Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government denies reports China deportees were Taiwanese



Government denies reports China deportees were Taiwanese

Suspects in a VoIP scam wait to be deported at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Saturday.
Suspects in a VoIP scam wait to be deported at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Saturday. Photo supplied

Government denies reports China deportees were Taiwanese

In the latest crackdown on internet scam operations in Cambodia, 61 people were deported to mainland China on Saturday amid protest from Taiwan, which claimed 19 were Taiwanese nationals who should have instead faced justice at home.

The deportees were arrested earlier this month during raids in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk after investigations revealed that they were using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to extort money, according to Uk Hai Sela, head of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Immigration.

Thirty-nine of the suspects held Chinese passports, while the others were undocumented, Hai Sela said. He denied that any of those deported were Taiwanese and claimed media reports to the contrary had been erroneous.

According to the Taipei Times, however, 19 of the suspects were identified as nationals of the self-governing island, and the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had requested that it be allowed to collaborate in the operation and extradite the group to Taiwan.

“However, due to its conformity to the ‘one China’ principle and pressure from Beijing, Phnom Penh not only denied us a visit with the suspects, but also complied with China’s demand to deport the suspects there,” the ministry is quoted as saying in an article published yesterday.

Officials at Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy did not respond to requests for comment.

The Cambodian government adheres to Bejing’s “One China’’ policy, which holds Taiwan to be a breakaway province of the mainland, and has repeatedly ignored Taiwan’s requests for nationals to be returned to the island for trial, leaving alleged offenders from Taiwan regularly facing Beijing’s justice system instead.

Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson blasted the Cambodian government’s decision, calling it “a serious abuse of these persons’ human rights, especially since it is highly unlikely they will receive a fair trial”.

“The government refuses to send them back to Taipei because this is part of the quid pro quo for Phnom Penh to receive continuing generous support from Beijing,” he said in an email. “

Taiwan should make a public protest, but really the only thing that will get the Cambodian government’s attention is if Taiwanese investors vote with their feet, deciding to withdraw and take their investments and business somewhere else.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there