National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy has not been permanently barred from America, despite human trafficking allegations against him that reportedly led to him being denied a US visa last year, US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli said Friday.
Ambassador John Miller, head of the US State Department’s anti-human trafficking office, said on Feb 9 that Hok Lundy was denied a visa after the US government felt there were sufficient reports and allegations concerning his role in human trafficking to justify the decision.
“He is not barred forever from America. If there is a reason for him to return he will apply for the visa and we will seek a waiver,” Mussomeli said outside a ceremony for Cambodian police graduating from an US-sponsored counter-narcotics course.
“A lot of it will depend on why he is going…and whatever other issues are involved, but it’s certainly within the realm of the reasonable and probable that at some point that will happen,” he said.
“What will be required is a careful assessment of the allegations and whatever evidence there might be and then we’ll see,” he added.
Hok Lundy attended Friday’s ceremony, and said in a speech that the course had demonstrated cooperation between US and Cambodian officials. “Law enforcement and the increased capacity-building of police officials are actions the government has been taking,” he said. “Cambodia needs support from partners, both technical assistance and equipment.”
At the end, Hok Lundy presented ceremonial plates to special agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, who taught the five-day course.
Hok Lundy declined to speak to a reporter.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Wednesday that the US anti-human trafficking office should offer to help Cambodian authorities investigate the allegations, adding that the ministries of justice and women’s affairs should cooperate.
“No one is above the law. We should implement the law, no more, no less, than for any other individual,” he said.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said a probe was unnecessary, as the allegations are baseless, adding that the ministry is in the process of fighting human trafficking.
“[With] some allegations, there’s no need to investigate. They’re groundless allegations,” he said.