Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cambodia Takes Measures to Control Communications Technology

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Cambodian government is now taking strict measures to control all technology systems including landline telephones, mobile phones online companies and internet shops to prevent terrorism and other illegal activities in the country.

The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has invited all relevant companies for a meeting on July 24 at the National Police Commissioner’s Headquarters in Phnom Penh to address the issues, according to Sok Phal, Deputy General Commissioner of the National Police.

The Deputy General Commissioner said while technology is developing rapidly and the use of mobile phones and the internet is increasing, it is easier for terrorists to use these media to commit crime. He added that to prevent these abuses, the government will take action to control all posts, telecommunications and internet providers.

The government has also issued a circular dated July 8, 2009 asking all company operators to cooperate in registering their customer’s details (telephone users’ IDs and addresses) with the competent authorities. He said the task was complicated by the fact that many mobile phone users use several numbers and different telephone systems. Furthermore, many had failed to submit the proper documents (ID cards, family books) to the mobile phone companies.

Criminal activities and terrorist acts in Cambodia have been facilitated by mobile phones, according to Sok Phal. He recalled that in July 2001, terrorists used mobile phones to organize the bombings of the Hong Kong Hotel and Man E Hotel in Phnom Pen. On April 11, 2005, terrorist emailed from Cambodia, threatening to bomb an Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. On July 28, 2007, terrorists coordinated their attacks on the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship Stupa located near Botum Vatey Pagoda using mobile phones; and on January 2, 2009, terrorists used mobile phones when planting bombs at the Ministry of National Defense and The Television 3 Station in Phnom Penh.

According to research released by the Ministry of Interior, the average Cambodian reprobate has at least fifty mobile phone numbers, none of them properly registered. The report also listed eight cases in which foreign nationals received calls from Cambodia claiming to be from kidnappers. He added his authority is investigating these cases.

Mam Sothea, Administration Director of Cam GSM (MobiTel), a leading mobile phone company in Cambodia, said that his company was happy to work and cooperate with authorities to combat the crime and terrorists who use this company’s mobile phone numbers.
He said his company already cooperates to the fullest in reporting ‘phone registration details.

Doung Sotara, Pubic Relations Officer for the TMC Company, said that he understood and was in complete agreement with the government’s need to combat crimes in Cambodia and that his company would support the government without question.

“To promote national security, public order and safety for the people in Cambodia, my company will respect the government’s orders and cooperate with all concerned authorities. I am happy to pass on any information relating to crimes, terrorism, human trafficking and other illegal activities that might pass through my company’s systems,” he said.

According to a report by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, there are ten mobile phone firms operating in Cambodia. The main mobile phone companies include Cam GSM (MobiTel), Telekom Malaysia International Cambodia (Hello), Cam Shin (Mfone), Viettel (Metfone) Company, Camnet Company, and Star Cell Company. There are over ten million phone users in Cambodia.

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