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Cambodia's Foreign Minister Lashes Out at Finland

Cambodia has threatened to stop cooperating with Finland to fight organized crime, following Helsinki's decision to grant a visa to a fugitive former Cambodian police chief convicted of murder.

Cambodia's foreign Minister Hor Namhong wrote a letter to his Finnish counterpart today (Thursday) saying Finland has offered shelter to a criminal with fabricated claims of persecution.

A Cambodian court convicted former police chief Heng Peo in absentia to 18 years in prison for allegedly masterminding the murder of a judge in 2003.

Heng Peo is in Malaysia and he has been seeking asylum in Western countries. He says he is a government scapegoat and could be tortured or killed if he returns to Cambodia.

Cambodia's foreign minister threatened to send a wave of criminals to Finland if the country goes ahead with its plan to shelter the fugitive.

Finland's ambassador to Malaysia (Lauri Korpinen) said Heng Peo's visa was approved because his lawyer and several non-governmental organizations had expressed concern that he could face human rights violations if deported home.