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FBI, Cambodia Ink Cooperation Agreement to Fight Transnational Crime

Cambodian police delegation is pictured with John D. Wilson, an FBI field agent in Cambodia, while on a mission in Washington DC, April 2019. (Courtesy photo of Cambodian police delegation)

With the help of the FBI, Cambodian police have arrested US fugitives hiding in Cambodia and collaborated in a crackdown on criminal cases.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has moved to strengthen its operations against transnational crime through a new agreement with the Cambodian Police.

FBI Director Christopher Wray signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to create a task force for cooperation and training with Cambodia’s national police chief Neth Savoeun and director of immigration Kirth Chantharith in Washington last week.

“The FBI is proud to have a longstanding relationship with our law enforcement partners in Cambodia,” said FBI spokeswoman Kelsey Pietranton in an e-mail to VOA Khmer. “This Memorandum of Understanding between the FBI, the Cambodian National Police, and the General Department of Immigration codifies our existing cooperation around a host of issues of mutual assistance—including crimes against children, cybercrime, financial crimes, and the apprehension of fugitives—and further enhances the FBI’s commitment to supporting Cambodia in their effort to defend all human rights.”

Chantharith said: “Through this MOU it will enable us to cooperate in combating transborder crimes to ensure the security of both countries, and protect the interest of the people of the two countries.”

This is the first such agreement the FBI has signed with a foreign country, according to Lieutenant General Pov Salideth, deputy chief of staff for the Cambodian police, who attended the signing ceremony.

“This means that they’ve picked Cambodia as an example for others in law enforcement,” he said.

The FBI Legal Attache Office in Cambodia focuses on coordinating international investigations, international leads for domestic U.S. investigations, and FBI training classes for police in the areas on counterterrorism and cybercrime, forensic techniques, human trafficking, and human rights.

With the help of the FBI, Cambodian police have arrested US fugitives hiding in Cambodia and collaborated in a crackdown on criminal cases.

Cambodia is also a source, transit and destination country for illegal drugs. Many foreigners, including US citizens, are imprisoned in Cambodia in connection with drug taking, trafficking, and distribution.

“So far both the General Commissariat of National Police and General Department of Immigration have cooperated well with US law enforcement institutions, especially their representative at the embassy,” said Chantharith. “We have done a lot of things in collaboration with each other and from this, the US sees that having this MOU would make our cooperation more effective.”