Security guards are more than farmers in uniform
Updated: Aug 29, 2022
"Hidden behind a security gate in a nondescript barrack-like row of old rail yard buildings near Cambodia's military headquarters and ministry buildings, Global Security Solutions, a member of the The Royal Group of companies, enjoys the proximity to several high profile clients, including Toll Royal Railways."
Inside, pictures of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former US President George HW Bush and actor Richard Gere adorn the single-storey building’s walls suggesting that Global Security Solutions’ Managing Director John Muller is a formidable networker with a stellar reputation.
The company not only provides security for embassies, but for petrochemical companies, hotels and airlines as well.
Since the company, part of the Royal Group, and associated with the EZECOM Group, started operations in early 2011, Muller has recruited 21 employees and about 600 security guards and plans to further expand this payroll to not more than 1,000 guards.
“My long experience and my contact network allowed me to handpick the best men and women,” he told the Post yesterday in an interview.
The field of hi-tech security lured security expert Muller a long time ago. The former US soldier started his career in Thailand in 1986 with Circle Freight, a major American logistics company, as Indochina manager.
“In the ’90s, I established the first professional private security services company in Cambodia. We helped the government to disarm the many unprofessional security guards, even some police,” he said, adding that police called him the ‘father of security.’ “AK-47s and other weapons disappeared from the streets and tourists felt safer.”
Nowadays, while most tourists think of Cambodia as a relatively safe country due to his influence on the national lawmakers, Muller has extended his knowledge about security services like no one else. He is looking back on 27 years of experience in Southeast Asia and 16 years in Cambodia.
Global Security Solutions is well connected, serving Mobitel, Plan International and several NGOs in Cambodia. Its biggest customer besides parent company EZECOM is Toll Royal Railways.
“Working for Toll is a daunting task, because a lot of things are happening in the bush. We don’t have instructors going there every time, so we need to find technical solutions to monitor our employees,” Muller explained, adding that his company protects railways and containers.
The office in the back of the building differs from the gallery-like rooms in the front. Having passed four security checkpoints, the last door unlocks automatically, allowing a short glimpse of large screens showing cash points and offices.
“People in Cambodia think of security guards as farmers in uniforms, but they are more than that,” Muller said. Talking about his experience with American, Vietnamese, Thai, Australian, Iraqi and Khmer guards he said: “I am not looking for anything else than Khmer staff. They are very dedicated, loyal and hard working.”
Security guards begin at a monthly salary of around $150-$200 and are on average 26 years old. Only one per cent of the company’s employees are women, as customers in Cambodia still prefer men. The job is less about power, and more about intelligent planning, according to 63-year-old Muller.
“I want to increase the number of my female and handicapped employees,” Muller said.
Article originally posted in the Phnom Penh Post. Some edits have been made to reflect recent adjustments related to the company's ownership and clientele.