Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police hold 200 Chinese in scam



Police hold 200 Chinese in scam

Officials inspect mobile phones and other equipment used in a Voice over Internet Protocol scam in Banteay Meanchey province.
Officials inspect mobile phones and other equipment used in a Voice over Internet Protocol scam in Banteay Meanchey province. Photo supplied

Police hold 200 Chinese in scam

About 200 Chinese people were arrested yesterday in two Poipet guesthouses in a bust on a scam operation that targeted civil servants in China with blackmail, according to police.

Uk Hai Sela, head of investigations at the Immigration Department, said the group was operating a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) operation to contact civil servants in China.

He explained that in previous cases the scams would be conducted in three phases: First, the perpetrators would research the background of civil servants, including teachers, nurses and court officials, and high-ranking officials.

Then they would use “handsome men” and “beautiful women” to contact the officials via the app WeChat “to make love connections with them” before eventually exchanging nude photos. They would then threaten to publish the photos if the victims didn’t pay.

A network of 200 Chinese nationals conducting VoIP scam were arrested yesterday in Banteay Meanchey.
A network of 200 Chinese nationals conducting VoIP scam were arrested yesterday in Banteay Meanchey. Photo supplied

“They would say . . . ‘If you don’t want to lose your dignity, you have to pay this amount of money. If you don’t give us money, we will spread the pictures in China and around the world, or we will post those pictures to the website where you are working,’” Sela said.

He said the scammers could get between 10,000 Yuan and 100,000 Yuan (about $1,488 to $14,876) from each victim and that they could make between $30,000 to $40,000 each week.

O Lon, an immigration police officer, said a total of 215 suspects, including 32 women, were arrested at two Poipet guesthouses and then brought to Siem Reap, following a tip-off from the Chinese police. He added that those kept in custody were all Chinese, though some did not carry any passports with then, and said they had arrived at the guesthouses five days before, according to the owner.

According to Khun Sambo, deputy chief of the Ministry of Interior’s Immigration Department, some of those detained had been set free later in the day. Among the arrestees released, he said, were six female cooks and male cleaners with Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese nationalities. He maintained no Taiwanese were arrested in the raid.

Chinese nationals are questioned and processed by the immigration police officials after they were arrested yesterday in Banteay Meanchey province.
Chinese nationals are questioned and processed by the immigration police officials after they were arrested yesterday in Banteay Meanchey province. Photo supplied

Earlier this month, police arrested 31 in a similar raid. After initially insisting that no Taiwanese were among the suspects, officials later admitted that there were seven in the group. They were all deported to mainland China last week over the protests of Taiwan, which expressed the next day its “serious concern and deep regret” in a press release.

“As Cambodia supports the ‘One-China’ policy and faces pressure from China, Cambodia does not allow us to investigate, but instead follow China’s demands to forcibly send [the Taiwanese] to [mainland] China,” they wrote.

The Taiwanese Foreign Affairs Ministry did not respond to requests for comment yesterday, and the Chinese embassy could not be reached.

Additional reporting by Cindy Co

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • Show evidence of Chinese military base, critics told

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday said he had had enough of certain countries and opposition groups claiming Cambodia had allowed China to base its military in Cambodia and dared critics to show clear evidence. Hun Sen made the remarks while presiding over a groudbreaking