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Taiwanese suspects linked to phone extortionists

Taiwanese suspects linked to phone extortionists

Fifteen Taiwanese nationals arrested in Kampong Speu province on Wednesday were connected to a ring of 49 foreign extortionists who were busted and extradited in May, police alleged yesterday.

Lieutenant General Chhay Sinarith, director of the Ministry of Interior’s Internal Security Police Department, said the suspects were using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), a type of web-based phone service, to extort money by threatening victims in mainland China and Taiwan.

“Our police forces now are still working and investigating their cases. We now are also contacting relevant Chinese police for co-operation with this case,” Sinarith said, adding that police had seized nearly 50 VoIP telephones.

“So far, we have no real date for their extradition to China yet,” he said.

The suspects will be extradited to mainland China, rather than Taiwan, Sinarith said.

Sok Vichea, deputy director of the Immigration Police Department at the Ministry of Interior, confirmed the suspects were still being detained, but declined to comment further.

Nhorn Thol, deputy commander of the Kampong Speu Provincial Military Police, said the group, which included 11 men and four women aged 25 to 44, had come to Kampong Speu more than a month ago.

Thol said the group was initially raided at their guesthouse in Chbar Morn town on suspicion of drug trafficking, a theory that was soon dispelled.

“When we raided the guesthouse, they tried to remove SIM cards from their telephones and destroy them,” he said.

“They also cut wires into pieces and threw them from their rooms.”

Cambodian authorities have arrested at least 124 Taiwanese and Chinese VoIP extortion suspects in the last year.

Representatives of the Chinese embassy in Phnom Penh and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Taiwan’s de facto consulate, in Thailand and Vietnam, could not be reached for comment.

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

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