Investigate Cambodian elite illicit activities in Australia

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We call on Australian authorities to investigate and take actions to curb flows of illicit monies from Cambodia to Australia, and help restore respect for human rights and rule of law in Cambodia as well.

Former adviser to the Cambodian government Kalyan Ky, who turns whistle-blower, tells Aljazeera TV 101 East programme that senior members of the government and their families have made Melbourne a hot bed of illicit activities.[1] Cambodian elite have for years transferred unabated dirty monies into the country.

The 101 East investigation uncovers how Director General of Taxation Vibol Kong plays Australian legal systems with such contempt. His business activities in Australia, though he denies them, are found to breach the Australian Corporations Act. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission identifies that the VKK Investments Unit Trust he and his investment partners established in 2010 to manage a $22 million land investment is illegal; it is not registered and trustee Gem Management Group Pty Ltd does not hold an Australian financial services licence as required by relevant laws. The Federal Court orders on 20 April 2018 a wind up of both the VKK scheme and the trustee company for illegal land banking activities.

We call on the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) to investigate how Vibol Kong affords a multi-million-dollar deal when his official income is less than $1,000 per month. He says in a signed affidavit that he transfers almost $1,000,000 into the unit trust between 2007 and March 2010, and another sum of $1,200,000 in April 2010. AUSTRAC has already established that one of his partners in the VKK scheme, Ngoun Lim, frequents a casino to launder cash of up to $20 million from Cambodia. He is convicted in court for money laundering and tax fraud in 2007.

We call on the Australian Taxation Office to investigate Vibol Kong’s tax affairs to ensure that as a tax resident of Australia, he complies with his tax obligations so that other tax payers are not put at disadvantage. It needs to account for all incomes, including his legitimate salaries, that have come his way since 1993 when he began working in Cambodia.

Australia will benefit from holding Cambodian elite, like Vibol Kong, accountable for their illegal activities in the country. It preserves the integrity of the legal system by disrupting black market operations within its own authority.

Australia can benefit further if it chooses to exercise at least its moral obligation as one of the signatories to the Cambodia’s 1991 Paris Peace Accord by helping to curb destruction of democracy in Cambodia. Whistle-blower Kalyan Ky says these elite’s dirty monies link to corruption, drug trafficking, and human rights abuses. The curb can be effected by imposing visa restrictions on certain elite who collude to violate the Accord and freezes on their ill-gotten assets that find their illegal ways into Australia. Cambodians who are victims of the dirty monies would appreciate Australia for the sanctions.

[1] Aljazeera 101 East, Cambodia’s Election Crackdown, 12 July 2018,