The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has filed a formal request with Cambodian authorities for evidence that could link US accountant Chhun Yasith to terrorist activities here, officials said Monday.
Hok Lundy, director-general of the National Police, said the FBI wants documents and weapons that could tie Chhun Yasith to the abortive rebellion on Nov 24.
“We are very glad to get this news, and we are very satisfied to cooperate with the FBI,” Hok Lundy said.
The evidence is essentially that which has been used in the two criminal trials of alleged members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters, the police chief said.
Chhun Yasith, a Cambodian-American who lives in Long Beach in the US state of California, is the admitted founder of the CFF. He has said repeatedly he intends to overthrow the Cambodian government by the end of this year. He has also said the CFF is not a terrorist organization, but a legal, pro-democracy lobbying group opposed to terrorism.
The US Embassy confirmed Monday it has been working with Cambodia to “facilitate” the probe for some time.
“This is a serious investigation,” one official said. “There are indications that some US citizens may have been involved in illegal activities. If that is so, they will be prosecuted.”
Embassy staffers are working with the government to figure out a safe way to transport the evidence, some of which could explode, the official said.
The evidence includes ammunition and grenades, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng said.
“It must be checked to guarantee it is not dangerous,” he said.
According to Sar Kheng, the FBI asked for evidence about six months ago, but the request was oral, not in writing.
“Now it is written. So now we know where the Americans stand, against terrorism,” Sar Kheng said.
Hok Lundy said Cambodian authorities believe there is enough evidence to convict Chhun Yasith. “I am optimistic that the US and the FBI will arrest him and try him for what he has done,” Hok Lundy said.
The government has nearly completed its investigation of the CFF network, and a number of leaders have been arrested, Hok Lundy said.
“Only some leaders,” he said, “are living free in the US.”