National Police Commissioner General Hok Lundy’s US visit this week follows the recent opening of an office by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in Phnom Penh and an awards ceremony last month from the FBI’s deputy director, an FBI official confirmed Friday.
Hok Lundy’s trip to Washington was harshly rebuked last week by Human Rights Watch, which implicated the general in serious crimes, including involvement in the orchestration of a 1997 grenade attack that killed 16 Cambodians, injured more than 100 others, including a US citizen.
Hok Lundy told VOA this week he will meet with officials from the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department and the State Department. A member of his entourage told VOA Khmer that meetings with those departments were scheduled in the Washington area on Monday and Tuesday.
FBI Deputy Director John Pistole visited Phnom Penh in March and awarded Hok Lundy a medal for his participation in the arrests of members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters, FBI spokesman Stephen Kodak told VOA Khmer on Friday in an e-mail.
Members of the mostly US-funded Cambodian Freedom Fighters were involved in clashes with government forces in Phnom Penh in November 2000. US citizen Richard Kiri Kim was arrested and charged for his involvement with the group following the attack, and Chhun Yasith, a Californian accountant who claimed he helped finance the organization, was arrested in the US in June 2005 on federal charges related to the violence.
The FBI has “currently ongoing” collaboration with Cambodian authorities and the CFF arrests, Kodak said.
Pistole’s trip preceded the opening of an FBI office in Phnom Penh, one the US Embassy said would have “regional responsibilities,” adding to the Bureau’s offices in Bangkok and Jakarta as well as nine other cities in the Asia Pacific.
The legal attaché office opened March 26, the 60th such office the FBI has overseas, Kodak said. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, the Bureau had 44 offices.
The new FBI office, housed in the US Embassy, comes as Cambodia-US relations are strengthening and as the US continues to root out terrorists in the region.
Cambodian authorities arrested three suspected members of Jemaah Islamiyah, an FBI-designated terrorist organization, in 2003, and the leader of the Islamic fundamentalist group, Hambali, was arrested that same year in Thailand.