Cellphone rip-off gang focusing on Thais busted in Cambodia

Thai and Cambodian police detain suspects at a phone scam centre operating out of a rented house in Phnom Penh on Friday. (Police photo)

Thai and Cambodian police on Friday arrested 26 Thais, six Taiwanese and five Cambodians in a joint operation in Cambodia for running a call centre that allegedly tricked Thai victims out of 100 million baht.

Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal, deputy commissioner of the tourist police, said there were arrests in raids at three locations in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

The first raid was at a deserted hospital building in Phnom Penh, where two Cambodians were detained.

That led authorities to a rented luxury house about 3 kilometres away, where police arrested four Taiwanese suspects, 25 Thais and three Cambodians.

The third target was a house in Sihanoukville, where two Taiwanese and one Thai were arrested.

At all three locations police found computers, voice over internet equipment and phone logs with details of a large number of calls.

At the time of the arrests, Thai suspects were phoning Thai victims, mainly in the lower North. All the callers were Thai, and some of them said they were forced to do it.

Pol Maj Gen Surachet said Cambodia was a base for phone scams targeting Thai victims. Taiwanese, Chinese and Malaysian people forced some Thai employees to swindle their compatriots. Those who refused to do so were detained and assaulted.

Thai and Cambodian police had investigated the gang‘s operations for about two months before the raids.

He said Thai victims were cheated out of about 100 million baht.

The operation was part of a larger racket operating in Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia.

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