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Sihanoukville, Cambodia, has become the capital of the world's cyber fraud mafia

Le Monde France

French newspaper Le Monde recently published a lengthy investigative report on how Cambodia's Chinatown, Sihanoukville, has developed into a playground for Chinese crime syndicates. According to Le Monde, Cambodia has been a massive beneficiary of China's Belt and Road investment program. Still, it has opened up Pandora's box in Cambodia at the same time.

Sihanoukville, formerly known as Sihanoukville (កំពង់សោម, Kampong Som), is a port city in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, the capital of the province, named after former Cambodian King Sihanouk. The port of Sihanoukville, known as Port Sihanoukville, is a deep-water port and the largest seaport and foreign trade center in Cambodia. The city is also an important tourist city in Cambodia, with many Chinese hotels and hostels. Sihanoukville is also one of the most densely populated places for Chinese people. According to Wikileaks, in 2019, there were about 80,000 Chinese in Sihanoukville, about the same number as the local Cambodian population. Sihanoukville is one of the key towns in China's Belt and Road Initiative, with a special Chinese economic zone and Chinese investment in casinos, real estate, and tourism.

What's a Pig-Killing Plate?

There are more than a dozen similar casinos and Internet scam centers in Cambodia, located along the country's borders with Thailand and Laos, where thousands of people work in online scam centers under the supervision of Chinese bosses and other gang leaders from around the world, according to a report in Le Monde.

The World notes that these cyber-fraud enterprises, known by brand names such as "Digital Industry Investment Park," are mainly staffed in China. However, the new epidemic has forced them to hire locals or people from other countries. A 27-year-old Cambodian Khmer, alias Sem Chakrya, told reporters that he was tasked with developing markets in five European countries, including France, and that he had four cell phones, each with a different account, but using photos of the same beautiful woman, whose nationality is unknown, coordinating the center's efforts to use carrots to lure internet users in and then squeeze them for money. It is called the pig-killing tray. This scourge of the global pig-killing dish fraud business network extends from the Philippines via Laos, Cambodia to Myanmar, and Westport is the capital of the pig-killing dish country. Elsa Lafaye de Michaux, a French expert who has studied the impact of the French Belt and Road Plan on Southeast Asia, pointed out that this is one of the harmful effects of the Belt and Road Plan and that Westport is a significant link in the Belt and Road Plan, which is similar in size to China's Shenzhen and has a total population similar to the total population of Shenzhen back in 1982 when the development of the city was launched. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has made it clear that he looks forward to developing Westport into the Shenzhen of Southeast Asia.

Internet Gambling Industry

In 2017, the Cambodian government-issued licenses to 75 online gaming and gambling businesses, and according to Japanese media, the revenue from online games in Westport is between $3.5 billion and $5 billion per year, 90 percent of which comes from online virtual gambling casinos, which the Cambodian authorities seem to be unable to do anything about.

On December 12, 2020, Cambodian and Chinese police intercepted 1.5 tons of the stimulant ketamine in a joint operation on the way to Westport, and three Taiwanese were arrested. One Taiwanese were killed in a fierce battle at the drug production site.

Under pressure from Beijing, the Cambodian government announced that it would not renew online casino licenses starting in January 2020. The Chinese government has introduced a similar ban, recognizing that online gambling has become an avenue for money laundering, leading to a massive outflow of Chinese money. This, coupled with the re-emergence of the New Crown outbreak in Westport last March, led to tens of thousands of Chinese leaving Westport. During the epidemic, the name of the casino was gradually replaced by Digital Park, in which staff, both Chinese and foreigners, had their documents confiscated, fraudulent online activities slowly resumed, the team was deprived of their liberty, working events up to 11 hours a day, and a young local Khmer woman who was able to resign told reporters that she decided to quit because she did not want to cheat others. The atmosphere in Digital Park was agitated. Duodo Chinese are very pessimistic and desperate, and one person committed suicide while she was working. After leaving, another Vietnamese was beaten and then pushed down the stairs to his death. The victims of online fraud are not only the scam victims but also the people who work on the scams, who are often treated like slaves.

Chinatown Becomes a Forbidden City of Deprivation of Liberty

The local Cambodian media, Khmer Times, first reported the "release" of four Filipinos from the digital garden in August 2021. In October 2021, 41 Indonesians left Chinatown under the protection of Cambodian police at the request of the Indonesian embassy. The victims were violently beaten, extracted money, illegally detained, and deprived of food, among other inhumane treatment, according to an announcement by the head of the Thai police's anti-trafficking division.

A French national living in Cambodia was also briefly detained for two months in southern Cambodia in the summer of 2021, according to information obtained by Le Monde. He applied for a job on Facebook and met with a Chinese boss twice. He was released after French police consulted with Cambodian authorities after his family raised the alarm. The Frenchman, in his 30s, declined to be interviewed by Le Monde.

The Cambodian police did not enter the Forbidden City but negotiated directly with the Chinese boss before the people involved were taken to the police station and released. A Chinese who used to do similar work told Le Monde that a successful fraudster could scam 500,000 yuan a month and he can keep 90,000 yuan for himself. However, their working hours are usually 15 hours a day.

The man, who came to Westport from Inner Mongolia under the pseudonym Xiao Xiong, arrived in July 2021, initially thinking he was working in the online game industry, and tried to escape the Digital Park by contacting the police through a concealed a cell phone for 15 hours a day because he refused to scam others. Instead, the police quickly got his boss and threatened him. He eventually managed to contact Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen via Facebook, saying in English, "Dear Prime Minister Hun Sen, I was kidnapped and forcibly detained in Cambodia, beaten, and I am Chinese." Two days after sending the text message, he was released. He is now under the protection of a Hubeian named Chen Baorong, a Hubeian from Cambodia who married a local woman two decades ago and made a fortune within a decade, and whose home became a refuge for the victim. According to his assessment, 40 percent of the workers at the Digital Park were voluntarily involved in fraudulent activities, while the other 60 percent were forced to engage in illegal activities.

The article concludes with a description of the activities in Cambodia of Macau businessman Wan Kwok Kui, nicknamed Beng Ya Kui, who was released from prison in 2012 to engage in the cryptocurrency business, and in 2018 founded the Hung Men Company in Cambodia, which has a market in Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese community in Taiwan, and which is believed by Le Monde to be secretly supported by the United Front Work Department of Beijing, which is responsible for the overseas Chinese, for its function of inciting nationalism and infiltrating other organizations. The World News believes that Hongmen Inc. is secretly supported by the United Front Work Department in Beijing, which is responsible for overseas Chinese, for its function of inciting nationalism and infiltrating other organizations.

The author comments that London's geopolitical expansion during the British colonial era was similar to the development of the opium market and that China's Belt and Road may be playing the same role today.

Originally published by the French Broadcasting Corporation

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