Briefs: Indonesians Rescued From Poipet, Cross-Border Data Cables Found

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Poipet border checkpoint. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)
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Thirty-four Indonesians were rescued from Poipet and repatriated as authorities try to tackle the “iceberg” of human trafficking cases in Cambodia, Indonesian media reported.

Indonesian police official Krishna Murti said in a statement Friday that Indonesians from four regions had been moved from Poipet to Phnom Penh on December 12 and later brought home, according to Tempo.

Indonesian police’s Interpol liaison worked on the case, and spoke with the Indonesian ambassador to Cambodia about cooperation with Cambodian police on human trafficking cases “often reported” by Indonesian nationals in Cambodia, Tempo said.

“This problem is like an iceberg that must be resolved both upstream and downstream,” it quoted Krishna as saying.

The nature of the human trafficking was not disclosed, but foreign nationals continue to be rescued from Cambodia following widespread forced labor at criminal scam operations in the country.

Thousands of foreign nationals have been removed from Cambodian compounds following many months of pleas for rescue from workers trapped in scam operations while facing violence, torture and debt bondage. Several of the syndicates operated out of compounds linked to well-connected tycoons and senators, including timber baron Try Pheap, Senator Kok An and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nephew Hun To.

— Michael Dickison

Illegal Cross-Border Internet Cables Found

A Thai police raid found high-speed internet cables crossing from Thailand to scam callers in Poipet, the Bangkok Post reported.

Deputy national police chief Torsak Sukwimol led an inspection of six locations in Sa Kaeo province, and found about 30 internet cables running along power poles and crossing the Thai-Cambodian border, the Post said.

“The cables supported more than 10,000 internet lines believed to serve the call scam gangs that have defrauded many Thai people… Police have found that the cables were used to illegally extend internet access to the neighboring country,” the newspaper reported Torsak as saying.

Eight suspects, including government employees, were arrested, it said.

Thai police have been working to combat scams against its citizens run by operations based in Cambodia. Scammers have impersonated courier deliveries, insurance agents, government officials, criminal courts and customs police threatening arrest in order to dupe victims into handing over millions of dollars.

Those running the scams have often been forced laborers lured to Cambodia with the promise of high-paying jobs, then trapped and sometimes bought and sold across scam compounds.

— Michael Dickison

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