Four men, one Cambodian and three Thais, are scheduled to be charged by the Battambang Provincial Court this morning for allegedly trafficking more than $55,000 in counterfeit US dollars from Thailand to Cambodia.
Battambang Deputy Provincial Police Chief Chet Vanny yesterday identified the suspects as Kiet Kisak, 35, of Bangkok; Oung Ath Siwatkorn, 28, of Thailand’s Buriram province; Samchet Korm Phub, 34, of Thailand’s Chonburi province; and Bet Phat, 37, a Cambodian from Battambang.
According to Vanny, the men were arrested while trying to get change for some of the counterfeit banknotes in Doung village, in Battambang province. “The counterfeit banknotes are 100-dollar 2006 series banknotes, [amounting to] $55,300,” he said.
Provincial police officers interrogated the suspects yesterday to determine the source of the fake banknotes.
Vanny said that all the suspects said the counterfeit bank-notes belonged to a Thai businessman from Bangkok called “Chhit”. Vanny also said the suspects confessed to smuggling the counterfeit bills through Battambang’s Doung International Border Checkpoint.
“Those four suspects will face with the charge of transnational trafficking [of] counterfeit dollar banknotes illegally,” said Vanny.
Battambang Provincial Police are seeking the cooperation of Thai authorities in investigating the purported mastermind and his possible affiliates.
“Generally speaking, the US government, including the regional US Secret Service office in Bangkok, and Cambodian law enforcement agencies regularly collaborate and share information to combat and detect counterfeit US currency, ” said deputy spokesman of the US Embassy in Cambodia David Josar.
“We do not have any information to provide about the case you cite,” he said, referring to the suspects in Battambang.
The US Embassy in Thailand, Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior and the Thai Embassy could not be reached for comment as of press time.
President and CEO of Acleda Bank In Channy said that counterfeit dollars did not pose a significant challenge for Cambodia’s banks. “For banks, we have machines to detect fake bank notes and bank staff are trained [to recognise fake bills],” he said.