Phnom Penh (Cambodia), 15 May 2013 - A strategic concern for UNODC Southeast Asia and the Pacific, money laundering and terrorism financing has become a growing challenge worldwide and Southeast Asia is no exception. The region's cash-based economies, high tourism levels, convenient location, and the many financial services available could make the region appealing to money launderers and terrorist financiers alike.
In response to this threat, UNODC created a Counter Terrorism Sub-Programme "Partnership on Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism". In Cambodia, the UNODC Counter Terrorism Sub-Programme works with the Cambodia's Ministry of Interior to strengthen the Kingdom's Counter Terrorism capacity. In July 2012, UNODC reached an agreement with the Cambodia Counter Terrorism Police for UNODC to support three two-week training workshops to expand investigators' expertise and train local police trainers in counter financing of terrorism (CFT).
Co-funded by the European Union and the United States, the training has three phases. In all, 60 senior police officer participated in the workshops.
In mid-September 2012 the first phase sessions in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap taught basic international counter financing of terrorism investigative techniques including developing financial intelligence from open sources, conducting searches and seizing financial documents, and currency smuggling to finance terrorism.
UNODC Counter Terrorism Sub-Programme partnered with the US Embassy Bangkok's Transnational Crime Programme to deliver the second phase of the training at workshops in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Topics included advanced investigation techniques, including the role of Cambodia's FIU, developing financial intelligence from open sources, and Internet investigation techniques.
A third phase, "Train the Trainer", will be held in June.
The response to the training from Cambodian participants, law enforcement and Government representatives was positive.
H.E. Mr. Lapresse, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Interior, Cambodia, who opened the Phnom Penh program, expressed appreciation for UNODC's support in helping Cambodia combat terrorist related crimes.
"Terrorism is a serious crime. Successfully fighting it is important to the future safety of all Cambodian citizens," Mr. Lapresse told workshop attendees. "Work diligently to increase your knowledge to pursue terrorism and seize funds used to facilitate terrorist activities."
Also in Phnom Pehn, Brigade General Y. Sokkhy of Cambodia's Counter Terrorism Police, acknowledged the value of the training sessions: "This training will helps us better prepare our officers to undertake effective counter financing terrorism investigations."