Cambodia on Monday requested assistance from experts in South Korea to provide training to police forces on how to “crack down” on criminals, an official said yesterday.
Major General Reaksa Rous, assistant to the president of the Police Academy of Cambodia (PAC), said a letter of intent was signed between the PAC and the Korean National Police University on Monday to establish cooperation between both police training institutions.
Rous said the training that Cambodia has requested includes tactical training on how to physically detain offenders, such as physical command techniques and arrest tactics. The Kingdom also asked for martial arts training for the academy’s main trainer, and scholarships for Cambodian police cadets of the PAC to obtain bachelor’s degrees.
“We need this in order for police to be equipped with the capacity to protect security,” he said. “South Korea is open and willing to assist.”
Rous maintained that the request for training had nothing to do with the upcoming national election and potential protests. Details of the trainings haven’t yet been finalised.
In a separate security cooperation agreement, Australia – which recently sparked controversy with a Champagne toast at a meeting to establish “Senior Officials’ Talks” – is poised to offer a defence programme to provide counterterrorism training to officers in Cambodia.
In March, Cambodia “temporarily” suspended a counterterrorism drill with Australia, citing the country’s elections. The move followed a decision by the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in January to postpone drills with the US military for two years.
“Any resumption of counterterrorism exercises, including when that might occur, remains subject to discussion between Australia and Cambodia,” a spokesperson with Australia’s Department of Defence said.
Chum Socheat, spokesman for Cambodia’s Ministry of Defence, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Carl Thayer, regional analyst, said a resumption of counterterrorism exercises between Cambodia and Australia would spark outrage, given Cambodia’s political situation.
“As Hun Sen continues his repression on the opposition, there will be a domestic outcry in Australia about continuing with the military relationship at the same time,” he said.
“But for the moment, both the [Australian] government and the opposition have been unusually quiet.”