Two South Koreans were nabbed by immigration police at Siem Reap International Airport on Sunday when attempting to bring more than $2 million in cash into Cambodia from Hong Kong.
The National Police website on Monday said two Korean men aged 44 and 33 were arrested shortly after their arrival on a Hong Kong Express Airways flight.
“Upon their arrival, immigration police cooperated with the Customs and Excise Bureau at Siem Reap International Airport and arrested the two South Korean nationals."
“The two foreign men were attempting to illegally bring in $2.2 million from Hong Kong. The money was made up of 21,900 $100 bills and 200 $50 bills,” the National Police said.
The suspects were handed over to the Siem Reap Investigation and Procedure Implementation Department, while the $2.2 million is to be kept temporarily at the Customs and Excise Bureau at Siem Reap airport while further procedures are carried out.
“The maximum amount of money that travellers can bring into the country is only $10,000. Anything more than this will be held by authorities while they carry out an investigation,” the National Police said.
Sen Sun Day, the chief of operations at the airport confirmed to The Post on Monday that two South Korean nationals attempting to bring $2.2 million without a clear source into Cambodia had been arrested there.
The suspects were detained and the evidence confiscated after authorities cooperated in a joint operation, Sun Day said. He declined to comment as to what further action would be taken.
“The case is in the hands of immigration police. I cannot say anything more for fear of affecting their investigation,” Sun Day said.
However, Sun Day said it was the largest amount of money he had seen attempted to be brought into Cambodia through Siem Reap airport.
The Post on Monday could not reach Keo Vanthan, the deputy director-general of the General Department of Immigration at the Ministry of Interior, which carried out the operation.
Kem Sarin, the director of the Administration Department at the General Department of Immigration, declined to comment, referring questions to Keo Vanthan.
General Department of Immigration spokesman Uk Hai Seila also declined to comment.
Ministry of Interior central security department director and deputy National Police chief Dy Vichea told The Post on June 5 that money laundering offences had increased in an intertwined and complex manner.
He said this year, the authorities had seized $4 million in cash at Phnom Penh International Airport. During the same period, he said, approximately $10 million of dirty money had been detected flowing through banks.
The ministry also held a meeting to review its progress report for the first half of the year and set goals for the second semester.
Officials from different general departments and units at the ministry as well as working groups led by Ngy Chanpal, secretary of state and chair of the Review Panel Group tasked with cracking down on money laundering and the financing of terrorism participated in the meeting.
This is the third seizure of large amounts of money at the Kingdom’s airports in as many months.
A 48-year-old Chinese welder suspected of attempting to launder money was arrested by Phnom Penh municipal authorities on May 29 after he was found entering Cambodia with $855,000.
The Chinese national was detained at the Phnom Penh International Airport after he was found attempting to smuggle the cash into Cambodia from Hong Kong.
On April 23, officials from the Immigration and General Department of Customs and Excise at Phnom Penh International airport arrested three Chinese nationals for attempting to bring $3.52 million into the Kingdom from Hong Kong without being able to identify its source.