Phnom Penh: According to Chinese language media, official documents state that from last year (*not exact on the dates) to June this year, at least 505 Chinese and Taiwanese citizens were granted the royal permission of the King to become Cambodian nationals.
According to documents, they all obtained Cambodian citizenship through investment. Among the 505 Chinese, 37 were from Taiwan.
*In 2020 at least 281 Chinese/Taiwanese were given Cambodian citizenship)
According to documents, a small number of Chinese who have become Cambodian nationals still have foreign passports. Some have already held U.S. nationality, Canadian nationality, and even some from the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, The Republic of Vanuatu and Antigua and Barbuda.
According to the information, 88 changed their names after naturalization.
In the past year and a half, in addition to Chinese, 83 foreigners from other countries and regions have joined Cambodian citizenship, including the Philippines, India, Spain, Bangladesh, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, Germany, Canada, Myanmar, South Korea, The United States, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
According to a report from the Ministry of the Interior, from 1999 to the end of 2018, a total of 1,935 foreigners obtained Cambodian citizenship. In the past two years, the number of Chinese naturalizations in Cambodia has increased significantly, which is equivalent to a quarter of the total number of naturalizations of foreigners in 20 years.
Chinese citizens who are naturalized in Cambodia can enjoy the same benefits as Cambodian citizens. However, according to Chinese law, China does not recognize that Chinese citizens having dual nationality. After they become foreign nationals, they will automatically lose their Chinese nationality and no longer enjoy the rights and obligations of Chinese citizens.
Most of the Chinese who are naturalized in Cambodia are to do business in Cambodia more conveniently, especially to purchase land directly as Cambodian citizens. Their investment has made a lot of contributions to the social and economic development of Cambodia.
However, there are also a small number of people who fled to Cambodia after committing crimes and obtained Cambodian nationality through illegal channels. This issue has recently attracted the attention of the Chinese police.
On June 3 this year, the Director General of the Cambodian National Police Neshavin and Wang Xiaohong, Executive Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Public Security of China, co-hosted a video conference on the work summary of the Cambodia-China Law Enforcement Cooperation Year.
The head of the China-Cambodia Law Enforcement Cooperation Coordination Office, Wu Jianmin, who participated in the meeting, said after the meeting that the law enforcement agencies of the two countries will further strengthen various crime-fighting cooperation, especially for the criminal leaders who have gained Cambodian nationality. The Chinese and Cambodian police will continue to collect evidence of their crimes, and the Chinese will provide the Cambodian side with information about their criminal records, to promote the cancellation of the Cambodian nationality they defrauded, and strive to return to them to the country to accept legal proceedings. Cambodia will never be a safe haven for them.
In 2018, Cambodia revised its nationality law and raised the threshold for naturalization by foreign investment, including the amount of naturalization by investment.
The Cambodian Nationality Law stipulates that foreigners who apply for Cambodian citizenship must meet the following conditions:
1. A certificate of good character and morality from the local authority or district head of the place of residence.
2. Possess a certificate of good citizenship, and never committed any criminal offence.
3. A certificate of possession to show the applicant has lived in the Kingdom of Cambodia for seven consecutive years and has a domicile in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The certificate is issued by the immigration agency.
4. When applying for naturalization, have a domicile in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
5. Can speak Khmer, can write Khmer and understand some Cambodian history, and shows evidence that he/she can live harmoniously in Cambodian society and can accept Cambodia’s good customs.
6. Be in good health.