South Korea has said it will assist Cambodia on a project to establish a crime research and forensic centre at a cost of nearly $50 million, provided the government submits a formal request.
The Cambodian Ambassador to South Korea, Long Dimanche, said yesterday in meeting with South Korean officials, that the project will focus on training for human resources to combat crimes in Cambodia, including drugs, cyber-terrorism and money laundering.
Dimanche added that South Korea will provide technical assistance and financing for the construction of the building.
He said the construction work will be financed by a loan from the South Korean government of about $50 million.
He said the forensic centre will be equipped with modern facilities. However, before starting the construction process, there must be a formal request from the Cambodia government.
“In light of the cooperation between South Korea and other countries in the Mekong region, Cambodia mentioned the fight against all kinds of crime in the region at the 2019 Mekong-Korea Summit in Busan, but the Kingdom has not yet sent a formal request for help from South Korea,” he said.
Dimanche said that this month will visit the Korea Autopsy Centre with his colleagues to study the project in detail and submit a report to the Cambodian government.
National Police spokesman Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun said that at present, the Cambodian authorities have the capacity to investigate crimes but lack the modern equipment to do so.
“Our capacity is excellent, just we have no equipment and no laboratory. We do have equipment, but we don’t have enough and it isn’t as modern as other countries,” he said.
Executive Director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability San Chey supports the establishment of centres that operate with democracies such as South Korea, as the country implements transparent crackdowns on major crimes.
Chey said that current forensic skills in Cambodia are limited and incomplete, which makes it harder to determine the truth, especially for crimes occurring in rural areas.
“I see some cases, especially homicides, where there seems to be little revealed from the autopsy and big gaps in the facts,” said Chey.
Am Sam Ath, deputy monitoring director of Licadho, said that this is part of the reform of the judiciary, as there are currently no judges or prosecutors conducting forensic examinations on criminal cases.