Sat, Feb 17, 2018 - Page 2 News List

Cambodia arrests Taiwanese, Thais suspected of fraud

Reuters, PHNOM PENH

Authorities in Cambodia yesterday arrested 36 suspects from Cambodia, Taiwan and Thailand on suspicion of running a telecom scam to defraud victims abroad, military police said.

Yesterday’s arrests in Phnom Penh and in the seaside city of Sihanoukville, a Chinese investment hub, reeled in suspects in some of the first scams to target Thailand, national military police commander Sao Sokha said.

“They used Cambodia as a place to extort money from victims abroad, including people in Thailand,” Sao Sokha said.

The group, consisting of six Taiwanese, 26 Thais and four Cambodians accused of online extortion from victims in China and Thailand, would be deported if there was no evidence of crimes committed in Cambodia, he added.

“We don’t allow our country as a shelter for criminals,” he said.

The raids were conducted in tandem with Thai police and a Thai court had issued arrest warrants for some of the detained Thais, Sao Sokha said.

Cambodia, a staunch ally of China, has deported hundreds of Taiwanese and Chinese in recent years in a crackdown on Internet and telecom scams orchestrated from different places in Cambodia, including the capital, Phnom Penh.

China has been battling telecom fraud for years, with the scams causing financial losses running into billions of dollars, authorities in Beijing say.

Taiwan has been upset that in the past Cambodia has extradicted Taiwanese fraud suspects to China, and has accused Phnom Penh of acting at the behest of Beijing.

Seven Taiwanese arrested in Cambodia in July last year were sent to China, while at least 19 more were sent in October, despite repeated protests by the Taiwanese government.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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