Kampot town police sent 17 Chinese nationals, including two women, to the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Immigration on Tuesday after their arrests on the suspicion of involvement in online extortion.
Kampot provincial police chief Mao Chanmathurith said his officers raided a rented property in Kampong Bay commune on Monday. A laptop and 144 phones were seized.
A Kampot town police official who asked not to be named said a group of Chinese nationals had rented the property in August. He said Kampot authorities had never arrested such a large number of Chinese nationals before.
“No large criminal cases in Kampot province had previously involved Chinese nationals,” he said.
He added that the suspects were being held at Kampot town police headquarters as authorities investigated their operations after finding evidence linking them to the crime.
Rights group Licadho coordinator Opsovan Chan Thorn said there were less Chinese nationals living in Kampot compared to neighbouring Preah Sihanouk province.
“Chinese nationals have not committed serious crimes in Kampot before. This is the first time such a large number of Chinese have been arrested,” Chan Thorn said.
Chanmathurith said the 17 Chinese nationals had been sent to the General Department of Immigration on Tuesday before their likely deportation back to China.