Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police to probe Tamil ties

Police to probe Tamil ties

090310_02.jpg
090310_02.jpg

US sanctions on Tamil charity prompts local investigation  

Photo by:
AFP

 This picture, released by Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence last week, is said to be of Sri Lankan troops looking at the bodies of Tiger rebels. 

NATIONAL police said Monday they have opened and investigation into whether a US-based charity with ties to Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tigers had ever operated in Cambodia, following sanctions against the group by the US Treasury Department. 

Prompted by a US embassy notice that the Tamil Foundation had been identified as a terrorist group, the Foreign Affairs Ministry at the end of last month asked the Interior Ministry to monitor the presence of nongovernmental organisations in Cambodia. police spokesman Keat Chantarith said

"We are looking into the case" of the Tamil Foundation," he told the Post.

"But we don't have any information yet," he said, adding that it was not known whether the group was ever active in Cambodia.

In a news release posted last month on its website, the US Treasury Department designated the Tamil Foundation as a terrorist group and announced it had frozen the charity's assets.  

Treasury official Adam Szubin said the Tigers have "relied on so-called charities to raise funds and advance its violent aims".  

The statement said the Tamil Foundation has "mingled" funds with the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation, which the US government says acts as a front to facilitate fund raising and procurement for the Tigers' resistance.   

Foundation owner Nagaratnam A Ranjithan, a Sri Lankan immigrant to the US who has worked as a doctor for 32 years, denied the allegations.

"The Tamil Foundation has nothing to do with the Tigers," he told the Associated Press last month.

He described the foundation as a private charity dedicated to improving the lives of the Tamils, the mainly Hindu minority group of about three million in the nation of 19 million off India's southern tip.

US embassy officials in Phnom Penh could not be reached Monday.

History of ties to Cambodia

In 1996, the Bangkok-based Sri Lankan ambassador, Sarala Fernando, conveyed Colombo's alarm to the Cambodian government about the Tigers running armaments, munitions and explosives out of Phnom Penh, where weapons were so plentiful at that time that AK-47 assault rifles could be purchased at local markets.

In particular, reports surfaced from diplomats and journalists in Colombo that the Tamil Tigers were planning to buy anti-aircraft missiles from Cambodian arms dealers for their war effort against Sri Lanka's government.

There were also concerns that the Tigers had established a front in Phnom Penh. Sri Lankan expatriates living in Phnom Penh said at the time they believed Tiger operatives had set up a safe house in the capital, from where they bought arms with money raised from passport and visa forging, as well as heroin trading, according to news reports at the time.

In 2005, the Cambodian government admitted for the first time that arms had been smuggled out of the country to Tamil Tigers, as well as to guerrillas in the Philippines and Myanmar.

Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2006 vowed to the visiting Sri Lankan prime minister to end a long-running flow of weapons from Cambodia to the Tigers, and pledged to exchange intelligence to ensure that this was achieved.

For decades, the Tamil Tigers have waged a guerrilla war for an independent state in northern and eastern Sri Lanka that has been marked by bombings, assassinations and failed peace talks. But the group has now been cornered in a small patch of jungle following an aggressive military campaign.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Bodies of Cambodian peacekeepers returned to Kingdom

The bodies of four Cambodian peacekeepers killed by a Christian militia in Central African Republic were repatriated to the Kingdom and honoured in an airport ceremony on May 21.

Phnom Penh eats: Ptas Nak Battambang

As the name suggests, Ptsa Nak Battambang – which in English means Battambang's house – is the right place for those who want to try some of the province's typical dishes in Phnom Penh.

Opposition leader Kem Sokha speaks at a CNRP campaign rally today in Kratie province. Facebook

Opposition president Kem Sokha assured voters that all military members would maintain their rank should the CNRP take power in the 2018 national e

Political analyst Kim Sok who is seen being escorted into a police van after his bail was denied in March at the Appeals Court in Phnom Penh, announced that he will go on hunger strike in Prey Say prison from today until the June 4 commune elections.

Imprisoned political analyst and social commentator