Last week, Nanjing’s latest international direct flight made its debut, in the form of a new service from Nanjing Lukou International Airport to the southern Cambodian city of Sihanoukville.
Long popular with backpackers, Sihanoukville is blessed with a string of beaches along the Gulf of Thailand. Yet, the city has also seen an up swelling in both organised and petty crime, as well as drug trafficking in recent years.
A travel advisory from the British Embassy from 1 year ago states, “[It] continues to receive crime reports from British nationals. Most of these are bag snatchings, often by thieves riding past on motorbikes”.
The same report also cautions, “Police have reported instances of drink spiking and violence in the evening in some bars frequented by foreigners. Be vigilant, particularly in and around late-night bars and don’t leave drinks unattended”.
Operated by Qingdao Airlines, flight QW9889 departed Nanjing on Friday 19 July, only 10 minutes late, at 09:55. That said, the inaugural service was some 50 minutes early in arriving at Sihanoukville International Airport. The return service, flight QW9890, has a scheduled departure of 14:40 and an arrival of 20:05, giving an average flight time of a little more than 4 hours on the 2,826 kilometre route.
It was a busy week for the Cambodian airport last week, with no less than four new flights between Sihanoukville and China. In addition to the Nanjing service, Hainan Airlines commenced operations from Haikou, capital of Hainan province, while Lanmei Airlines, a Chinese-owned, low-cost airline based in Phnom Penh, started linking Sihanoukville with Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province, and Wuhan, capital of Hubei province.
With 181 flights per week now connecting Cambodia and China, the new Sihanoukville services reveal the extent of Chinese investment into the city.
The Khmer Times has quoted from a report published earlier in July by the provincial police, stating that an estimated 80,000 Chinese nationals live in Sihanoukville, while the Chinese operate almost 90 percent of hotels, casinos, restaurants and massage parlours in the city.