Immigration Police who burst into a Phnom Penh apartment building on Saturday morning expecting to find a Chinese VoIP scam based on reports from a local radio station didn’t find any evidence of an extortion ring. They did, however, discover 29 Chinese nationals living in Cambodia illegally who will now be deported, officials said yesterday.
Uk Hai Sela, director of the General Department of Immigration, said police became concerned after hearing an interview on ABC Radio with a caller who claimed that a female friend had been beaten and extorted for money by a group of Chinese nationals.
Hai Sela said that when police showed up to investigate, they found no evidence of a VoIP scheme – online extortion rings run by Chinese nationals and routinely busted in the Kingdom – but did discover a group of 50 Chinese nationals who were living or working in Cambodia illegally.
According to Hai Sela, 21 of the Chinese nationals had valid e-visas but did not have work permits and will be made to pay fines. Many had been in Cambodia for a year, he said.
Twenty-nine others were unable to produce passports and will be deported.
He said police also found the woman who had allegedly been beaten and extorted, but discovered she was in a romantic relationship with one of the Chinese nationals and had asked a friend to call the radio station to report him because they had quarrelled the day before.
Hai Sela criticised both the caller and ABC Radio for alarming the police and the public.
“The presenters at the radio station, when they got the information, they said it in a panic-inducing way that made us worried about the victim,” Hai Sela said. “It wastes the time of those coming to do business in Cambodia and the police’s time.”