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More arrests in phone-based extortion

More arrests in phone-based extortion

Police yesterday arrested 11 more Chinese and Taiwanese suspects allegedly linked to the phone-based extortion ring busted in Phnom Penh on January 5, though another six suspects managed to evade capture, police said.

Major General Chhay Sinarith, director of the Internal Security Police Department at the Ministry of Interior and co-ordinator of the task force that spearheaded the crackdown, said that the suspects were discovered hiding in a guesthouse after police raided a rental house yesterday morning, only to find it empty, except for telephones, computers and other equipment being used in the scam.

“These Chinese people were part of the group of Chinese mafiosos hiding in Cambodia, and were the members of those Chinese or Taiwanese people who have previously been arrested by Cambodian police,” said Sinarith.

“They were involved with using the [voice over internet protocol, a kind of internet telephone] from Cambodia to threaten and extort money from people in China and Taiwan.”

“We now are continuing to search for the arrests of the other six Chinese people who have escaped from the police’s raid,” he added.

According to Sinarith, the 17 suspects had been tipped off to the coming raid and abandoned their Chamkramon district headquarters for a guesthouse in Daun Penh district.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said that the 77 suspects arrested in last Saturday’s bust would be deported as soon as today.

“The Ministry of Interior has already signed the letter on deportation for these 80 Chinese people to their home countries,” he said.

“They will be deported back to their home countries [Wednesday], or very soon if there is a flight for them.”

According to Ministry of Interior’s figures, more than 500 Chinese and Taiwanese “mafiosos” have been deported since 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]

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