Authorities are investigating the past activities in Phnom Penh of three Hong Kong men shot dead in a gangland-style hit in Bangkok, a senior Interior Ministry official said Thursday.
Lour Ramin, deputy secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said all three men apparently had ties to Cambodia. “We don’t know clearly yet who these people are or what they did but we know one of them was a card dealer in Cambodia,” he said.
The three victims—identified by Thai police as Chan Kam Yin, 40, Chen Jian Jun, 28, and Hong Leung, 40—had been influential in Cambodia and are believed to have ties to the Hong Kong-based 14K triad which deals in drug trafficking and kidnapping, a Thai police source told the Bangkok Post.
Chen Jian Jun, also known as Peter, arrived in Thailand from Phnom Penh on Oct 10, according to Thai police reports.
The three were killed Saturday after the taxi they were traveling to Bangkok’s international airport in was forced to stop by a second car. A lone gunman emerged from the second car and used two handguns to kill the taxi’s three back seat passengers, according to Thai police reports cited by the Bangkok media. A fourth Chinese man sitting in the front seat of the taxi was not shot but disappeared soon after the shooting.
According to Lour Ramin, members of the Chinese mafia view Cambodia as a safe haven while on the run from authorities in their own countries. “We cannot confirm how strong they [Chinese crime syndicates] are here, but Cambodian law is loose so the foreign mafia takes the opportunity to do their [drug] smuggling here,” said Lour Ramin, adding authorities here have arrested gang members in the past and deported them.
According to Hong Kong Interpol documents obtained this week, an organized crime syndicate from Hong Kong has in recent years “built up their areas of influence in Cambodia.”
“The syndicate members have been laundering the criminal proceeds—which they illegally obtained from Hong Kong—through local investments. Some of them have already a strong base in Cambodia,” according to the Interpol documents.
(Additional reporting by Phann Ana)