More Than 50 Chinese Sentenced in Cambodia Phone Scam

A Chinese court on Thursday sentenced 56 Chinese nationals to between 27 months and 12 years in prison for their involvement in a telecom scam in Cambodia, where they were arrested in 2011, the China Daily reported Friday.

According to the report, the group would telephone their victims in China, pretending to be court or police officials claiming that the victim’s bank account had been breached, and would tell the victims they should transfer their money to a separate “safe account.”

“More than 180 victims from 10 provinces, including Fujian, Guang­dong, Jiangsu and Sichuan, were cheated out of 15.56 million yuan [about $2.5 million],” the China Daily said.

International telecommunications scams involving Chinese and Taiwanese nationals have become common in Cambodia over the past few years, with more than 200 people arrested so far this year.

In June, 26 Taiwanese and 24 Chinese nationals were arrested for participating in separate tele­communications scams.

In April, 39 Chinese nationals were arrested in a similar scam using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to target government officials and wealthy people in mainland China, who they would then threaten to expose for corruption if they did not pay. Later that month, 58 more Chinese and Taiwanese nationals and three Cambodians were arrested in Phnom Penh and Kompong Cham in similar VoIP extortion scams.

Another telecommunications ring was busted in January when 80 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals were arrested.

But according to Lieutenant General Kirth Chantharith, spokes­­man for the National Police, there has been a decrease in phone scams this year compared to 2011 and 2012.

“After 2011, we have some ex­perience in cracking down on these types of crimes,” he said, adding that suspicious phone lines were monitored by police.

“We monitor all the parts and all the aspects so we try to confirm and decide to investigate,” he said.

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