The Malaysian embassy thanked the Cambodian Government, especially Prime Minister Hun Sen, for the tireless work of the Kingdom’s institutions to eradicate the problem of online scams.

Malaysian ambassador Datuk Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim said at a September 22 press conference that the Cambodian prime minister’s direction had led to many Malaysians being rescued by the Kingdom’s authorities and reunited with their families and loved ones.

“I also wish to extend my gratitude to Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn, who has cemented a very strong bilateral friendship between Malaysia and Cambodia,” he added.

He said that while on a recent visit, the Malaysian Foreign Minister had spoken to his Cambodian counterpart about how well the two nations had coordinated rescue operations that had seen many Malaysian citizens rescued within the span of one month.

“My deep appreciation also goes to Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, who has been very supportive in ensuring that many Malaysians were rescued by the authorities,” he added.

Mohd Hashim said the embassy had worked with the Cambodian Government to free 153 Malaysians, 137 of whom had been returned home. He said 16 citizens were still being held at immigration detention centres, but would be allowed to go home in the future.

“These numbers speak volumes about the level of cooperation that exists between us and Cambodia,” he said. “We will continue to work hand in hand with them to ensure the problem will be resolved once and for all.”

Chairing a September 19 meeting to discuss combating human trafficking, Sar Kheng said the government was making strong efforts to end the problem. From August 18 to September 18, the interior ministry received a total of 289 complaints, some from the relatives of purported trafficking victims and some from embassies or international organisations which were relaying requests for help from foreign nationals.

“At first, we were skeptical about some of the claims, but following careful investigations, we have determined that unfortunately, about 95 per cent of the complaints are genuine,” he added.

He said that from August 10 to September 10, authorities had investigated 85 cases and found 176 apparent victims of eight nationalities. Preah Sihanouk province was the location of most of the cases, with the majority of victims working for illegal online gambling businesses.