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

  • Mysterious century-old structure found at bottom of Angkor pond

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a mysterious 1,000-year-old structure of a wooden building at the bottom of a pond after the Angkor Wat temple’s conservation team completed restoring its northern cave. The deputy director at ANA’s Angkor International Research and Documentation

  • Cellcard announces Cambodia’s first use of 5G to help Kingdom during Covid-19

    Cellcard on Friday announced Cambodia’s first use of 5G for a telemedicine service at four locations across Phnom Penh to help the Kingdom’s most critically ill during the Covid-19 outbreak. Cellcard, which is the only 100 per cent Cambodian-owned and "Proudly Khmer" mobile network

  • Former CNRP activist nabbed for offering online English classes

    Authorities detained a high school teacher in Kampong Chhnang province on Thursday after he was caught conducting online classes despite the fact that schools had been ordered to close temporarily to prevent Covid-19 infections. Keo Thai teaches at Boribo High School in Kampong Chhnang and

  • Health ministry warns against using virus-testing machines

    The Ministry of Health has threatened legal action against anyone who publicised their test results after using COVID-19 rapid testing machines. The ministry said such machines were not even approved or recognised for use by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It said test the results

  • National Assembly approves two coal-fired power plants

    The National Assembly (NA) unanimously approved draft laws paving the way for the construction of two coal-fired power plants worth $1.665 billion to supply 100 per cent of electricity required in the Kingdom by 2025. An NA member said at the session that the plants will be located

  • The good and bad of credit growth

    In the last 10 years, the property and construction sectors have propelled Cambodia’s economy. But rising borrowings threaten to dampen its future unless something is done soon They say all good things must come to an end, perhaps not “the” end. A slowdown in real