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36 internet ‘scammers’ caught

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Confiscated goods allegedly used in a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam. Photo supplied

36 internet ‘scammers’ caught

Thirty-six people will be brought to court and charged today in relation to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam after phones, computers and $20,000 in cash were seized in a joint Military Police operation.

The suspects – 26 Thai nationals, six Taiwanese and four Cambodians – were arrested in raids in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville on Friday, with assistance from eight Thai police officers.

Cambodia’s Military Police Chief Sao Sokha said his force was yet to apprehend a Taiwanese couple, who are suspected of masterminding the VoIP scheme, as they had likely already fled to Taipei. Sokha said the alleged fraudsters used a range of scams, from posing as police to claiming to have compromising information in order to blackmail unwitting victims.

"They used so many scenarios to make victims believe [them] so [they get] scared and give money," Sokha said. "Most of the victims are abroad . . . [the suspects] just hide here to operate the scam. We don’t let our land be used by any foreigners to create crimes to harm other countries."

He said the alleged scammers would likely be deported, citing Cambodia and Thailand’s extradition treaty. It remained unclear yesterday if or where the Taiwanese suspects would be deported. In the past, Cambodia has sent Taiwanese suspects to mainland China out of deference to the One China policy, angering the independent Taiwanese government. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was unable to comment as of press time yesterday, while Thailand’s Foreign Ministry spokesman could not be reached.

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