Police Search for More Leads in Forgery Ring

The Ministry of Interior is searching for more suspects in a widescale forgery ring that for years falsified public and private documents including bank books, passports and royal decrees, a ministry official said Tuesday.

“We are looking for more suspects,” said Chhay Sinarith, the ministry’s information department director, adding that police have appealed to the documents’ purchasers to come forward.

In a two-day round-up last week, police arrested four men—a self-dubbed Oknha, Khim Roth, 32; a Ministry of Public Works official, Um Bunavath, 31; RCAF Colonel Touch Sakhan, 44, and Chuon Yuthea, 47—on charges relating to forging public documents.

Police produced thousands of high-quality document forgeries and said the scope of the fraud may have caused long-term damage to na­tional security. At least 30 foreigners obtained fake Cambodian citizenship and passports from the group, police said.  But au­thorities appear to have few plans to curb the damage.

Khieu Kanharith, government spokesman, said Friday the government could not prevent people from producing fake documents and said he did not believe the forgery ring involved high-ranking officials. Sok Phal, Mini­stry of Interior Central Security Department chief, said Thursday that he did not know what measures the ministry would take.

The investigation has been turned over to Phnom Penh Mu­nicipal Court, Chhay Sinarith said.Investigating Judge Ya Sak­hon declined to comment on the case Tuesday.

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