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Over 50? Make less than $31k per year? No Cambodian wife for you

New law: Cambodian women can't marry broke, older men.
Winn cambodiapageant 2011 03 22Enlarge
En Leaktepy, 17, smiles after being crowned as the winner in the Super Girl beauty contest in Phnom Penh, 01 October 2005. (TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)

If you're broke or middle-aged, forget about proposing to this Cambodian beauty pageanteer.

Even if she happens to dig frugal, graying foreigners, the marriage would be considered illegal under Cambodian law.

Starting this month, Cambodian women are now forbidden by government decree from marrying foreign men who are 50-plus or make less than $2,580 per month, AFP reports.

A foreign ministry officials explains the government wants to stamp out "fake marriages and human trafficking" and cites cases of Cambodian women "used as slaves" abroad.

The law, however, only applies to men. Western ladies are still free to seek out a young Cambodian guy for eternal romance. It also doesn't seem to prevent the couple from marrying in a different country.

The new law appears to stem from fears that Cambodia is becoming a major hub for child brides. Back in 2008, this Asia Times report focused on South Korean males who are said to make up a sizable portion of the interested suitors. The same year, Cambodian authorities briefly outlawed all foreign marriages to kill off the industry.

It doesn't seem to have worked.

Here's a Singapore-based company promising Cambodian brides, which are "highly favoured by Westerners as they have such a lovely brown-tanned skin tone that glows on them."

And here's another broker for Cambodian brides, though they appear to specialize in women from former U.S.S.R. bloc countries.

There are obvious holes in this new law, namely that it can be skirted by getting married abroad and it won't prevent middle-class, under-50 guys looking for Cambodian brides.

But if it's enforced, the law will likely make it less convenient for guys interested in mail-order, er, Web-order brides.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/over-50-make-less-31k-year-no-cambodian-wife-you

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