What went down: Stories behind the arrest of 47 M’sians in Poipet

25 Feb 2019 / 10:51 H.

WHILE the 47 Malaysians allegedly involved in illicit activities in Banteay Meanchey province were permitted to return home following approval by Prime Minister Hun Sen last week, the mystery behind what had transpired is far from resolved.

As Malaysian and Cambodia media focus on the “victims of an employment scam” narrative, Khmer Times has learnt the houses themselves, being in Poipet city, were designed to facilitate scammers to run VoIP scams, otherwise known as Macau scams.

Being close to the Thai border means visa runs were just minutes away. The houses reportedly had hidden entrances to basements and double-bolted doors.

Khmer Times has learnt from a credible source that the group had prior knowledge of the operation and allegedly tried to evade custody by hiding in the basements when police raided both houses.

For 45 minutes, police reportedly knocked the main door before breaching the first house.

“The [first] house was seemingly empty, but air conditioner units were on because the rooms were still cold,” the source says. “Electrical appliances were also warm – it was really suspicious.”

“Upon further inspection, [police] found something amiss near a cabinet under a staircase,” the source adds. “Once they removed the cabinet, they found a locked door that leads to an underground hideout.”

According to the source, there were two rooms in the basement. The first room was empty, but filled with smoke. The second room was where the former detainees were allegedly hiding.

“After police busted the doors open, one of [the detainees] handed over a bag filled with 38 passports to the authorities,” the source says.

“The other nine [passports] are believed to have either been burnt in the other room, or withheld by third parties, whom police are working to identify, but cannot proceed because the 47 had left Cambodia.”

Despite statements saying the 47 were not involved in unlawful acts, authorities said they found several workstations equipped with technology used in VoIP scams.

Similar experience was had by police after they raided the second house in the city.

Altogether, police nabbed 55 people, including eight Chinese nationals. The eight were released shortly after their arrest because their lawyer said they were only cooks.

Travel documents revealed that some of the former detainees arrived in the Kingdom as early as July, 2017.

Some had also travelled to countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, Myanmar, China, the United Arab Emirates and Japan within the span of two years.

The documents showed that one of the former detainees had just returned from Thailand just one day before police moved in on the group, contradicting claims made saying that they had never been to Cambodia before and that their passports were confiscated as soon as they arrived. — Khmer Times

email blast