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Cambodia arrests 4 Taiwanese suspected of telecom fraud

2016/06/19 17:26:43

Cambodia. (CNA file photo)

Taipei, June 19 (CNA) Four Taiwanese nationals allegedly involved in a telecom fraud ring were arrested by immigration officers at Phnom Penh International Airport in Cambodia on Saturday as they were about to return to Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Sunday.

The four Taiwanese men told Apple Daily on Sunday that they were asked to post bail of US$60,000 to secure their release and were given a mobile phone to talk to their relatives.

According to one of the four men, surnamed Wang, they each brought US$10,000 with them on a trip to Cambodia in March and planned to return to Taiwan on Saturday after losing most of their money gambling at casinos.

The arrest came after Cambodian police arrested 13 Taiwanese nationals and 14 Chinese nationals on June 13 on suspicion of operating a telecom extortion ring to defraud victims in China.

It was unclear if the arrest of the four men on Saturday was related to the June 13 arrests.

In the absence of a Taiwanese liaison office in Cambodia, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Ho Chi Minh City is following up on the cases, the MOFA said.

Liang Kuang-chung (梁光中), director-general of the Ho Chi Minh City office, led a delegation to Phnom Penh on Friday for talks with the Cambodian National Police and the Cambodian Immigration Department on the case involving the 13 Taiwanese suspects.

The delegation will ask Cambodian authorities to repatriate the 13 suspects to Taiwan based on international jurisdiction principles, according to the ministry.

Beijing, however, has requested that the 13 suspects be repatriated to China on the grounds that the victims were all in China, and it forcibly obstructed Taiwanese officials from visiting Taiwanese suspects, the ministry said.

Cambodia has extremely close ties with China, and the MOFA, citing information from its Ho Chi Minh City office, said Phnom Penh might buckle to Chinese pressure and send the 13 Taiwanese suspects to China in the near future.

The ministry said Liang's delegation will also try to discuss Saturday's arrests while it is still in Cambodia.

(By Tai Ya-chen and Evelyn Kao)