Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government denies reports China deportees were Taiwanese

Government denies reports China deportees were Taiwanese

Suspects in a VoIP scam wait to be deported at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Saturday.
Suspects in a VoIP scam wait to be deported at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Saturday. Photo supplied

Government denies reports China deportees were Taiwanese

In the latest crackdown on internet scam operations in Cambodia, 61 people were deported to mainland China on Saturday amid protest from Taiwan, which claimed 19 were Taiwanese nationals who should have instead faced justice at home.

The deportees were arrested earlier this month during raids in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk after investigations revealed that they were using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to extort money, according to Uk Hai Sela, head of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Immigration.

Thirty-nine of the suspects held Chinese passports, while the others were undocumented, Hai Sela said. He denied that any of those deported were Taiwanese and claimed media reports to the contrary had been erroneous.

According to the Taipei Times, however, 19 of the suspects were identified as nationals of the self-governing island, and the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had requested that it be allowed to collaborate in the operation and extradite the group to Taiwan.

“However, due to its conformity to the ‘one China’ principle and pressure from Beijing, Phnom Penh not only denied us a visit with the suspects, but also complied with China’s demand to deport the suspects there,” the ministry is quoted as saying in an article published yesterday.

Officials at Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy did not respond to requests for comment.

The Cambodian government adheres to Bejing’s “One China’’ policy, which holds Taiwan to be a breakaway province of the mainland, and has repeatedly ignored Taiwan’s requests for nationals to be returned to the island for trial, leaving alleged offenders from Taiwan regularly facing Beijing’s justice system instead.

Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson blasted the Cambodian government’s decision, calling it “a serious abuse of these persons’ human rights, especially since it is highly unlikely they will receive a fair trial”.

“The government refuses to send them back to Taipei because this is part of the quid pro quo for Phnom Penh to receive continuing generous support from Beijing,” he said in an email. “

Taiwan should make a public protest, but really the only thing that will get the Cambodian government’s attention is if Taiwanese investors vote with their feet, deciding to withdraw and take their investments and business somewhere else.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,