The National Police on Wednesday released a video online that shows the arrests earlier this month of two Anonymous Cambodia members who are accused of infiltrating government websites and stealing sensitive data.
The video first shows the arrest of Bun Khing Mongkul Panha, 21, who goes by the online names Sex Machine and Black Cyber. It shows police knocking on his door and officers searching his room, uncovering CDs, a Guy Fawkes mask, and opposition CNRP paraphernalia. It then cuts to a scene of police arresting the second alleged hacker, Chou Songheng, 21, who goes by Zoro.
The two men were arrested April 7 following an eight-month operation by the National Police and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.), but were held secretly for over two weeks until their arrest was announced on Tuesday.
They stand accused of hacking 30 government websites and some private sector sites.
Since Cambodia currently has no cybercrime law, the two were arrested under offenses in the Cambodian Criminal Code that relate to information technology: unauthorized access to an automated data processing system; obstructing the functioning of an automated data processing system; and the fraudulent introduction, deletion or modification of data.
Mr. Panha has confessed to the crimes, while Mr. Songheng said he was only Mr. Panha’s student, according to a National Police statement released Tuesday.
Dim Chaoseng, the lawyer for Mr. Panha and Mr. Songheng, said Wednesday that his clients have already been charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, but that he did not know what the specific charges were or when they had been laid.
“My clients have been accused of two counts, and the court is still questioning them,” he said, adding that he had not yet received a copy of the case file from the court.
Lieutenant General Chhay Sinarith, director of the Ministry of Interior’s internal security department, which is leading the investigation, declined to comment Wednesday. He said Tuesday that the investigation was “ongoing.”
The FBI’s role in the investigation is unclear, but U.S. Embassy cables leaked by anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks show there is a strong relationship between Lt. Gen. Sinarith’s internal security department and the U.S. government.
The cables show that 17 members of the internal security department, including Lt. Gen. Sinarith himself, were nominated to attend a number of U.S. training events in 2009 and 2010.
These included an International Law Enforcement Academy class on “basic intelligence collection and analysis,” and a computer crime investigation course given by the F.B.I.
A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy has declined to comment on the case.
sinary@cambodiadaily.com, wilwohl@cambodiadaily.com
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