PHNOM PENH - Cambodia will deport 80 Chinese nationals and Taiwanese citizens, who were arrested over the weekend in a sweeping bust of an Internet phone extortion scheme, officials said Monday.
The suspects were arrested in an operation encompassing four districts in the capital, following a complaint by Chinese police, who say sophisticated extortion rings hide overseas and use Internet phone-call technology to target Chinese victims.
Acting Interior Minister Em Sam Ann has signed the order to expel the first 53, among whom are 12 Chinese nationals and 41 Taiwanese, and another 27 people will be ordered deported “soon,” said Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for the ministry.
The suspects are accused of using Internet phone services to extort money from victims in China, he said. Chinese and Taiwanese authorities have arrived in Cambodia to cooperate in the expulsions, he said.
This is the fifth such scheme to be broken up in Cambodia in recent years, with cooperation from Chinese authorities, who are having to track extortion operations outside the country after a crackdown within it.