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Tamil group not a threat in Cambodia

Tamil group not a threat in Cambodia

LOCAL and American officials in Phnom Penh have downplayed the threat posed to Cambodia of a nonprofit group with ties to Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tigers that has offices around the globe. 

Spokesman John Johnson said the US government had sent a generic message to all its embassies indicating that the US Treasury had designated the Tamil Foundation, a charity based in the US, as a terrorist group and frozen its assets.

He downplayed the threat of the group operating in Cambodia.

"We got a note from the Treasury, and it's something we are required to distribute to the local government," he said. "It's just a heads-up. It's not something serious here."

Foreign Ministry Secretary of State Long Visalo had forwarded the US embassy notice, delivered on February 18, to the Ministry of Interior as a matter of protocol, said Koy Kuong, who is also a secretary of state at the ministry.

"This is just an exchange of information. We do not have a Tamil Foundation in Cambodia," he said.  "The US learned that the Tamil Foundation had established offices in other countries so they are seeking international cooperation, but we have not heard of this group operating in Cambodia."

Long Visalo could not be reached for comment Tuesday.   

Kieth Chantharith, spokesman for the National Police, told the Post: "We are still investigating the matter, but this issue is not a major concern. We regularly monitor groups operating in Cambodia to make sure they aren't involved in terrorism."

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