Nigerians Tricked Into Paying Hundreds for Visas, NGO Says

Nigerians are being duped into paying exorbitant amounts to gain Cambodian visas—sometimes up to $1,500—on promises that they would find high-paying jobs and a “better life,” only to realize they had been given tourist visas upon arrival, an NGO said on Wednesday.

Koledoye Abayomi Olushola, president of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization in Cambodia (NDOC), said there had been an influx of Nigerians since October—about 40 of them had come to NDOC for help—penniless and stranded after discovering once here that they only had two-week tourist visas and few prospects for work.

Dubious travel agents in Nigeria had been charging them between $800 and $1,500 with false promises, he said.

“They say, ‘You will have a better job, better life.’”

John Amandi, a protocol officer for NDOC, said many of the victims had used all of their savings for the visas, and could not afford to leave.

“They have overstayed their visas,” he said. “They don’t have the money for [plane] tickets…. They don’t have the money to go to a nearby country and get a proper visa,” Mr. Amandi said.

He said some of the scammed victims had been rounded up by immigration officials, including some of the 26 Nigerians arrested during a raid on two residences in Pur Senchey district’s Choam Chao commune last week.

Mr. Amandi estimated that six to seven of those arrested last week were victims of the scam.

“Those with passports and two-week visas are the victims. The ones without passports or proper documentation are not.”

The Interior Ministry’s immigration department had been notified, he said, and he had met with officials on Wednesday.

Sok Veasna, director of the Interior Ministry’s foreign non-immigrants department, however, said he had not heard of the issue, but would look into it.

“I will contact the president of the organization…then we will write a report,” he added.

(Additional reporting by Chhorn Phearun)

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