A representative for Cambodia’s Interior Ministry, Gen. Khieu Sopheak, announced on Wednesday that twenty-five Japanese nationals who were thought to be involved in a cyberscam operation based in Cambodia had been deported to Japan.
He told The Associated Press that the suspects were taken into custody in September following a tip from their Japanese counterparts in Cambodia, and that the Japanese government set up a charter flight to transfer them.
A representative for the immigration police, Gen. Keo Vanthan, stated that the 25 had been taken into custody in the nation’s capital, Phnom Penh.
In order to help the Cambodian government apprehend these individuals, Khieu Sopheak thanked the Japanese government for their assistance and cooperative efforts.
Cybercrime scams have become a major issue in Asia.
In August, the U.N.’s human rights office said that criminal gangs have forced hundreds of thousands of people in Southeast Asia into participating in unlawful online scam operations, including false romantic ploys, bogus investment pitches and illegal gambling schemes.
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in a report cited credible sources saying that at least 120,000 people in strife-torn Myanmar and roughly 100,000 in Cambodia may be affected. The report sheds new light on cybercrime scams that have become a major issue in Asia.
In April, 19 Japanese nationals suspected of participating in phone and online scams were similarly deported from Cambodia to their homeland. They had been arrested in the southern city of Sihanoukville, which is notorious for cybercrime scams.
Such scams became a major issue in Cambodia last year, when there were numerous reports of people from various Asian countries and further afield being lured into taking jobs in Cambodia. However, they often found themselves trapped in virtual slavery and forced to participate in scams targeting people over the internet.
The scam networks, which often have links to transnational organized crime, are set up in countries with weak law enforcement and attract educated young workers with promises of high earnings. The workers are then subjected to isolation and threats of violence unless they succeed in cheating victims reached by phone into transferring payments into overseas bank accounts.
(with inputs from agencies)
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Published on: November 08, 2023 18:20:06 IST