A total of 209 people, including 12 Cambodians, were detained for illegal online gambling on Tuesday in Poipet town’s Poipet commune in Banteay Meanchey province.

The authorities had checked two target places suspected to have illegal online gambling activities. The first location was Neak Tep Guest House 2 and the other an apartment of Paramex Company in Poipet town.

The deputy director of the General Department of Immigration Keo Vanthorn said: “I cannot reveal any details yet because the case is still being investigated.” He said all the detained suspects were found at the second location.

All 12 Cambodians were released after questioning, but the 197 foreigners (including 124 women) from six nationalities were sent to Siem Reap province for further questioning by the immigration authority pending legal action.

Of the 197 detained foreign nationals, there were 183 Thais, three Indian men, two Malaysian women, two Indonesian men, two Taiwanese men, and five Laotians.

Ten computers and some phones were seized as evidence. The building at the second location was sealed temporarily.

Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Ath Khem who led police forces in the crackdown said on Thursday that he had carried out the operation with specialists from the General Department of Immigration, and had handed reports to all immigration specialists.

“Please ask specialists from the General Department of Immigration because we don’t have the report on the case. I don’t know how further procedures will be implemented,” he said.

However, a local media quoted Khem on November 20 as saying that Vanthorn collaborated with the provincial anti-economic crime department and led joint forces for the crackdown.

Also, the operation was conducted under the coordination of provincial court deputy prosecutor Teng Samai.

Poipet town police chief Thin Sindeth said the General Department of Immigration specialists had sent the 197 foreign suspects to the Immigration Office in Siem Reap province for more questioning and investigation.

“Please ask specialists from the General Department of Immigration because they carried out the operation. They are also specialists. I don’t know what action will be taken,” Sindeth said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a circular in August this year to take action against online gambling after he learnt that some foreign criminals had used it as a means to extort money from victims at home and abroad.