Safety in Sihanoukville
While violent crime is extremely rare, purse snatching, pick-pocketing, and petty theft are extremely common occurrences on and near Serendipity beach during both the day and night. Women should not carry purses containing anything valuable, and if possible should not carry any purse at all. Groups of young children often surround women leaving the beach bars at night, cut off their purses and run away. In addition, criminals on motorbikes will often grab a woman's purse and then drive off during both the day and night, dragging the woman behind them until they let go and get off with the bag. The majority of this activity is confined to the Serendipity area and travellers to Otres Beach or the rest of Sihanoukville should be careful, but far less concerned about crime.
- Jet Ski At least six tourists and one local boy were run over and killed at Ochheuteal Beach and Otres Beach by jet skis since Sep 2009. The number of tourists and locals injured by banana-boats and jet skis is unknown. In 2009 the police marked a swimmers- only area with buoys along most of the beach but the employees of the jet ski & banana-boat operators completely ignore it and keep showing off silly but very dangerous high speed stunts just metres from shore and in the middle of swimmers to hunt and attract customers. Complaints to the police are ignored. On weekends you will see many very drunk Cambodian tourists on jet skis, chasing each other inside the swimming zone and ignoring the simplest safety rules. At Serendipity, the northern end of Ochheuteal Beach, jet skiers race between the coral bommies, completely disregarding the safety of snorkellers, damaging and killing marine life with the oil in their exhausts. All but one jet ski are old models from the 1990s with 2-stroke engines. If three or four jet skies running at the same time, the whole beach stinks from the highly toxic exhaust fumes - not to mention the permanent chainsaw noise the beach is blasted with. If you want to enjoy a quiet, relaxed day on the beach, do not rent a jet ski and tell everybody about the danger – or go to one of the other beaches outside of town and pay USD3-5 for a one way ride with a motodop.
Medical services in Sihanoukville are very limited and basic. The best medical service is offered by the CT Clinic. This is the only clinic trusted by expats who live in Sihanoukville. The public hospital should be avoided at all costs, as it is terrible. In case of major trouble evacuation is necessary.
HIV/AIDS is nowhere near as prevalent as it was, but the infection rate is still relatively high within certain high risk groups such as female sex workers. In 2006 the infection rate for brothel-based female sex workers was estimated to be 14.7%, but government initiatives have raised the rate of correct and consistent condom use to over 90%. However, many sex workers are now operating outside of brothels, so the rate could be significantly higher in this group.
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