Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Official suspected of visa scam

Official suspected of visa scam

Official suspected of visa scam

Chey Sambo, Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), has been placed

under investigation for allegedly falsifying documents in order to obtain travel

visas to the United States.

Minister at the MoT, Veng Sereyvuth, said he would personally head an investigation

into the matter.

"It's premature to be making any accusation. We'll cooperate [on the investigation]

with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," he said.

Sambo, the son-in-law of co-Minister for the Ministry of Interior, You Hokry, is

being investigated for allegedly falsely claiming that five people were employees

of the MoT and traveling to the US as part of an official delegation.

The five people, whose passports are consecutively numbered, were listed by the Ministry

of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as a employees at the MoT in a letter

to the US Embassy. The letter requested that Sambo and five others be given visas

"to attend a tourism advertising mission in Washington DC, New York, California

and Seattle, to be held on the end of 2001".

"We can confirm that those five individuals are not officials of the Ministry,"

Sereyvuth told the Post.

A faxed and unsigned statement, that apparently emanated from within MoT, claimed

that it was not the first time that Sambo, who is himself a US citizen, had used

his position in this way. The statement alleged that "those who intend to live

in the United States" had paid between $15,000 and $20,000 to Sambo and another

MoT official to get listed on visa request letters.

The five had been given various fake titles as officials at the finance and planning

departments and "assistance" (sic) to Sambo and to the Minister himself.

The result, according to the statement, was that the US embassy had been "coerced"

into granting the visas.

Secretary of State at the MoT, Thong Khon, said that it was not possible to confirm

how many times the alleged visa scam had been pulled.

"We don't how long this has gone on, we don't know if it's the first time or

the second. We'll just have to wait for the investigation," he said.

According to the faxed statement, the US embassy discovered that the members of the

delegation were not officials. However, spokesman Ken Foster said that the embassy

was unaware of the situation.

The investigation comes little more than a week after a high ranking official from

the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) was charged with drugs trafficking.

Colonel Sok Sophak, personal aide to NACD head, Em Sam An, was arrested along with

three others at Phnom Penh's Pacific Hotel in possession of 5,000 amphetamine pills.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42