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Cambodia & China Bust Criminal Call Centers
Asia has a phone/messaging fraud problem, according to recent media reports.
The BBC wrote about it last year. And apparently it’s still a significant problem, because Cambodian police earlier this month arrested more than 200 people who were allegedly part of what The New York Times describes as criminal call centers.
These individuals will be sent to China, according to The New York Times, as this arrest effort was part of a collaboration between Cambodia and the Chinese. A Cambodian official told The New York times that China provides it with IP addresses, it follows them and makes the arrests, and it then reports in to the Chinese embassy.
The Phnom Penh Post on Monday reported: “Another 40 Chinese nationals were detained on Friday and are being questioned over their alleged involvement in a VoIP scam after more than 200 allegedly in the same ring were arested Wednesday.
“In the first raid, police found the alleged perpetrators in a condo in Boeung Kak II commune in Phnom Penh,” The Post wrote. “Two days later, Anti-Terrorism Police arrested 40 more alleged scammers in the same building – where they were found in a locked room, according to Khat Kon Tith, Boeung Kak II commune police chief.”
Reports about the conditions in which these criminal call center workers existed run the gamut. The New York Times reported that workers could not eat or leave the building. But that same story noted that one of the buildings in which they worked was new and in an affluent area, and that one worker said he made up to $70,000 in a week.
As for the victims, they are frequently civil servants and retired Chinese officials, according to reports. And fraudsters use the phone and messaging to blackmail and/or dupe them into sharing personal information in an effort to get their money. Their efforts have reportedly resulted in billions of dollars in losses.
Cambodia is not the only Asian country in which these kinds of fraudsters have set up shop, reports indicate. An April 2016 BBC story talked about “The massive phone scam problem vexing China and Taiwan.” In it, the BBC talks about how thousands of scammers, some pretending to be government officials, are costing “mainland Chinese victims billions of yuan and have driven some to suicide.”
Edited by Maurice Nagle