Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Well financed crooks pose enormous challenge to underfunded cops

Well financed crooks pose enormous challenge to underfunded cops

Well financed crooks pose enormous challenge to underfunded cops

UNDERFINANCED and overworked, police are hard-pressed to combat a growing number

of international crime syndicates taking advantage of the country's lawlessness and

laxity, a top police official said.

"We have a lot of criminals wanted by Interpol here-for trafficking of weapons,

humans, drugs. But our budget is very limited, we have nothing," Police General

Skadavy M. Ly Roun said in an interview at his decrepit, peeling office in Phnom

Penh.

His latest case- a swoop on a Phnom Penh villa-is typical of what Cambodia's Interpol,

an agency funded by the Interior Ministry and separate from regular police, is up

against, he said.

On Christmas day, police raided the villa expecting to find a handful of Chinese,

who had been under surveillance for three days for suspected involvement in a Chinese

criminal syndicate.

Instead, they discovered more than 80 Chinese crowded into the villa. They also found

fake Chinese and Cambodian immigration stamps, 26 fake Chinese passports, a phone

book listing suspected criminal contacts in Europe, South America, the United States

and Africa, and a small stash of amphetamines.

The group included the suspected chiefs of alleged Chinese crime syndicates in Cambodia,

Hong Kong and China. It is also believed to have links with a Hong Kong-Cambodian

tourism and investment firm being investigated by authorities from China, Hong Kong

and the Netherlands for suspected human trafficking activities, Interpol officials

said.

The sudden complexity of the case soon became a problem.

"We didn't have enough cars to transport them," said General Skadavy. "And

no one in the government wanted to get involved with it, having to provide them food,"

he said.

He ended up bringing them to the old building that houses the Cambodian Interpol

and began making inquiries - which wasn't easy either.

Authorities in Hong Kong and China wanted details about the case but Cambodia's Interpol

has one fax machine which was donated and because of a lack of funds, sending outgoing

massages was impossible.

Skadavy had to borrow the Chinese Embassy's phone to call Beijing because the call

was expensive.

Skadavy, whose work also includes overseeing the Interior Ministry's anti-drug work,

is paid about $30 per month in salary, plus less then $2 a day for travel allowances.

The 63 other staff at the Cambodian Interpol make even less, and the dilapidated

complex offices have only folding chairs for furnishings, with no phones in sight.

Corruption is also a problem for Interpol, as well as an enticement to criminals.

With most police averaging a salary of about $20 per month, the chances of officials

accepting bribes run high, officials say.

That presents a dangerous situation given Cambodia's growing reputation as a haven

for international criminals, noted Skadavy.

"This is big money, big finance, and big organization we are facing now... we

need to join an international operation because our capability is very limited,"

He appealed to other nations to help Cambodia combat the problem.

"I hope 1997 will be a good year to cooperate with other countries..."

he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • SOPs steer ‘new normal’ tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism has introduced a set of minimum standard operating procedures (SOP) for four major classes of tourism businesses, which is geared towards the “new normal” of the industry. These SOPs are tailored to support businesses in their daily activities and enable them

  • Sleepless in sin city – Will half-sized, outlawed online gambling sector persist below the surface in Cambodia?

    Chinese authorities are coming down hard on online gambling. Similar events are starting to happen in Cambodia, raising questions as to how all of this will end It is 1:30pm, Sotheary (not her real name) is sitting on the wooden floor of her house, facing

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision