Cambodian authorities are likely to deport 165 Chinese nationals this weekend after their arrest in Siem Reap province in late March after raids on two locations illegally running online gambling rings.
The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration spokesman Uk Hai Seila told The Post on Tuesday that Chinese authorities would send an aeroplane to repatriate the detained, who include 36 women.
“We are preparing the documentation and the Chinese side also needs to arrange the flight, but we expect the aircraft to arrive as soon as possible, perhaps on April 7 or 8,” he said.
On March 28, Siem Reap provincial police in collaboration with the provincial court prosecutor, raided two illegal online gambling rings in Svay Dangkum commune’s Vihear Chin village, detaining the 165 Chinese nationals and confiscating 150 computers.
Siem Reap Immigration Police deputy chief Kim Cheasan said on Tuesday that having questioned the arrested at the provincial police headquarters, it was found they had been the running the gambling operations for almost a month.
Of the 165 arrested, only 35 had passports.
The Chinese were being provisionally held at the immigration centre near Siem Reap’s international airport in preparation for their deportation by the General Department of Immigration, Cheasan said.
“This is a big case involving more than 100 people. Previous crackdowns involved only around 10 people,” he said.
A General Department of Immigration report shows that from the start of last year until now, 1,724 foreign nationals have been deported from Cambodia. Of this figure, 927 were Chinese.
The deportations of the foreigners were for a range of offences, including entering the Kingdom without passports or being processed by immigration, visa overstays, using false documents, being part of online gambling and extortion rings, drug dealing and crimes involving sexual exploitation.
The report found that some Chinese had fled to the Kingdom over their involvement in murder cases and economic crimes before being found by Cambodian authorities and deported.