Twenty-six Chinese and Taiwanese nationals allegedly part of an internet phone scam were arrested yesterday by military police at a villa in Kampong Cham’s Tbong Khmum district.
“They are part of a Chinese mafia hiding in Cambodia,” said Colonel Kheng Tito, national military police spokesman, who added that the arrests were made after a two-week long investigation following a tip-off from Chinese police.
According to Tito, the group were placing calls over the internet using voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology – allowing them to conceal the origin of the calls – in order to extort money from people in China and Taiwan.
Amongst the group arrested, there were two Taiwanese men and six Chinese women. In addition to the arrests, military police also seized telephones, computers and other related gadgets used in the scam.
The group will be sent to the provincial court to be charged today, Tito added.
Meanwhile, two other Taiwanese suspects were questioned by prosecutors at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday in a similar but separate phone-extortion case.
The two men were part of a group of 17 charged with threatening and extortion, and arrested in November last year.
“They had used VoIP to threaten and extort money from people in China and Taiwan, said Judge Ly Thav Vireak.
The two men – Zhang Jia Giang, 29, and Yu Kuang Ming, 30 – however, told the court they were duped by a Taiwanese businessman who had placed ads in a Taiwanese newspaper offering lucrative jobs in Cambodia.
Zhang said the businessman – who has since fled the country and is known only as Mr Chung – had promised him a job with his company that would pay $170 a day.
“I was cheated by Mr Chung to come to work here . . . but when I arrived, I was brought by his people to stay at his rental house in Sen Sok District,” he said. “I stayed for a month but never met him or did any work.”
Both Zhang and Yu deny any part in the phone extortion scam.
The hearings will continue next Monday.