The 15 Taiwanese nationals arrested in Kampong Speu province on August 8 for immigration-related offences and their alleged involvement in a phone-based extortion ring will be extradited to mainland China this week, police said yesterday.
Lieutenant General Chhay Sinarith, director of Internal Security Police Department at the Ministry of Interior, said that according to the Chinese Embassy, members of the Chinese police will arrive in Phnom Penh today to collect the suspects.
“The Minister of Interior has already signed a letter expelling these people from Cambodia to their country,” said Sinarith. “We now are waiting for Chinese representatives from China to get them and bring them to China.”
“The reason we are sending them to China is because Cambodia has strictly respected the ‘One-China’ policy, so Chinese authorities will decide on their cases,” he added, referring to mainland China’s long-standing assertion – much contested by Taiwan – that the island is simply a rogue province, and not to be engaged by foreign governments as a sovereign state.
According to Sinarith, the suspects had been using Voice over Internet Protocol – or VoIP, a type of internet phone – to issue threats to victims in Taiwan and mainland China in order to extort money from them.
The group was also allegedly connected to the group of 49 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals busted in Phnom Penh in May for their involvement in the same sort of extortion operation.
Nhorn Thol, deputy commander of the Kampong Speu Provincial Military Police, said the 11 men and four women had been in Kampong Speu for more than a month before they were arrested by police there.
“When we raided the guesthouse, they tried to remove SIM cards from telephones and destroy them,” he said, adding that authorities seized a total of 48 VoIP telephones in the operation.
“They also cut wires into pieces and threw them from their rooms.”
Officials at the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia could not be reached for comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]