Svay Rieng province authorities are searching for suspects after discovering high-tech satellite equipment apparently being used to bypass Vietnam’s international telephone gateway.
Provincial police and officials from the province’s Posts and Telecommunications office raided a farmhouse in Bavet town last week after a monthlong investigation and found a large satellite dish and other equipment.
“It’s quite hard to tell it is a telephone system,” said Hun Neng, governor of Svay Rieng province. “Even if I saw it, I wouldn’t know what it was.”
The equipment was being kept hidden by a 3-meter high fence of corrugated tin and hidden from the air by trees, Hun Neng said. Police acted on a tip from locals, who saw the equipment and wondered what it was. The site was just 50 meters from the International Market in Bavet, and was not too inconspicuous, Hun Neng said.
Police are now searching for the owner of the property for questioning, he said.
The site, located in Bavet town, which is just 2 km from the Vietnamese border, was apparently being used to bypass Vietnamese satellites for international calls, Hun Neng said.
“I think the suspects could be foreign [telecommunication] experts cooperating with a Cambodian expert in Phnom Penh,” Hun Neng said.
The satellite equipment is more modern than anything belonging to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, said one ministry official, who asked not to be named.
“In other countries, this activity is a serious mistake,” the official said. “We will not accept this. We only have the 001 and 007 legal international gateways. No other.”
Police worked on the case for a month, but when they raided the site, the perpetrators were gone, said Mao Phalla, Svay Rieng’s bureau chief for the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications provincial authority.
“When we were there, they were all gone,” he said. The ministry was working with police, because at first, the police didn’t know what the equipment was used for, he said.
A ministry official who did not want to be named said this was the fourth time equipment has been found in the country that could be used to steal phone access.