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Cambodia

Corruption - Answer #2

2.) You've recently set up business in Cambodia. You purchased a one-month business visa which is the only business visa available, and you need now to extend it. You desire a one-year multiple-entry extension. You have two choices. You can pay the official fee of approximately $150, fill in some forms and produce some documents none of which you will get right the first time or even the second time. Once you get the paperwork right you'll wait at least three to four weeks to get your passport back. Your second choice is to pay an agent $280 handing over only your passport and a photograph. Your passport is returned to you the following day with a valid one-year multiple-entry business visa extension. Which do you choose? What about the ethics of this arrangement?

ANSWER: Most people would choose to pay the $280 for the "express" service. I always have as does everyone I know, though I do six-month extensions at $140~150 a pop.

There's no denying that this is corruption as the extra dollars you pay will line a number of pockets, but there are two main reasons people allow this to continue with minimal complaint. One, we have the option of paying the legally set fee and following the letter of the law. Unlike my first example with the tourist visa, no one is demanding we pay this fee offering us no other alternative in the process. Two, we get something extra in return for our "express" fee payment. Again, in comparison to the first example where the extra money you pay the immigration official gives you nothing additional than what should be a $20 visa on arrival anyway, here, you are exempted from having to fill in any forms or produce any documentation and in most cases the extensions are finished the next day. They get cash, we get an easy visa. Everybody wins.

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Cambodia

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All text and photographs 1998 - 2006 Gordon Sharpless. Commercial or editorial usage without written permission of the copyright holder is prohibited.