Another massive crackdown on Taiwanese and Chinese nationals accused of operating a Phnom Penh-based international extortion ring – the third in less than a year – yielded 49 arrests over the weekend, police said yesterday.
Lieutenant General Chhay Sinarith, director of the Internal Security Department at the Ministry of Interior, said the suspects, who were identified to Cambodian authorities by Chinese police, were arrested by his forces in raids on eight different sites in the Chamkarmorn, Tuol Kork and Sen Sok districts of Phnom Penh.
“This was the third time our Cambodian police have cracked down and arrested these Chinese mafia groups in Cambodia,” Chhay Sinarith told the Post. “They were using VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol, a type of internet phone service] from Cambodia to threaten and extort money from many people in China and Taiwan.”
Authorities arrested nearly 200 suspected mafia members using the same methods of extortion last June, and arrested 60 others earlier this year.
According to Chhay Sinarith, a report sent by Chinese police to Cambodian authorities last week stated that the group had been operating here for years.
Using information gleaned from the report, authorities mounted a search that led investigators to the suspects’ homes in Phnom Penh.
“Cambodian ministries involved are now in contact with the Chinese government for extraditions,” said Chhay Sinarith. “We are planning to extradite them to their countries this week.”
General Kirth Chantharith, spokesman for the national police, called on all Cambodians to be on the lookout for similar groups.
“To prevent such mafia groups in Cambodia in future, I would like to appeal to all people to cooperate and report to the police immediately when they see any group of foreign people who have committed questionable activities,” he said.
Officials at the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia could not be reached for comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]