Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Filipina Lalaine de Guzman said the officers who came in civvies to arrest her partner did not present an arrest warrant or explain why Greatsinger was being held. Photo supplied

Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

Filipina Lalaine de Guzman, 48, is demanding answers for the detention of her American partner by Cambodian immigration officers after he was arrested at their home almost 90 days ago.

She said without an arrest warrant or proffering any criminal charges, Stephen Sidney Greatsinger, 56, is being detained by Cambodian immigration officers upon a request by the US embassy.

On August 4, she said, Cambodian immigration officers stormed the couple’s apartment on St 163, in the capital’s Chamkarmon district and arrested Greatsinger who has been living with her in Cambodia for more than six years.

Guzman said the arrest happened after she went to the US embassy to collect a stimulus cheque on Greatsinger’s behalf as he is entitled to the Covid-19 relief package as a US citizen.

“At 12pm on August 4, I was on the ground floor of my apartment and I heard a man shouting something. I didn’t understand and asked what wrong I had committed? He said, ‘it’s not you . . . where is your husband?’ And I replied, ‘what did he do? He was just staying at home’,” Guzman told The Post in tears.

She said the officers who came in civvies did not present an arrest warrant or explain why Greatsinger was being held. They took him to the immigration department along Russian Boulevard in the Pochentong area of Por Sen Chey district.

“No reason at all [for the arrest]. They just said it’s the embassy [that] ordered them to make the arrest. When I asked the embassy officials, they said it had nothing to do with them and is an immigration matter.

“He [Greatsinger] was later charged under Article 35 of the Immigration Act which concerns deportation,” she said.

Guzman claimed Greatsinger is not subject to deportation as he holds a legal document to reside in Cambodia as a self-employed person.

“For deportation to take effect, a foreigner must fail to have a proper visa and work permit, but my partner has everything and we are living in Cambodia legally.

“The immigration officers claimed it is the US embassy that wants him deported, but according to the embassy, it is a Cambodian immigration matter. This has been going for some 90 days,” she said.

Guzman said she had hired two lawyers, one of whom told her that according to US embassy staff, Greatsinger is not allowed to seek legal counsel. Her lawyer then suggested she seek support from the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC).

Confirming this, CHRC spokesman, Chin Malin, who is also the spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, said the CHRC committee had submitted a letter to the immigration department and the US embassy but neither had responded thus far.

“We have not acted further or intervened in the matter as we are unsure of the legal grounds for the arrest. We have only asked the immigration department to clarify the matter, confirm Greatsinger’s detention and what it is related to.

“We also sought information on whether his case involves a violation of immigration law, illegal entry, expiration of residence permit, or is due to criminal offences committed in Cambodia. However, we have not yet received any response.

“We have also sent the complaint to the US Embassy for it to intervene and provide its national with legal assistance,” he said.

US embassy spokesman Chad Roedemeier said it could not comment on the matter. “We cannot say anything about this case because of privacy concerns. We are not allowed to release any information about this person [Greatsinger],” he said.

Keo Vanthon, the deputy director-general of the General Department of Immigration at the Ministry of Interior, told The Post that Greatsinger had violated Cambodian immigration laws and will soon be deported.

“The alien named Stephen Sidney Greatsinger is being held by the General Department of Immigration prior to deportation. The ministry decided to deport him as per the Law on Immigration and in regards to a crime of intimidation,” he said.

Vanthon said Greatsinger has been charged under Article 36 of the law for the crime which was allegedly committed sometime in June this year. He said the immigration department did not curtail his right to seek legal representation.

Article 36 states that the Minister of Interior shall have the power to order the expulsion from the country of any alien whose behaviour or activity is dangerous to national security; or proven to be a dissident to the national security after the competent ministries had collected all specific evidence; or working in Cambodia without a work permit.

“In the case of this alien, the authorities have investigated and found evidence that this individual had threatened the US Ambassador and US embassy officials via email. He will be deported very shortly,” Vanthon said.


  • Time to avert disastrous Covid situation: officials

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia is heading towards further large-scale community transmission as the total number of confirmed cases is nearing 61,000 and the death toll passed 900 on July 10, senior health officials warned. Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine expressed concern that the country was going

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Baby saved as mother is lost to Covid

    Newborn baby Neth David has had a rough start in the world. His mother, Vong Daneth, was seven months pregnant when she contracted a severe case of Covid-19. When it became clear to her doctors that she would not survive, they performed a cesarean section

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided