Officials at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications say they have raided an illegal overseas telephone operation inside the military’s technical department in Russei Keo district.
The building, known as Warehouse K4, was raided on March 18 by ministry investigators pursuing 74 illegal phone lines operating from it. The team of investigators, which had official clearance from Prime Minister Hun Sen and Minister of Defense Tea Banh, was delayed some 40 minutes before the raid began at 4:45 pm.
“They placed four or five drunken military men with guns who obstructed our way,” said a Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications official who was present at the raid. “They said we could get in only if we got permission from their bosses.”
Inside the building, 24 mobile phones were seized along with a satellite dish that measured 3.8 meters in diameter. Posts and Telecommunications officials also uncovered 128 phone numbers that were being used.
The scam is run through cell phones that can be wired into a network, a computer and a satellite dish that accepts incoming phone calls from the US before automatically diverting them to homes throughout Cambodia, investigators said.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court Deputy Prosecutor Khut Sopheang said that it would take some time to file charges because the suspects are military officers. “Klaing K4 has many bosses who are colonels or one-, two- or three-star generals,” Khut Sopheang said. “I am waiting for the police investigation, but it will not be easy to find out who is behind the illegal operation.”
Officials say they suspect the operation was run by the same people who ran a similar operation from rooftop offices in the Ministry of Information compound.
Authorities raided the office of the International Information Subscription Service Inc in late February. The company had a 10-year contract signed by Minister of Information Lu Laysreng.