National Police Chief Hok Lundy took to the airwaves Thursday to announce his upcoming meeting with US law enforcement officials in Washington, DC, calling the invitation from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation a “great honor.”
“We are visiting the United States. This is an honor for me,” Hok Lundy said in a rare 20-minute interview on the television network CTN.
“It is the nation’s pride that the superpower nation has invited our National Police delegation. This is a great honor,” he added.
Hok Lundy and other Cambodian officials this week shunted aside criticism from New York-based Human Rights Watch, which denounced the US decision to invite Hok Lundy to the US and accused the police chief of involvement in human rights abuses and political violence.
US news media reports indicated that opinion within the US government had been divided as to whether to grant Hok Lundy an entry visa as he had previously been denied one.
Hok Lundy made no mention of the controversy in his televised interview.
“The FBI supports the National Police and has also trained our policemen. I understand this visit will be very beneficial,” he said, adding that past cooperation on counterterrorism policing had strengthened bonds between Cambodia and the US.
“The delegation I am leading to the USA is about how to combat terrorism between our country and the USA. Preventing terrorism requires cooperation from each of us. We need information from each other. We cannot do it all alone,” he said.
CTN interviewer Soy Sopheap said he had wanted to use the interview to burnish the image of both Cambodia and Hok Lundy in his viewers’ eyes.
The interview was broadcast by CTN on Thursday rather than in the Sunday slot for interviews so as to air before Hok Lundy’s departure from Cambodia on Friday.
“Personally, I am interested in the image of Cambodia in that Excellency Hok Lundy was given this invitation to the USA. This shows that relations between the two countries have improved,” he said.
However SRP Secretary-General Mu Sochua said Thursday that hosting Hok Lundy could reflect poorly on the US.
“There is no doubt in anyone’s mind who has been working on the issue of human trafficking that the protection of people involved is very high up,” Mu Sochua said. “The National Police have to answer for this,” she added.
“The US was a champion on human trafficking just two years ago. Why is it not a champion today?”