About 70 out of a group of more than 200 alleged Chinese scammers were questioned by police in Siem Reap yesterday over an alleged Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) extortion scheme, with 25 later being released, according to an official.
Uk Hai Sela, head of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s Immigration Department, said that questioning had shown that the 25 who were released were “just casino staff and rented a room in the same block”, but the remainder of the group was detained. He said that the rest of the suspects would continue to be questioned today. “But we are not sure if we can complete that, because there are too many,” he said.
He added that some of the suspects had arrived in Cambodia just over a month ago, while others had been in the country for as long as six months. The new arrivals had “just come to learn the technique, how to extort”, he said. Hai Sela said the police had not yet seen the passports of all those who were arrested, and were now trying to obtain those too.
“They all said they had passports, but . . . they said their team leader kept the passports and we are telling him to bring [them],” he said.
All of the suspects would be deported to China, he said, though a date has not been set. “When we get the exact number of how many are suspects . . . [we will let China] decide whether to bring them back in one chartered plane, or buy tickets” through an airline, he said.
Representatives of the Chinese Embassy could not be reached yesterday.