Cambodia arrests nearly 400 mainland Chinese, Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects
Several countries have previously deported Taiwanese fraud suspects back to mainland China, infuriating the authorities in Taipei
The authorities in Cambodia have arrested nearly 400 mainland Chinese and Taiwanese citizens this month on suspicion of operating a telecoms scam to defraud victims in China, police said on Thursday.
China has been battling telecoms fraud that has cost billions of dollars in financial losses, according to the authorities in Beijing who accuse Taiwan of harbouring criminal gangs behind many of the scams.
Cambodia is one of China’s closest allies in Southeast Asia and does not recognise the government of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway Chinese province.
Cambodia, one of China’s staunchest allies in Southeast Asia, has deported more than 600 Chinese and Taiwanese citizens in recent years in a crackdown on internet and telecoms scams orchestrated from the Southeast Asian nation.
Police in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh on Wednesday arrested 225 Chinese citizens, including 25 women, who are suspected of running an extortion scheme using internet voice call technology, said Thou Saroeun, deputy director of the anti-terrorism police department.
“We are processing the case and we don’t know yet when this will move to deportation,” Thou Saroeun said.
Police arrested 151 Chinese and three Taiwanese citizens in the provinces of Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey on August 2, Uk Heisela, the investigations chief of the immigration department, said.
The suspects await deportation to mainland China and some will be sent back this week, he said. “I don’t know when exactly, that depends on when China sends a plane.”
Cambodia deported 105 Chinese and Taiwanese suspects to China last month, prompting a protest from the self-ruled island to Phnom Penh.
China has defended the deportations of people from Taiwan to China from countries such as Cambodia, saying the victims were all in mainland China and so the criminals should face justice there.