Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bank raids less trouble than dirty money

Bank raids less trouble than dirty money

Bank raids less trouble than dirty money

Since the late 1990s, when armored trucks and other fortified security measures were deployed, old-fashioned, hands-in-the-air heists have caused Cambodian bank operators little worry. It’s the sophisticated swindlers who concern them today.

“Hacking into a bank security system will one day happen in Cambodia, because it has already happened in other countries around the world,” said Terry Mach, Acleda Bank’s information technology manager.

No security system is 100 percent. All have a weakness, he added. The key is to shore up that weakness.

Acleda “has invested large amounts of money to hire foreign hackers to hack into the bank’s security system and find the weak points or holes in the system and take action to minimize the weakness in the system and prevent unexpected problems,” Mach said.

“Professional hackers are very hard to find,” he added.

While the details surrounding white-collar crime in Cambodia have never been easy to pin down, officials at the National Bank of Cambodia recently spoke to a newly prioritized issue.

“We are worried about money laundering. That’s why we established the FIU,” said National Bank Deputy Director General Phan Ho, referring to the nascent Financial Intelligence Unit.

The FIU was born of anti-money laundering legislation passed in 2007 and encouraged by the US as one of several anti-terrorism initiatives it has pushed in Cambodia.

Tal Nay Im, the National Bank’s director general, played down the issue.

“It’s on a small scale, with amounts such as $100,000 or $200,000, no more than $500,000,” she said.

Nonetheless, Nay Im said the FIU, which is comprised of representatives from the National Bank and the ministries of Interior, Finance and Justice, will pursue all suspicious transactions.

“The FIU will control all – banking, microfinance, casinos and land speculation,” she said.

But opposition parliamentarian Son Chhay of the Sam Rainsy Party, speculating on Cambodia’s well-known reputation as a money-laundering haven, estimated that washed currency could amount to around $1 billion to $1.5 billion a year.

He also called the government’s new anti-laundering measures inadequate and suggested a lack of political will keeps them toothless.

“Cambodia has no proper law to attract good investors, so if we do their money laundering at least local officials can profit because those money launderers need local partners to assist them,” Chhay said.


  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s