Monkeypox escapee held in Phnom Penh, declared persona non grata

CAMBODIA confirmed that a Nigerian man infected with Monkeypox who had escaped medical treatment in Thailand was arrested last night (July 23) and he is now under the care of a medical team at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, said today.

The head of Phnom Penh’s Chamkamon district Mr. Thein Sothom announced the arrest of the infected Nigerian man, Mr. Osmond Chihazirim Nzerem, 27, while the Cambodian Immigration Office declared him persona non grata.

There is on official confirmation by Cambodian authorities on how he crossed over to Cambodia but a big manhunt was conducted throughout Preah Sihanouk and Banteay Meanchey provinces before he was arrested in Phnom Penh.

Nzerem had landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport on October 21, 2021 and informed officials that he would be going to study at Chiang Mai University. 

However on July 16 this year he saw a doctor at Bangkok Hospital Phuket after pustules erupted on his skin and then returned to his condo in Kathu district. 

Later after the hospital had got confirmation from Chulalongkorn Hospital and Medical Sciences Department that he was suffering from Monkeypox, an appointment was made for him to come in for treatment but he did not show up.

Moreover he had also moved from the condo in Kathu to a hotel at Patong beach. When Phuket police arrived to arrest him there they found he had checked out and gone elsewhere in a white sedan.

Public Health Minister Authin Charnvirakul said on Friday evening (July 22) that the infected Nigerian man had departed from Phuket with this mobile phone signal having been picked up in Sa Kaeo province.

Later security officials along the Thai-Cambodian border in Sa Kaeo obtained photos showing Nzerem in Ban Khlong Luek border market in Aranyaprathet district as he prepared to cross the border via a natural channel.

It was discovered that it travelled via a new road and headed to the Thai-Cambodian Friendship Bridge which has not been officially opened. He then turned onto Highway 3511, walked under the bridge, then swam across the natural waterway at around 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday (July 21). Once on the Cambodian side there were people to receive him and help him travel to Phnom Penh.

However, one of several other reports on his escape says he swam to Cambodia’s Koh Kong province which is not far from Thailand’s Trat province.


The Monkeypox-infected Nigerian man Mr. Osmond Chihazirim Nzerem upon his arrest in Phnom Penh, top, and two other earlier shots. Surveillance camera image shows him travelling elsewhere from Patong beach hotel. All photos:

Also read: Monkeypox escapee has likely fled to Cambodia

Monkeypox ‘more difficult to catch than Covid or smallpox’

Phuket chasing Monkeypox-infected Nigerian man after he escaped 

3 suspected monkeypox cases ‘found to be infected with herpes’

American Covid patient escapes from Thai hospital

Songkhla police hunt for Covid escapee


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