Cambodia turns up the heart on phone scammers and online gambling syndicates, 61 nabbed

Khmer Times
Cambodia turns up the heart on phone scammers and online gambling syndicates, 61 nabbed
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Sixty-one people, 59 Thais and two Chinese, were detained during raids on a phone scam gang working out of Preah Sihanouk in Cambodia, according to Thai police.

Twenty-eight were beng treated as suspects, five had been lured into the operation and rescued and the remainder were still being investigated, Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, director of the Police Cyber Taskforce (PCT), said on Thursday.

Teams of Thai and Cambodian police raided two premises used as offices by the gang in Preah Sihanouk on March 20, said Pol Gen Damrongsak, who is a deputy national police chief.

The first was an abandoned factory on Santepheap Road. Callers operating from there would tell people there were parcels for them sent by DHL or FedEx, but customs officials had seized them because they contained illegal goods.

Later, a person pretending to be a police officer at Chiang Mai’s Muang police station would contact them and ask to examine their finances. The victims were then lured into transferring money to the bogus officer, Pol Gen Damrongsak said.

Police arrested 28 people at the abandoned factory, including three alleged gang leaders – two Chinese nationals and a Thai man identified as Pornsak Reephol. They were charged with colluding in public fraud, illegal assembly and money laundering.

The arresting team seized 30 iPhones, eight communication radios, four notebook computers, copies of conversations between gang members and their victims, and fake arrest warrants and other documents.

The joint police team also raided Diwei Entertainment City Building on 2 Thnou Road, where a casino masked a phone scam operation on the fifth floor. Thirty-three Thais were found talking on phones with intended victims when the officers entered the office, Pol Gen Damrongsak said.

A total of 61 scammers were caught at the two locations. Five of them who had been snared into working for the gang were taken to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.

Cambodian police with the aid of information and intelligence gathered by their Thai counterparts are looking at snaring more suspects, both Thais and other nationals not only in Sihanoukville but also along the Cambodian-Thai border provinces as well other provinces located well away from the border.

Investigations have also revealed that most of the Thai nationals, if not all, conned or cheated into coming to Cambodia had done so illegally and in search of a quick profit or easy income or both and some were involved in human trafficking.

However, no cases or evidences of blood and organ harvesting were uncovered during the investigations or the raids which has not seemed to have disheartened the syndicates.

Bangkokpost/Khmer Times