Foreigner-led cyber crimes on the rise: Report

(Phnom Penh) : The General Department of Immigration yesterday reported that the number of foreign nationals caught committing VoIP scams and running illegal gambling operations rose last year.

Lieutenant General Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the department, said the number of criminals caught rose by more than 100.

“The number of Chinese nationals who committed these crimes last year increased by more than 100 when compared to data from 2017,” he said. “In 2017, there were more than 300 Chinese nationals deported.”

The department yesterday published its 2018 annual report saying that it had identified hundreds of foreign nationals involved in VoIP scams and illegal gambling last year.

“VoIP crimes and illegal online gambling crimes occurred 14 times and led to the arrest of 403 Chinese nationals and 48 Malaysian nationals,” it said.

Lt Gen Heisela said the department will continue to crack down on crimes committed by foreign nationals.

“We will not be lenient toward foreigners who commit crimes in the Kingdom and we will continue to strengthen measures in order to take action against them,” Lt Gen Heisela said. “However, we will provide opportunities to any foreigners who come to Cambodia and follow the law.”

According to the report, immigration police cracked down on hundreds of undocumented foreign nationals working and residing in the Kingdom last year, seizing 35,001 irregular documents.

According to the department, 14,909 foreigners from 93 different countries have been deported since 2014. Among them, 1,649 Chinese nationals were alleged to have committed economic crimes.

In January, Chinese Ambassador Wang Wentian said Chinese and Cambodian government officials are monitoring Chinese criminal activities in the Kingdom.

“China has set this year to be the year of law enforcement cracking down on Chinese people who commit acts of crime,” Mr Wang said. “Both of our countries consider this year as the year of law enforcement cooperation between Cambodia and China.”

“We will crack down on the activities of criminals, such as online gambling [operators], VoIP scammers, fake product [sellers] and such,” he added. “I want to remind the offenders that officials from both countries are allies […] we know Cambodia is a lawful country – they are committed to cracking down on crimes.”