Online gambling

Cambodia arrests 61 people linked to online gambling and illegal phone syndicates

Posted on: March 25, 2022, 07:00h.

Last update: March 25, 2022, 11:15 a.m.

Cambodian authorities say they are working hard to improve the country’s public image. He hopes the arrest of 61 people linked to illegal gambling and online phone scams will help.

Arresting crooks in Cambodia
Police are detaining individuals they believe have been involved in phone scams and other illegal activities. The country continues to try to clean up its image as reports of fraudulent activity, kidnappings and slavery increase. (Picture: Bangkok Post)

Cambodia has been the subject of a considerable number of public condemnations, which have multiplied in recent times. Politicians and law enforcement say they are now working diligently to erase the negative perception.

For this to happen, the authorities will have to make a major and concerted effort to eliminate the criminal element that controls parts of the country. A recent crackdown is another step in the right direction.

Cambodian police launch new raids

Last weekend, according to the Khmer time, the police raided two places to stop the illegal activities. They arrested 59 Thai nationals and two Chinese nationals involved in phone scams. However, not all are suspect.

Some 28 are suspects, while five may have been labor slaves the gang forced to participate. The other 28 are still under investigation.

During a raid, the police intervened in an abandoned factory to interrupt one of the operations. There, individuals spent their days calling people with the cunning that customs officials had seized their packages for containing illegal goods. Later, the victims received a phone call from an alleged policeman who wanted to check on their finances.

Due to Cambodia’s history and public order laws, the ruse worked. The victims eventually transferred money to accounts provided by the bogus cop.

The raid led to the arrest of 28 people. Three would be the leaders of the organization, including two Chinese nationals and a Thai national. Charges against them could include money laundering, public fraud and unlawful assembly.

The second raid targeted a casino. Located in the Diwei Entertainment City Building, it actually covered another illegal phone scam ring. The outlet does not detail the type of scam, but police found 33 Thai nationals on the phone with potential victims when they searched the property.

More criminals to fall

During the raids, the police seized a lot of potentially valuable information. They confiscated 30 iPhones, eight radios and four laptops. They also found copies of conversations the scammers had with their victims, as well as fake arrest warrants and more.

All of this data could help Cambodia continue its fight against organized crime. Law enforcement officers in the country are working with those in Thailand and other countries to piece together a puzzle that he hopes will lead to more arrests.

This would be great news for Interior Minister Sar Kheng. He claimed two weeks ago that the province of Preah Sihanouk, home to the seemingly lawless Sihanoukville, cannot become a “base of crime”. He added that the image of the region needs to be corrected in order to attract foreign investment.

The politician acknowledged that law enforcement is “working hard” to reduce crime in the area. However, he urged community leaders to do much more, especially in the face of the upcoming communal elections in June.