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Chinese ring busted over extortion rackets

China is to provide a plane to deport Chinese extortionists. Supplied.

Seventy-three suspected Chinese mafia members were arrested at the weekend after allegedly extorting money from people in China using internet phone calls.


Immigration investigation chief Lieutenant General Uk Haisela said the arrests followed an Interpol report filed by Chinese police.

The report said the suspects pretended to be Chinese police, judges, prosecutors or bankers and had phoned people in China to threaten and extort money from them.

The suspects allegedly used voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phones to call from Cambodia.

Lt Gen Haisela said the arrests, which included 21 women, were made on Saturday.

Thirty-five suspects were arrested in Phnom Penh and in Kandal province, while 38 were arrested in Kampot province.

“Police seized a number of VoIP phones, mobile phones and other related items,” he said.

The suspects are now being detained for questioning and further investigation at the immigration department police unit near Phnom Penh International Airport.

Chinese police will send their own aircraft to Cambodia this week to collect the suspects, he said.

Representatives of the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Cambodia deported 39 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals in June 2016 for running a telephone scam.

The arrests and deportations led to a diplomatic fight between Taiwan and Cambodia after 25 Taiwanese nationals within the group of 39 were deported to China despite repeated entreaties by Taiwan’s consular-general in Vietnam, Ling Kuan-Chung, who flew to Phnom Penh to try to secure their release.

Cambodia said it was forced to abide by the “One China” policy, which permits economic ties but forbids diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and ignored their appeals, eventually deporting the Taiwanese nationals on a China Eastern Airlines flight to Hangzhou.

Spokeswoman for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Frances Lee expressed dismay at the decision and slammed Cambodia for turning what she said was a legal issue into a political one.

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