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Chinese arrested with US$1 million at Cambodian airport

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - Three Chinese nationals were detained on Tuesday at Cambodian airport with almost US$1 million.

Despite the spate of recent arrests at Cambodian airports of
travellers from Hong Kong with large amounts of cash from unknown
sources, they continue to repeat the offence, with three Chinese
nationals detained on Tuesday with almost $1 million.

The Chinese nationals were held at Phnom Penh International Airport
after having landed in Cambodia from Hong Kong with $900,000 in cash.

The men, aged 32, 27 and 26, were travelling from Hong Kong on a
Lanmei Airlines flight to meet another Chinese national who was said to
be waiting in the capital to receive the cash, a Phnom Penh
International Airport Customs Bureau report stated.

Ministry of Interior secretary of state Sok Phal told The Post on
Wednesday that the suspects were found with $900,000 in three suitcases
and were arrested for attempting to bring the cash into the Kingdom
without being able to identify its source.

A Chinese national was detained in late May at Phnom Penh
airport after bringing nearly $1 million in cash into Cambodia from Hong
Kong.

In April, three Chinese men were held after they attempted to smuggle $3.52 million from Hong Kong to launder in the Kingdom.

On Sunday, Siem Reap authorities detained two South Korean nationals
for bringing in $2.2 million through the provincial airport. They had
also travelled from Hong Kong.

Phal told The Post on Wednesday that such large amounts of cash were
mostly brought into Cambodia this way to avoid tax, with the money
intended for investment in the country.

He said those who were arrested were unable to identify the source of
the money. There was no evidence as yet linking these cases to
terrorism, he said.

“Most of those who bring in cash this way want to invest the money,
but they do so by illegal means, not depositing it in banks for legal
enforcement. They try to bring the money in secretly with the aim of
avoiding tax."

“We take great care in these cases because we need to ascertain
whether the money is involved in the financing of terrorism or if it is
to conduct business in Cambodia,” Phal stressed.

Kun Nhem, the director-general of the General Department of Customs and Excise, declined to comment when contacted by The Post.

Neither General Department of Immigration director-general Kirth Chantharith nor spokesman Keo Vanthan could be reached.

A 1998 prakas on the legal procedure for the export-import of foreign
currencies states that there is no limit on the amount of foreign
currencies to be imported into Cambodia by any delegation, traveller,
legal individual or individual known as a “representative”.

“Travellers who import foreign currencies equivalent to $10,000 or
more shall lodge a customs declaration in accordance with the laws and
regulations in force and provide the declaration to customs officers for
verification when these foreign currencies are re-exported,” it states.

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