Boat capsizes off Cambodia, 23 Chinese nationals missing

More than 20 Chinese nationals are missing after a boat capsized off the coast of Cambodia, a Cambodian official said on Friday.

The ship was carrying 41 Chinese and found itself in difficulty on Thursday at the level of Sihanoukville (southwest), Kheang Phearom, spokesman for the province of Preah Sihanouk, told AFP, adding that only 18 people could be reached. rescued.

The once tranquil fishing village of Sihanoukville has been transformed in recent years by a boom in Chinese investment, including the opening of dozens of casinos. However, there is growing evidence that Chinese workers are being trafficked and smuggled to work illegally in the city.

Police were questioning the survivors while the search continued to find the other passengers, the spokesperson explained: “We are looking for the 23 missing persons».

Provincial police chief Chion Narin told pro-government outlet Fresh News that a representative of those on board told them they had left China from a port in Guangdong province on a speedboat on September 11.

Almost a week later, they were transferred to a wooden boat by two Cambodian crew members, the police chief said, before their boat began to sink after breaking down on Thursday.

The policeman added that a fishing boat picked up the two Cambodians and left, abandoning the passengers. According to the provincial spokesman, the two Cambodian nationals were arrested for questioning.

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