Sihanoukville sours on China visitors

Local Cambodians in Sihanoukville are staging a backlash against the flood of Chinese visitors, who have been drawn to the seaside town by the rising number of casinos, the Financial Times reports.

The locals are upset that Chinese workers are taking construction and other jobs that should be reserved for them, the newspaper said.

It quoted Xiong Bo, Beijing’s envoy, as saying that “a small amount of low-educated people” from his country were breaking Cambodian laws.

“The price of renting rooms has risen, and that affects the standard of living of government officials, workers, and other people,” he wrote in a letter to the interior minister that was leaked to Cambodian media. He said “mafia groups” were behind kidnappings and “insecurity in the province”, and that tension between Chinese visitors and locals would give the opposition ammunition to attack the Cambodian-Chinese relationship, or to claim that Sihanoukville was becoming “a second Shanghai”.