US Ambassador Patrick Murphy met with Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Wednesday to discuss bilateral collaboration including on issues of civil society organisations and democracy in Cambodia.
But cybercrime seemed to be the prevailing topic at the meeting.
Murphy posted on Twitter: “Productive meeting with DPM Sar Kheng on U.S.-#Cambodia law enforcement cooperation & over $11M in U.S. aid for efforts to fight #COVID19KH.
“The meeting discussed the importance of a vibrant civil society and the need for all voices to contribute in a democracy.”
The interior ministry’s Facebook page posted that at the meeting Sar Kheng expressed hope that relations between the two countries, especially during Murphy’s tenure, will continue to grow even further.
Sar Kheng told Murphy at the meeting that Cambodia is speeding up its draft laws concerning counter-proliferation financing and anti-money laundering. The two laws are vital for Cambodia, according to Sar Kheng’s Facebook page.
He said Murphy expressed interest in the draft laws on cybercrime and emphasised that the US wants to send more experts to Cambodia to help draft the law.
US Embassy spokeswoman Emily Zeeberg told The Post on Wednesday that cybercrime is a growing threat globally and the US government regularly engages with governments on cybersecurity issues.
She said an expert from the US Department of Justice (DoJ) participated in a workshop with ministry officials in January to discuss Cambodia’s draft cybercrime law.
The DoJ official, she said, shared feedback as well as best practices to help ensure that the law protects online freedoms and local innovation, which will make Cambodia’s digital economy attractive to investors.
“The US Embassy has offered to facilitate future engagement with leading US technology companies to help the government understand how such firms can contribute to Cambodia’s cybersecurity efforts as well as inform authorities on how such laws impact US investment decisions,” she said.
The Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Cybercrime Department director Chea Pov said the draft law is coming along smoothly despite the Covid-19 outbreak. It is about 70 per cent finished and due to be completed this year.
He said the US has always helped Cambodia in drafting the law. And what Murphy mentioned at the meeting is that the US wanted to send experts from its major technology companies to help draft it.
“They have helped us since a long time ago and they just want to add experts. In the past, they helped us with terminology and they explained the definitions so we can take Khmer words to match it,” he said.