An official said that a boat collapsed off the coast of Cambodia, leaving more than 20 Chinese people missing.
Only 18 of the 41 Chinese passengers on board the boat had been rescued as of Thursday, according to province spokeswoman Kheang Phearom, who spoke to AFP.
A recent surge in Chinese investment has altered Sihanoukville, a once-quiet fishing hamlet, with the development of many casinos.
However, stories of Chinese employees being trafficked or smuggled into the city to work illegally are on the rise.
While the hunt for the others went on, according to Kheang Phearom, authorities were interviewing those who had been saved.
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He said, “We are looking for the 23 who went missing.”
A spokesman of the gang informed authorities they departed China on September 11 via a port in the Guangdong province, according to provincial police head Chuon Narin, who spoke to the pro-government media site Fresh News.
According to the police chief, they were transported to a wooden boat with two Cambodian crew members on the international seas over a week later. On Thursday, the boat’s mechanical failure caused it to start sinking.
According to him, the two Cambodians were picked up by a fishing boat and left behind with their boat in the water.
The two Cambodians had also been held for interrogation, according to Kheang Phearom.