Cambodia’s ambassador to Australia swiftly denied allegations of corruption amid reports the embassy is under investigation for links to an alleged alcohol and tobacco black market that took in roughly $200,000. According to Fairfax Media, the Australian Border Force is investigating the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in the Australian capital of Canberra because of alleged abuses of diplomatic “duty-free” privileges, which were used to make a profit. It is the second corruption scandal to rock Cambodia’s foreign office in the past month, with the Kingdom’s ambassador to South Korea, Suth Dina, arrested and charged with unlawful exploitation and abuse of power in early April after an Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) probe turned up 12.7 kilograms of gold and US$7.2 million cash in his possession. The Australian Border Force would not confirm the investigation, responding to the Post’s requests for clarification only to say that “the ABF does not comment on any investigations”. While diplomats are able to import up to 10,000 cigarettes, 500 litres of beer and 120 litres of spirits every six months for personal use (and embassies can import twice that amount), it is illegal to sell on the highly taxed goods without paying taxes to the Australian government.
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Newsline: Cambodia’s embassy probed for ‘duty-free abuse’ in Australia