Who you gonna call?
In Cambodia, police are some of the lowest paid workers in the country, making so little that it’s impossible to support a family on salary alone. Therefore, they supplement their income by requiring fees for services rendered. What this means is that if you are the victim of a crime, you should expect to pay a small bribe to the police in order to report your crime and get a police report written. (If you have travel insurance, you’ll need a police report to file a claim.) When dealing with the police, remain calm and collected. Start your offer at $5. Depending on the value of the items you’ve lost and how hysterical you act, you can end up paying substantially more, though most expats report paying $20 or less.
In most of Cambodia the police speak very little English, so it’s best to bring a translator with you, be it a friend, hotel employee, or tuk tuk driver. If it’s either of the latter, expect to tip them, too. In Siem Reap there are active tourist police who are supposed to speak English (T: 012 402 424; 012 969 991; 012 838 768), while in Phnom Penh the so-called tourist police speak little to no English (T: 023 726 158; 097 778 0002).
If you’ve been the victim of a crime, report it to your embassy. They can help you replace your passport, put you in contact with local attorneys or translators, and help you seek medical advice if you’ve been hurt.
The following information is for Phnom Penh. If you are located elsewhere, find your local emergency numbers and save them so they’re readily available in case you need them.
Fire Department (24 hour) T: 023 723 555
Police (24 Hour) T: 023 366 841; 023 720 235
Traffic Police T: 023 722 067
Ambulance T: 023 724 891
US Embassy: For emergencies during business hours call (023) 728 281; 023 728 051; 023 728 234. Outside of normal business hours call 023 728 000.
UK Embassy: T: 023 427124. Outside of normal business hours call 023 427 124; 023 428 153.
Australian Embassy: T: 023 213 470
This is an excerpt from Move to Cambodia: A guide to living and working in the Kingdom of Wonder. To learn more about 100+ topics that pertain to Cambodia expats, please consider buying the book.