All but 17 of the 224 Chinese nationals arrested Thursday in the northern part of the capital entered Cambodia overland from Vietnam, the deputy police commissioner for Phnom Penh said Monday.
Bith Kim Hong said the Chinese could not identify or name where they had crossed into Cambodia. He added that the other 17 suspects entered Cambodia at Pochentong Airport.
Two of the suspects who arrived at the airport carried valid entry visas, said Bith Kim Hong, who also is in charge of intelligence and immigration for the city police.
“We need to identify if the [two] passports are real before we will release them,” he said.
Since their arrest Thursday, 189 of the male Chinese immigrants have been detained at Immigration Police headquarters opposite Pochentong Airport. A group of 35 women have been detained elsewhere.
Chea Sophara, first deputy governor of Phnom Penh, said Monday that the 200-plus group passed through Hanoi on their way to Cambodia.
“Most of them telephoned home and want to go back to mainland China….They were forced to pay lots of bribe money and some had their arms burned with cigarettes by the traffickers,” Chea Sophara said.
One Vietnamese and two Chinese men the group referred to as “dealers” were responsible for bringing the people across the Cambodian border and escorted them to a private house in Tuol Kok district, said Bith Kim Hong.
“We met with the owner of the house. His name is Ngin Kham Phean and he is a former government official. He showed us a lease contract which shows he rented the house to a person by the name of Ly Kheang,” Bith Kim Hong said.
The city police were working on arresting the three, he added.
Complaints by neighbors that the house was harboring illegal Chinese immigrants led to a police raid on the house last month, but the police found the house empty and no arrests were made then.