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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Embassy officer guilty of visa crime

Embassy officer guilty of visa crime

A former regional security officer at the United States Embassy in Phnom Penh, Harold

Countryman, and his wife, Kimberly Countryman, have pleaded guilty in Virginia, USA,

to aiding and abetting visa fraud to further the forced labor of a Cambodian woman

they were employing.

A US embassy press release stated that according to court documents, the couple provided

materially false information to obtain a visa on behalf of a Cambodian woman whom

they then brought to the United States to work for them as a domestic servant for

two years.

Kimberly Countryman admitted that she procured the visa with reason to believe that

it would be used to commit a felony, namely forced labor. She acknowledged that she

withheld a portion of the woman's pay, took possession of the woman's passport, and

physically assaulted the woman.

As part of the plea agreement the Countrymans are required to pay $50,000 in restitution

and $50,000 in forfeiture. They are scheduled for sentencing on October 13, 2006.

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