Crime in Sihanoukville

I have been here 11 years.  Historically I have been aware that the predominant crime occurred in neighborhoods to the right of the road going from the Vietnam Embassy to Victory Hill (I will describe as many do not know local names).  I lived there but, after 3 robberies to myself and many to locals, I moved.

However 3 years later it has followed me. There has been a rash of robberies seemingly targeting foreigners now in neighborhoods adjacent to the road from the market out of town in the direction Otres. 
5 weeks ago once again I was robbed but since then 2 friends along the same corridor have been robbed.
I am only aware of foreigners being targeted.  The most worrying is that one was committed at 1pm while my friend was at the rear of his house.
I am told that there have been some snatching from motorcycles along the same road during this time also although I do not know more.

For those of you that are not aware there is a large drug dependency problem here particularly with the young.  2 or 3 years ago 2 foreigners were murdered in separate incidents in what was assumed to be a desperate attempts for drug purchase money.  I am concerned we may have similar occurrences.

As we all know the police are worthless, a total waste of air allowing them to continue breathing.


I am not aware of any official crime recording system as we are have at home.  New comers researching Sihanoukville would assume that its a totally crime free paradise.  This forum hopefully will help with this naivety.

I hope my posting is well received, I am frustrated and have no idea what the solution is.

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from the US Consulate warning about crimes against foreigners, pointing to the Ocheteal beach area. I try to stay aware, and always keep my doors locked, and double locked at night. The recent influx of Khmer from Phnom Penh may be the reason, but I can't say for sure.

Its definitely worse now than anytime I can remember. Gone for ever the sleepy town most enjoyed. Pity the Consulate can't pressure the government to take the crime seriously here.
Think you correct about scum from P.P.  They can rob one tourist with little risk and make as many $ as the risky home robbery.
Seems like when its tourist season they are at the beach, wet season they are robbing houses where I live.

That is worrying. I have been considering spending winters (UK) in Snooky. I spent last winter in Pattaya living on pleasant estate (Condos) next to Soi Buakhao in the heart of the bars - although very quiet where I was. Lots of people (every day) get knocked off their scooters in Soi Buakhao. The point is, that in 7 months, I didn't personally know of any crime committed in that area. Of course, there is plenty of crime in Pattaya mostly on the beach late at night. However, nothing happened to me or any one I knew or to their friends. It is a shame if the once sleepy/ laid back Sihanoukville now has crime on the scale you are mentioning. Maybe, I should forget wintering there and look elsewhere? I enjoy Pattaya, but would prefer something quieter and, if possible, more sophisticated (!?).

Please every one read this link below.
Found this one the web. Factual account of life here and why to be aware. … he-better/

Bag snatches are common so is bag theft on the beach but young people be aware drlnk spiking has become very very common. Oddly its mostly at one bar which  therefore could easily be stopped by the police but is ignored.

Sorry to report another burglery or a least attempted. Exact same berang community I reported above.  Was evening, wife had gone out, burgler cut off the lock on the sliding front gate and was attempting to steal the motor cycle. Husband heard noise turned lights on and the scumbag ran off.

to bad we cannot own guns legally.maybe iilegal is an option.when you shoot a burglar trow him of the rocks or with the garbage.

Cambodians are scared of big dogs.     
Get one and install in your house with a free roam
Train him to hate scrum bags robbers


problem is ,poison is easyly a spiked meatball and your big dog is teachinc your dog ni to take food from strangers takes a bit of canine  knowledge

Got to say you guys are painting a very dark picture of Cambodians! It's become less and less tempting to me to spend winters in Snooky!

I am in sihanoukville to study the place with the intention of being part of the action here.

If crime is prevalent, I have chosen the wrong place. I want to live in a safe,clean n quiet place.

Perhaps, I shd take a look at Kampot.

Sounds like you think the same as me - these guys are painting a picture that suggests a lot of crime - more than Pattaya which I know well. I want a quieter and more pleasant place than Pattaya, but it seems like Sihanoukville is not it. I don't want to stay in place that's too quiet, though! I don't know anything about Kampot apart form where it is. What else do you know - why are you considering it?

Never been to Kampot. Will check it up the next two days n will share my observation.

I would appreciate that and maybe Kep (which used to be a resort for affluent Cambodians before the Pol Pot killing fields era).

mjck945 :

Cambodians are scared of big dogs.     
Get one and install in your house with a free roam
Train him to hate scrum bags robbers

Doesn't help any longer. My friend used to have a big dog, even quite aggressive to strangers. Guess what: they broke into their front yard, and stole that dog!! (in PP though, not Sihanoukville)

Hope they didn't eat him or cook a bbq

You can be sure that that's exactly what they've done :-(

I will Message you Madmax


Is it possible that the expat community can create a group to watch out for each other since the police does not do anything. I was rob by the palace in PP

I thought about taking the law on my own hands and policing the streets. Any suggestions about groups to protect us since the police can't do it

What form do these robberies take please?

Are people being threatened at knife-point?  Is it pickpocketing? Bagsnatching?

The police can actually do it. The problem is that they don't WANT to do it. If you lose your passport or other official document in a robbery, you've got to go back to the police and file a report. For that, they will take $10.

So if they catch the suspect, they will lose $10. Bad deal for them.

Don't interfere with that "system" or you'll find yourself in more trouble than caused by that robbery...

I'm an Australian based presently in Phnom Penh & professionally I am a security consultant. I have been in the military / security industry for over 30 years & lived / worked in the Asia Region for 19 years - 10 of these being in Cambodia. Over recent months I have seen a number of comments in this thread & others related to security concerns that expats / others have with regards to the ''street crime'' & at various accommodation facilities. In short like every country globally it is a serious concern & needs to be constantly monitored. In Cambodia it has some other challenges as a victim / potential victim is reliant on resolving the situation in ''real time'' as there isn't an effective response mechanism in place form authorities - They do there best on occasions, but they have limited resources / manpower / funds & tend to turn up after the incident is well & truly over !

I have been looking at moving down to Syhanoukville to set up a base which would be a 24/7 QRF, (Quick Response Force). This unit would still work closely with local authorities, etc. but autonomous operationally ! In the near future I will through the media be posting an article to conduct a public forum & for everyone to attend & have the opportunity to ask questions, etc. I will be giving an introduction as to what I believe would be a very cost effective way in ensuring public safety / security. I did a similar thing years back in Australia called ''Commuter Care'' & had major insurance companies as sponsors. I was a success from the onset in particular with railway transit.

I'll leave it at that for now & if anyone is interested in commenting & or getting in touch with me, please do so via my e-mail address. sladepeter[at]

Best security is a battery backed-up LED floodlight that is triggered by heat (infra-red). Just remember to put it in a hard to reach place.

I use a thick stainless steel chain to secure my motorcycles - separate chains through the front wheel and rear wheels. Extremely hard to cut. Also use German-made padlocks - extremely tough and hard to get duplicate keys - which is why they come with three.

Serendipity Rd passed the Golden Lion turnaround is pretty safe.  I don’t think I know anyone personally who has been mugged. The people I’ve heard of getting robbed were all out drinking late at night and by themselves. Craztdog.

in my experience if you're a cordial, clean, sober, smiling person nothing can harm you. 

being robbed depends on who you mix yourself with; honest folks don't rob each other.

if someone goes to SE Asia or similar wanting to live above their means, drinking all day, looking for narcotics and bargirls, then you'll attract trouble anywhere you go - Sihanoukville or not - its as simple as that.

try dressing neat, shave everyday, say thank you, please and good morning ma'am / sir and the local society will open up to you, they'll respect and protect you as an honorable guest.

don't forget that in these types of societies chatting / gossip is a big part of their life; so the word spreads fast if the person is welcome or not.  sometimes being annoying, harassing or even robbing a person is a way of saying that they're not welcome and should go home.

in Sihanoukville i was always treated with respect even by those that make a living by scamming tourists.  why ? cause i show them the same respect i'd show a doctor or bank manager.

so far im really having a good time here and its thanks to the locals.  of course you can't trust touts or bargirls..they're the same everywhere and they don't represent the local society.

some tourists behavior abroad gives expat and foreigners a bad name; and you can't blame the locals for mistreating them on their soil - its their right not to put up with their non sense.

All right, so it's the victim's fault when they've been robbed or mugged. What a nice way of encouragement...

JanKrohn :

All right, so it's the victim's fault when they've been robbed or mugged. What a nice way of encouragement...

walk around as a respectable gentleman and live in a decent accommodation away from the slums and no one will harm you.

its that simple.

and if you use common sense you can avoid making yourself a victim.

Good sound advice. I would only add no matter how you act you will always be an ATM to many locals. Smiling eyes can lie. What seems like friendliness can easily be poverty driven greed. Being a writer makes me a professional liar. Still after almost three years here I have to get to know the local pretty well before I can trust a well-honed BS dictator.  I can think of three or four people who if the other locals hadn’t filled me in I would have never guessed they had Borderline personality disorder or were sociopaths.
My driver is an ex-boxer. He is one of the strongest men I have ever know and I worked six years in slaughter houses carrying quarters of beef into truck 12 hours a day often for three or four months straight. When I say he is a real bad ass I know what a bad ass is.
Still as much as I thank you for your thought out words and the time to took to share them my interest on this tread is not my personal safety but how the new police general the government brought in is do fight the Russian mob is doing. I hear the Turkish mob is on the hit list too but doing better than the Ivans.

This fear monger needs to keep his opinions to himself...

gulfport :

walk around as a respectable gentleman and live in a decent accommodation away from the slums and no one will harm you.

its that simple.

Ah really that simple. Please tell me then, what did the baby do wrong that was stabbed in the head in Phnom Penh at his UN residence house last year??

I lived quite happily in Sankat bei for a number of years. It's away from the tourist area and therefore not targeted by thieves [although some of my neighbours saw fit to climb my fence in the night to pinch all my mangoes and moringa leaves -- they only needed to come round in the daytime and I'd happily share my fruit -- but it's the nature of the beast].   Sadly, I  have had to give up my lovely 2 bed home and return to Jersey.  So, if anyone is looking for a safe place to live in S'ville at under £300 pm with a wonderful landlady.  Let me know.

I would disagree with you most strongly.  Poverty does not drive crime, greed does.

auntyskitchen :

I would disagree with you most strongly.  Poverty does not drive crime, greed does.

FULLY agree. I visited Ghana some years ago, where I also saw a lot of poverty.

But you could leave your car on the side of the street without guard. Unlocked. The week's shopping visible on the back seat.

And of course nothing was touched when coming back after an hour. This was not only the case in the villages and out in the provinces, but in the large cities as well. Most impressive!

Checkout Ko Lipe in the south of Thailand.

Hmmm, I'll be traveling to SE Asia this fall and planning to spend 6 months - year exploring possible places for retirement.  As a single, middle age female traveling alone should I be alarmed? I am fairly well traveled and understand the need to be careful and not put myself in compromising situations, but after reading this I'm a bit concerned about day to day safety? Any insights & advice would be much appreciated.

Wow, I've been living in PP for 12 years and had a few occasions to go to sihanoukville for vacations. Is it still as bad as the start of this thread? I kinda wanted to visit again during my home visit this summer.

Hi if you want  to visit sihanoukville here is good place and we have apartment for rent if you interesting please contact to me .


I found this little older post and was suprised there was no reply from you. How is crime in SHV? Only in bar area or also in other parts? Has Chinese flooding improved the problems with crime?
As I you, SHV is my first choise to live at this moment, but don't like the crime.

Hello James.

To be honest I'm tired of these non sense stories from the past. Yes, there was a wave of crime years and years ago, when two Russian power guys were fighting each other.
I think 2 years ago a new Police Chief was appointed and the first thing that happened was that one Russian went to jail and the other got deported.

The new chief has had a positive influence on the safety in SHV, but crime, as in all cities, is present and it is up to your common sense to avoid situations that might bring you in danger.

Example: Otres, although belonging to SHV, is 5 km out of town, the only road is through nomans land, and is not lit at night. This road is of course asking for trouble, or let's say the not-so-clever tourists that ride on that road at night and after midnight are bringing themselves in a tricky situation. Robberies happen but are rare. I'm sure the chance to get robbed in PP is far higher than in SHV.

Another example is the beaches. Is it really necessary to walk alone on the beach at 3 am? Carrying a iPhone, cards, money? In such situations there is a chance of robbery.

Concluding I can say that crime in SHV is not more prevalent than anywhere else in a city.

Tips to avoid problems:

1. Avoid dark unlit roads at night, take a taxi or at least a tuktuk, try to get the same tuktuk each time.
2. Don't wander around at the beach after midnight.
3. Don't carry expensive things with you at night, like smartphones, cameras, jewelry.
4. Ladies: don't get so horribly drunk or stoned that you don't know where you are, you bring criminals to an idea. Drink but control yourself, don't take a motodop and sit spread-legged on it, Khmer women don't do that, they sit sideways unless the driver is a relative. Behave like Khmer women and you will be ok.
5. Beach parties are going on at the beach, until the sun comes up. People attending it have to be aware that some people use drugs and are sometimes uncontrollable. Better go to a night venue where you are safe. Some of the better ones are Taboo Club and Queenco Nightclub Boudoir.

In general keep your common sense. If you walk in the Bronx at 3 am with expensive things there is also a risk of being harassed. If you walk at that time in Pattaya for sure you will meet some ladyboys with bad intentions, robberies there are famous and frequent. SHV is nothing like that. Crime at the bar areas is not more than anywhere else, total crime is nothing to worry about.



Thx Joe, again very enlightning and helpfull!!!
So SHV will still my nr 1 to go too!

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