Cambodian authorities arrested 102 Chinese nationals on Saturday in Phnom Penh and on Bokor mountain in Kampot province at the request of their Chinese counterparts.
General Uk Heiseila, chief of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Immigration, said the National Police arrested the Chinese nationals in relation to kidnapping and extortion through the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scams.
“We are detaining 102 people, including 23 women. Eleven of them were arrested in Phnom Penh and 91 others in Kampot province. It involves kidnapping cases via VoIP. The arrest in Phnom Penh was for the same reason,” he told The Post on Sunday.
General Heiseila said Chinese nationals who were arrested in Kampot had committed the crimes from inside a luxurious hotel on the Bokor mountain.
In Phnom Penh, municipal police also arrested 11 Chinese, two of them women, at the California International Hotel along Russian Boulevard in Por Sen Chey district’s Kakab commune.
General Heiseila said the arrest was made upon the request of Chinese authorities, and that the 102 suspects were being detained at his immigration department pending deportation under escort by Chinese authorities.
“We don’t know when they would come to take them, but the sooner the better,” he said.
So far, some 2,000 Chinese nationals involved in VoIP scams have been deported to their native country, General Heiseila said.
Since early this year, around 400 Chinese nationals were deported for the same reasons.
In March alone, at least 100 Chinese were arrested in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district for allegedly running a large online phone extortion ring.
General Heiseila said the scammers would flirt with victims online and convince them to give them racy photos, which they then threatened to release to the public or loved ones unless their victims gave them money.
Chinese embassy officials could not be reached for comments on Sunday.
On Friday, departing Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Xiong Bo expressed his strong support for Cambodian authorities’ measures against Chinese nationals who commit crimes in the Kingdom.
During a visit to bid farewell to Interior Minister Sar Kheng, Xiong Bo said Chinese offenders have affected not only Chinese interests in their own country but also mutual relations between the two nations.
Kheng welcomed Bo’s support. He said the Interior Ministry has been working closely with the public security department of China to combat transnational crimes.
Besides human resources training, he said the ministry has also received a lot of equipment from the Chinese security department.