Police Net Illegal International Phone Cards

A phone fraud crackdown by the Ministry of Post and Telecom­munications and the Municipal Police Department has netted three suspects and some $60,000 worth of smuggled international phone cards, police said Sunday.

The sweep began Friday when police raided five illegal card outlets in three districts, said Ly Rasy, chief of the Mu­nicipal Police Minor Crimes Unit.

The largest single bust was at Anana Computer in the Phnom Penh Center, where police confiscated 222 foreign-produced prepaid phone cards worth more than $4,000, Ly Rasy said. Police also seized satellite equipment that could be used for in­ternational calling scams, he said.

Seven people were arrested in Friday’s raids; four were released after police determined they were low-ranking staff, while three, including Anana Director Treing Tico, 33, remained in custody over the weekend, Ly Rasy said.

The ministry has been investigating Anana for a month, said Deputy Chief Inspector Cheim Sangva.

Raids continued Sunday on bookstores, computer stores and Internet cafes, netting thousands of the smuggled cards in $10, $25, $50 and $100 denominations.

The cards in question are prepaid phone cards bought in Europe or the US, officials said. The access codes from the cards are recorded and sold, allowing users to make calls through US or European phone routing gateways, they said.

Cambodian residents using the illicit access codes can call overseas for under $0.03 per minute, none of which goes to Cambo­dia’s phone service providers, officials said.

Cambodian officials will not be able to block the calls of people who have already purchased the access codes, police said.


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