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Taiwanese influencers get jail sentences in Cambodia for faking kidnap

02/16/2024 05:01 PM
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Taiwanese YouTubers Chen Neng-chuan (in black left) and Lu Tsu-hsien (in black, right) are present at a news conference in Cambodia on Thursday. Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024
Taiwanese YouTubers Chen Neng-chuan (in black left) and Lu Tsu-hsien (in black, right) are present at a news conference in Cambodia on Thursday. Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024

Hanoi, Feb. 16 (CNA) Two Taiwanese YouTubers were each sentenced to two years in jail and fined 4 million Cambodian riel (US$1,000) after staging an abduction at a "scam park" in Sihanoukville, a Cambodian newspaper reported Friday.

According to the Cambodia China Times, Chen Neng-chuan (陳能釧) and Lu Tsu-hsien (魯祖顯) -- known by the handles "Goodnight Chicken" (晚安小雞) and "Anow" (阿鬧), respectively -- were found guilty of "inciting and causing social disorder" in the Southeast Asian country.

Citing a ruling by the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court, the Chinese-language newspaper said the duo traveled to Cambodia "to create fraudulent human trafficking, abuse, sexual assault, and organ trafficking videos."

Sihanoukville, a coastal city in southwestern Cambodia, gained notoriety for harboring numerous scam compounds that enticed people, including some from Taiwan, there with promises of high-paying jobs and then forced them into carrying out scams.

Many abuses at the compounds, including kidnapping and human trafficking, were documented, and the YouTubers were using that profile as a backdrop for their fake videos.

On Thursday, Preah Sihanouk Province Governor Kuoch Chamroeun said at a press conference that Chen and Lu could only be deported after serving their sentences in Cambodia.

The duo got down on their knees at the press conference begging for a second chance, but Kuoch said simply condemning them verbally was not sufficient punishment and that forgiving them could lead to the further tarnishing of Cambodia's image.

Chen, who is known for paranormal videos and has roughly 130,000 YouTube subscribers, ran livestreams on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13 in which he pretended to run from a fake kidnapping attempt with Lu's help.

After seeing the videos, local police issued a missing person notice, only to find Chen and Lu in a local apartment that was full of props used to stage Chen's abduction, the report said.

(By Chen Chia-lun and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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The items used to stage the fake kidnap are displayed by the local authorities during a press conference in Cambodia on Thursday. Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024
The items used to stage the fake kidnap are displayed by the local authorities during a press conference in Cambodia on Thursday. Photo courtesy of a private contributor Feb. 15, 2024
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