Officials Crack Down on Illegal Phone Schemes

The Ministry of Post and Tele­communications and the police are cracking down on people op­era­ting illegal international telephone gateways, a ministry official said Tues­day.

In less than a week, three people have been arrested for using two popular schemes to profit from long distance calls, said Chem Sang­va, deputy director of the ministry’s inspection department.

Chem Sangva said the ministry “is losing many million of dollars every year” to a “telecommunications Mafia.”

The three recent arrests include a Chinese national, a Vietnamese national and a Cambodian, Chem Sangva said.

He said Cam­­bodia has three legal gateways through which all inter­national calls must pass.

One technique to avoid the legal gateways is known as “illegal international incoming bypass,” he said.

David Spriggs, MobiTel’s general manager, said the system allows the user to receive international calls using a small box connected to an antenna. A mobile phone Subscriber Identity Module card is put into the box and the incoming call is connected to a mobile phone via a national network, without crossing the official gateway.

“When we identify a lot of incoming calls and no outgoing [calls] we check it and report it to the ministry,” David Spriggs said, adding that there is no other way to stop the abuse of the company’s network.

“This is not just a Cambodian thing, it happens all over the world,” he said.

The other widespread scheme occurs when the phone technology, used legally in various Internet shops, is operated without a license from the Ministry of Post and Tele­communications, Chem Sangva said.

“They pay nothing to the government but put [the profit] into their own pockets,” he said.

Cheam Sangva said that some owners of hotels and garment factories have bought the Voice Over Internet Protocol equipment not knowing it was illegal without a li­cense.

“I appeal to the hotel and factory owners not to buy this equipment,” he said, noting that some people have imported the equipment from China and Taiwan.



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