Chinese Nationals Questioned Over Scam

Thirty-eight Chinese nationals arrested during a raid on a Poipet City casino are being questioned in Phnom Penh over their connections to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam targeting people in China, police said Thursday.

The 35 men and three women were sent to Phnom Penh on Wednesday night after a raid led by the Interior Ministry’s internal security department on Monday night resulted in the initial detention of 105 Chinese guests staying at the hotel connected with Golden Crown Casino in Poipet City, according to city police chief Oum Sophal.

The individuals sent to the capital were wanted by Chinese police, who had issued warrants for their arrests after investigating and apprehending 49 people in China for VoIP extortion, said Sarann Komsath, spokesman for the Interior Ministry’s internal security department.

“Acting on the instruction of Chinese police we arrested 38 people,” Mr. Komsath said.

“We will ask the interior minister for approval to send them home.”

Officials on Thursday declined to elaborate on the suspects’ role in the VoIP ring.

Uk Heisela, chief of the immigration department, said they were still being questioned.

“If they are found to be involved with a serious crime then they may be sent to court. If they are found to have committed only minor crimes, they will be sent to the immigration department and will be deported to their home country.”

The Interior Ministry has conducted several mass arrests over VoIP extortion rings in recent months, with the majority involving foreigners using Cambodia’s cheap Internet to conduct telephone call scams.

In November, 168 Chinese nationals were arrested in Sihanoukville after Chinese police enlisted the assistance of Cambodian authorities to track them down.

In an unrelated case, 51 Chinese people were arrested in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district Thursday for a number of immigration offenses, including lacking correct visas or working documentation.

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