105 Chinese Arrested at Senator’s Poipet Casino

More than 100 Chinese nationals believed to be wanted for crimes in their home country were arrested on Wednesday at a CPP senator’s casino in Poipet City, which had to be shut down during the operation, police said.

Sem Makara, deputy immigration police chief at the Poipet International Checkpoint, said Chinese and Cambodian police raided the Golden Crown Casino —owned by senator and tycoon Kok An—and arrested 105 Chinese people, all of whom were staying at the casino’s hotel.

Mr. Makara declined to elaborate on what crimes the Chinese were suspected of having committed, saying only, “We need to check their backgrounds one by one.”

The raid was led by Sieng Sen, director of the Interior Ministry’s internal security department, who said the operation followed a joint investigation between Chinese and Cambodian police into the 105 suspects, but was also circumspect about their alleged crimes.

Lieutenant General Sen said the casino had to be shut down entirely during the raid because there were so many Chinese gamblers there that police had trouble determining which people they were looking for.

He said that all of the Chinese guests had initially been rounded up and brought to a large hall in the casino, where police identified those suspected of having open arrest warrants in China. The 105 Chinese suspects were transferred from the casino to the Poipet City police station on Wednesday evening, he added.

Police are now double-checking the names of those arrested in Poipet against the Chinese arrest warrants and have already determined that 38 of them are wanted in China, Lt. Gen. Sen said.

“We will continue processing the cases tomorrow of those who are involved with committing crimes in their own country, as we are checking them against the Chinese court warrants and cooperating with Chinese police,” he said

Wednesday’s mass arrest comes on the heels of a similar operation in Sihanoukville in November, when immigration police—with the assistance of Chinese police and embassy officials—arrested a group of 168 Chinese nationals.

Police said at the time that the group had used Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling to extort money from wealthy Chinese families. Those arrested in the raid were deported and put on a blacklist barring them from returning to Cambodia.

Lt. Gen. Sen said that those who were arrested in the Poipet raid and had pending arrest warrants would face a similar fate.

“We allowed them to stay at the Poipet police station tonight and tomorrow they will be sent to Phnom Penh for them to be deported to China,” he said.

The Chinese Embassy could not be reached for comment.

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