One hundred and sixty Chinese nationals were deported yesterday for allegedly operating an online extortion ring in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town, one of several such busts by Cambodian authorities in recent months.
The deportees were among the 215 suspects arrested in early August in one of the biggest online extortion raids in Cambodia to date. Many were later released after it became clear they were chefs or cleaners who were uninvolved in the scheme, according to Khun Sambo, deputy director of General Department of Immigration. Officials said none of the 160 were from Taiwan, which has objected to the deportation of its nationals to the mainland in the past.
According to Uk Hai Sela, Immigration Department head of investigations, the group used the popular Chinese social media app WeChat to get close to government officials, civil servants and other well-known figures in China to get them to send nude photographs, which they would later threaten to release.
“Because of embarrassment, those people just gave the money,” Hai Sela said.