Authorities in Cambodia maintain that they are working hard to improve the country’s public image. It hopes the arrest of 61 people linked to illegal gambling and online phone scams will help.
Cambodia has been the recipient of a considerable amount of public condemnation, which has increased in recent times. Political and law enforcement officials assert that they are now diligently working to erase the negative perception.
For that to happen, authorities will have to make a large and concerted effort at eliminating the criminal element that controls certain parts of the country. A recent crackdown is another step in the right direction.
Cambodian Police Launch New Raids
This past weekend, according to the Khmer Times, police raided two locations to break up illegal activity. They arrested 59 Thai and two Chinese nationals participating in phone scams. However, not all of them are suspects.
Some 28 are suspects, while five could have been work slaves who the gang forced to participate. The remaining 28 are still under investigation.
In one raid, police dropped in on an abandoned factory to break up one of the operations. There, the individuals spent their days calling people with the ruse that customs officials had seized their packages for containing illegal goods. Later on, the victims received a phone call from an alleged police officer who wanted to scrutinize their finances.
Because of Cambodia’s history and public order laws, the ruse worked. The victims ultimately transferred money to accounts provided by the bogus police officer.
The raid led to the arrest of 28 people. Three are said to be the leaders of the organization, and include two Chinese and one Thai national. Charges against them could include money laundering, public fraud, and illegal assembly.
The second raid targeted a casino. Located in the Diwei Entertainment City Building, it was actually covering for another illegal phone scam ring. The media outlet doesn’t detail the type of scam, but police found 33 Thai nationals on the phones with potential victims when they raided the property.
More Criminals to Fall
Through the raids, 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 that data could provide beneficial assistance in helping Cambodia continue to crack down on organized crime. Law enforcement officers in the country are working with those of Thailand and other countries to put together a puzzle that they hope will lead to more arrests.
That would be great news for Minister of Interior Sar Kheng. He asserted two weeks ago that the Preah Sihanouk province, home of the seemingly lawless Sihanoukville, cannot become a “crime base.” He added that the area’s image needs to be fixed in order to attract foreign investments
The politician recognized that law enforcement is “working hard” at reducing crime in the area. However, he urged community leaders to do a lot more, especially in the face of the upcoming Commune elections in June.
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