Dy Vichea, the National Police deputy chief and Ministry of Interior’s central security department director, told The Post on Wednesday that money laundering offences had increased in an intertwined and complex manner.
“The offence of laundering money is nothing new. But because the nation has developed and technologies have advanced, we are training our officials so they do not fall behind the advancements. Our officials are not unskilled, but rather, there has been a surge in such offences.
“We need to focus our attention and want them to show interest because everyday offences are cracked down on but we don’t always know which offences involve money laundering,” Vichea said.
He said this year, the authorities seized $4 million in cash at the Phnom Penh International Airport. During the same period, he said, approximately $10 million of dirty money had been detected flowing through banks.
Vichea said that this month, the National Police chief had organised more training courses for specialist officials.
At the courses, presentations were given detailing general signs of illegal behaviour and money laundering investigation techniques.
Vichea highlighted the transfer of property for the purpose of concealing the illicit origin of funds and helping money launderers evade justice.
He said money laundering and the financing of terrorism are complex offences, so an investigation has to be launched, but they are often intricately intertwined with many other offences, and this leads to confusion.
“Money laundering in the modern-day tends to be linked with other offences such as cybercrime and online scams, the receiving of stolen goods and drugs crime. Criminals employ many means to do whatever it takes to convert the money into legal tender by dishonest means, especially by converting dirty money through banks,” Vichea said.
He said specialist officials were gathering statistics from people who had been cheated and collaborating with banks and money transfer companies.
According to Article 23 of the Law on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism, money laundering carries a prison sentence of six days to one year, and a fine ranging from 100,000 to five million riel ($25-$1,250).
Transparency International Cambodia executive director Preap Kol told The Post on Wednesday that in general money laundering was different from other offences that demand in-depth knowledge and skills.
“I find that indeed Cambodian authorities should seek specialists to train relevant officials and the authorities who are present at crackdowns because the officials’ understanding is still very limited,” he said.
The Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental organisation founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering, placed Cambodia on its grey list again early this year to control the flow of finance, investment and trade into and out of the Kingdom, saying the country is an easy place to carry out such crimes.