a guest had a Playstation portable stolen from them, you might correctly surmise that he or someone in his employ is stealing! Lets just go ahead and help googlebots connect the dots in the future  Soksan Angkor Garden http://www.soksanangkor.com/   So you, as an amateur detective have likely determined a very short list of likely suspects. Congratulations on having a functioning brain stem! That puts you two steps above the Cambodian Tourist police!

Police Work

When we arrived at the police station, it was empty. Not a good sign, considering we had waited until after 2 to get there (see, they’re on lunch unofficially from 10am to 2 pm and close at 6pm). Eventually one by one, guys in plain clothes arrive at the office and tell us to wait. They begin putting on their uniforms in front of us. Yep, walk behind the table, drop your pants, put on your work pants, take off your tshirt, put on your uniform. Oh hey! Don’t you just look the part you cute little sycophant. At this point, we were hopeful. They looked like cops, the questions they asked sounded cop-like “When did you leave, when did you arrive, door was locked, who saw you with the laptops,  etc”. And then came the other reassuring thing, they grilled us for about 15 minutes telling us that reporting a false claim for insurance was fraud, and that if they found out we were lying we’d be in big trouble, ie – Cambodian jail.

 

SWEET, we thought, these guys mean mo-fuckin-bidness! Then it took a weird turn. “Where on the beds were the laptops”…ok….on the edge?…..”Draw me a picture”….these guys are thorough “Were they plugged in”…..yeah….and then they started asking us the same questions again and again, phrased differently and if one of us had answered earlier, they asked then asked the other. We wrote formal complaints that held our accounts and he said they needed to go to the guest house to investigate. But first they needed to talk to the guest house owner. GET EM BOYS! YEAAAAAHHHHH. We heard the angels, the sky turned a shade of Retribution Red and we knew that we’d be vindicated in the theft.

When the guesthouse owner walks out, he looks defeated, we feel a little bad because the guy is SUPER nice (we suspect its his employees and not him for what its worth). He shakes his head and says “They want money.” We take the tuk tuk back to the guesthouse complete with police in tow. They follow us to the room, I wait by the door, not opening it, so they can investigate the lock, or look at it from the outside, not a single glance. “Open it” they motion impatiently. They walk in and look around the small guest room, four of them, one obviously of senior rank as he is calling the shots and wears more stripes than the other, probably noting how many decades he’s been selling his morals for financial security.  They start photographing the room, oh but first, they put a roll of toilet paper on the bed along side a pillow to show where the laptops were when we left them. Ok, makes sense, photograph the crime scene.

And then the circus starts.

 corrupt cambodian tourist police

Yeah, they measured every  dimension of this room. I’m not lying. The distance from the bed to the wall  (each side) the height of the ceiling, the width of the door, I think he stopped short of measuring his own inseam (24” I reckon) . I pointed to the door and said Its weird that it was locked when we came back, either someone who routinely locks doors when they leave ie, the maid, or someone jimmied the lock. He just blew it off. Then they started interviewing the staff. Money started coming out of pockets. Arguments started occurring. The police want the guest house owner to say he is responsible for the theft so that they can extort money from him. They charge him for the cost of the photographer coming out. It’s the complete antithesis of what “police work” means.

This continued for another 45 minutes, whereby they all started to leave. I ran over with a “Seriously, what the fuck” look written all over my face, and by face I mean mouth as I spoke the words. “Call tomorrow , we interview staff tomorrow”. For the 750th time, I said “We just need a copy of the police report for insurance” The next day we called at 9am, with a response of “Call back later, we still have to interview the guesthouse employees” Ok, guess we’ll call tomorrow.

“Day 3” – We call and after being given the run around in a language only resembling English in the way that Mitt Romney resembles an actual human being, we’re told to come in for questioning.  We arrive and sit down, the same smarmy bastard is sitting across from us at the table with a smirk. He begins asking us the same questions we’ve answered 100 times already, oddly enough, the story doesn’t change because *it* *is* *The* *fucking* *truth*. That’s the neat thing about the truth, it doesn’t change.

He tells us the guesthouse owner says he’s not responsible for the theft and thus we can’t get a copy of the police report. “What?” – our faces the same as the point in The Sixth Sense when you find out Bruce Willis is dead (if you haven’t seen it yet, you deserved it). No, just give us a copy of the report, what you’ve found out, and we’ll submit it to our insurance. His smarmy little smile and chuckle, the type the bully who pretends to be an angel around his mother would give, “You don’t understand” he says “Because the owner says hes not responsible, we cannot give you the report.” Ok! I say, fair enough, in your corrupt little world, you are king and we’re not getting the report because obviously the owner has paid you money to make this go away. How about you give us a copy of the complaints we wrote out, after all, they have the Cambodian Tourist Police seal on them. “No, we cannot” he says with that same smirk that makes you want to make him watch 127 hours of Jersey shore with his eyelids taped open on an IV drip of redbull and amphetamines so that he cannot possibly pass out, “those are not official forms”.

He begins to go through the questions again, obviously trying to catch us in something he can name as a lie. “What color were your laptops” Silver, I say. “Silver” Brittany says. An impossibility I’d never have imagined possible happens as an even more unctuous  smile spreads across his face. I shit you not, because I recorded this on my ipod and I promise you I’d end up in jail if he knew I had. He says to Brittany “Why you say silver now, you said grey before”  Now I want you to take a moment to reflect on the difference between grey and silver, now don’t take too long, because THERE ISNT one.  We both state in exasperation that there is not a difference and they are the same color. “No no, they are not” he says as he sits back, confident that he has finally figured out a way to label us as liars.

Now, at this point, I see something I’ve never seen before. I would like to preface this with the fact that I’ve actually seen Andrew Dice Clay defecate into Brittany’s cornflakes, and she just ate around it*. This girl is seriously Mother Teresa and Ghandi mixed together, but with a better rack, nothing phases her, and believe me, I test that DAILY. But then it happened, she lost her composure.  Brittany physically begins to shake out of anger and frustration, states to the “officer” that its obvious he doesn’t want to do his job and that hes just looking for money, and that she has to leave. With that, she walks out.

* May be an exaggerated fabrication

Now here I am. Sitting alone in a Cambodian interrogation room with two police who just barely missed the cut for Sadam’s elite police force, and I’ve got to play the good guy. I’m not that guy. I’m really not. But for some reason, I guess my reptilian brain knew the proximity of the holding cells to this room, and I began playing nice. I tried every angle I knew, every bit of verbal maneuvering to try to get some document from this idiot to try to prove we were here, but nothing would work. I ended up leaving and saw Brittany sitting on the bench with a big bag of fruit – her comfort food.

2 days passed and we got nothing from the police, so we left siem reap, hopeful that our recorded conversation, email from the guesthouse owner, and pictures of us at the police station would suffice. About 2 weeks later, we received an email from the guesthouse owner with the police form.

If you, for any reason, must deal with the police in Cambodia, eat a valium, have a happy pizza, do some meditation, because it’s going to be more frustrating than having an ideological conversation with a six year old, except this 6 year old has a gun and a jail cell.

UPDATE: Both sean and I installed Prey software (www.preyproject.com), it basically shows where the computer is being used, a screenshot of whoever is using it, and other various details. Its unfortnate we cant get back to siem reap to track it down. Got our first report since the laptops were stolen, it was at a pawn shop (cash-u-up) about 4 blocks from the guest house. And here, my friends, is a pic of whoever is using it. Enjoy.

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Comments (18)

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  1. Spaghetti says:

    Kevin Reynolds would not approve of the chimp workforce. Just sayin’…

  2. susan says:

    My goodness.. what an oredeal.Glad it is behind you…can the asshole get to all your stufff on the computer or is it gone?

  3. oumar keita says:

    I am not surprised of the corruption. I just got scammed $700 by a Cambodian woman I met on Vietnam cupid and she was going to get even more $1000. God bless the western Union ladies who stopped the last transaction and warned me of the scam. I tried to contact some sort of Fraud investigation bureau in Cambodia so that I could recover my money, the fraud investigation charging a $750 for the service I gave up.

  4. fuckhmer says:

    Cambodia land of apes.Please don’t visit that filthy, nasty shit hole.Worst country ever.Khmers are thieving dirty animals.Fuck Cambodia. Fuck Khmer

  5. Call the A-Team says:

    Umm, this is ancient history already.

    Umm, I think you’ll admit now, after you’ve cooled off, that MOST police forces in your home country are umm, sorry, about the same. I said most police forces, especially in high-traffic tourist areas. You may like them more because they are simply more familiar (whiter) and they speak your language or look like you. They are better, but they’ve ready extracted a police tax from you from land taxes and rental taxes. You just didn’t notice it going.

    I admit you are young, and apparently careless, and clueless. But kindly mind the overt racism here.

    This is the result of insurance companies, which have their uses, making you pay. The local police have received word to no longer support baseless insurance claims. Their bosses are being bribed by Western-based insurance companies to no longer write police reports, because of baseless claims by (here’s the circle of racism again) scamming Westerners that look like you. Notice I said LOOK like you. Obviously you’re a perfectly honest person. I believe you because you wouldn’t write about it on a blog to everyone. You are not criminal, just a bit naive.

    Cambodia is a nice place, but it’s really fraught with headaches and setbacks. No real violence, and I really think you should both chide and apologise to the guest house owner. Chide him for not supervising enough, and apologise to him for suspecting him. He is in the same situation as you, both of you (OK, I exonerate the gal, but you two should know better) are pleading innocence and ignorance. Great shepherding dude.

    While I empathize with your loss, this isn’t Kansas anymore. Kindly learn not to hate people because of your negligence, and one day find some closure and maybe even some forgiveness to these under appreciated, much-maligned and poor civil servants in a poor country.

    Your gal is nice, I’m sure, but a nice Viking gal inside. I kind of like her reaction, which is what YOU should’ve done, but whatever.

    Just leave when it’s obvious they can’t help you.

    I think you’re a big blockhead, but hey, you were young and American.

    As an aside, I do think you have a career in drama and drama writing ahead of you, good writing!

    You didn’t make the rest of America proud with your rant, but you did entertain some of us with your wordsmith wit and metaphor!

    The police here are still corrupt, but now their BOSSES are taking BIGGER BRIBES from your Western-based insurance companies. Learn a little about how the world goes ’round next time, will you?

  6. Call the A-Team says:

    Sorry, I meant *under appreciated, much-maligned (and darker) poor civil servants in a poor Asian country.

    The obvious show of “esprit de corps” as they tried to show you their INDIGENCE completely went over your head.

    Also, they were trying to fight fraud and corruption, probably at the urging of people that look just like you. Glad to see they’re “getting it.” Some insurance executive is patting their bosses back, all in the effort to combat “corruption” and fraud. Sorry, you really did get caught in the middle of that. [ Genuine wince. ]

    “Always judge people on their police force and ALWAYS blame people for your negligence.”

    Did you take any blame for your negligence?

    By the way, have you since upgraded to a mega-massive gaming rig with a larger screen, more memory, and a no-questions asked insurance policy? Peace of mind and frivolity these local government workers will never see?

    • Sean says:

      I’ve thought about a lot of ways to respond to you. I’ve typed a lot and erased a lot. I’ll simply say this. You don’t know me. If you think this post about my dealings with the tourist police in Cambodia encapsulates the entirety of my feelings for Cambodia you are sadly mistaken. We loved Cambodia, we have recommended other travelers visit Cambodia, we have told Cambodia’s story to many, as in the United States, it is tragically unknown. I hope your post gave you catharsis, and I also hope that you are never the victim of any crime at any time.

  7. Jack says:

    Call the A-team, what a basket case!
    Theft is theft, whether you took defensive measures or not.
    And the job of the police is to catch the perp, or at the very least, officially recognise the crime, so that insurance can get involved.

  8. Dax says:

    Their uniforms are the oneqs of traffic police

  9. Mike Williams says:

    I too was ripped off by the local poor people when I visited Cambodia and Viet Nam. I don’t think that the two laptop owners were negligent.

    Nieve is a better word. Many people think that when you rent a hotel room and leave your belongings locked in it you are safe.

    This just not true, especially when in the areas where foreign tourists are. The country’s require that you keep all your valuables with you all the time or plan on getting victimized.

  10. chris vaughn says:

    phew, just be glad you dont live there permanently. Third world shitholes suck to live in. Everybody just sees easy money when they see westerners who make more in a week than they make in a year. No doubt the police of all sorts are corrupt and paid off. First saw that sort of stuff in Mexico. They are so bad that even the locals carry “la mordida” or the bite. That way when the police stop you for running nonexistent stop sigh you just hand over some money. If you pull out wallet they take all. Most all 3rd world crap hells are the same or so close.

  11. Sean says:

    They Guy in the picture from your laptop is a Tourist Police officer in Siem Reap. He along with another idiot police officer in plain clothes both interviewed me when I had to lodge a complaint with the tourist police when a Tuk – Tuk driver by the name of Mr khmaw, whom is well known to Police in Cambodia stole my Iphone 5s during my recent holiday to Siem Reap.

    The idiots know who he is, know where he lives and other tuk -tuk drivers know him as well … funny thing is no one can locate the elusive Mr khmaw – seems he vanished into thin air minutes after he stole my phone. The Tourist police and the Cambodian police force cannot find MR khmaw nor my Iphone…its been 11 days since it was stolen and they still claim the thief has “gone underground”, is in hiding waiting for me to leave Siem reap. I left there 8 days ago

    I bet its secreted in the desk draw of the undercover Tourist police officer’s ( shown in the picture taken by your PC) desk .. he is patiently waiting to sell it into the Chinese stolen mobile phone markets ..

    I managed to take a picture of the police report, funny thing is they never offered me a copy of it.

    corrupt, corrupt and more corruption…

    Goodness help the poorJapanese tourist that ran into the room not long before my interview had finished shouting..”help please my passport and all my cash has been stolen” !!!

  12. Sean says:

    They Guy in the picture from your laptop is a Tourist Police officer in Siem Reap. He along with another idiot police officer in plain clothes both interviewed me when I had to lodge a complaint with the tourist police when a Tuk – Tuk driver by the name of Mr khmaw, whom is well known to Police in Cambodia stole my Iphone 5s during my recent holiday to Siem Reap.

    The idiots know who he is, know where he lives and other tuk -tuk drivers know him as well … funny thing is no one can locate the elusive Mr khmaw – seems he vanished into thin air minutes after he stole my phone. The Tourist police and the Cambodian police force cannot find MR khmaw nor my Iphone…its been 11 days since it was stolen and they still claim the thief has “gone underground”, is in hiding waiting for me to leave Siem reap. I left there 8 days ago

    I bet its secreted in the desk draw of the undercover Tourist police officer’s ( shown in the picture taken by your PC) desk .. he is patiently waiting to sell it into the Chinese stolen mobile phone markets ..

    I managed to take a picture of the police report, funny thing is they never offered me a copy of it.

    corrupt, corrupt and more corruption…

    Goodness help the poor Japanese tourist that ran into the room not long before my interview had finished shouting..”help please my passport and all my cash has been stolen” !!!

  13. Vlad Dinisoae says:

    I could not reason with these guys so I started to yell at them. They ganged up on me (10 to 1), started to run after me. I was knocked to the ground, handcuffed and then tied to a pole with an iron chain. I tried to fight back but in response I was slapped and the chain was pulled tighter. Everybody there looked at me and laughed as I was screaming for help. I stayed like this for about 1 hour until my partner managed to convince them to let me go. I could barely feel my hands when they took down the chain and cuffs. I still have bruises and my rists hurt. True story that happened in the tourist police office in Siem Reap, near the entrance to Angkor Wat in March 2017. They are not human beings, they are monsters!

  14. Sylvia says:

    I really had to chuckle when I read your story….we just had a similar shit experience with the tourist police in Siem Reap….Our troubles started on the border when they refused my Armenian boyfriend a visa upon arrival…only because they had no idea where Armenia was?!? After a load of back and forth (literally on motorbike from Vietnam border to Cambodian border)…The Cambodians refused the visa for the “normal” (elevated price of $40). After “negotiations” I had to sign a paper that my bf was my husband and pay an extra $20 for his visa which was exactly the same as mine. Then in SR, a travel agency which booked the wrong flight refused to return my bf Armenian passport, because I refused to pay for the wrong flights. Perhaps keeping mine (USA) would have been more dodgy since we have a consulate in Cambodia, bur Armenia doesn’t have one… We went to the police and they said they can do nothing, so we went to the experts in such cases, the tourist police! And the same shit you experienced, so I don’t have to go into detail. After I agreed to pay for the wrong tickets, $266, they said they can get his passport. I was denied copies of the report, although I was forced to sign a document saying I withdraw my complaint. The shitty officer put the cash in his pocked, shook my hand and thanked me. We got the passport back and took the next flight to Saigon!

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