Cambodia to deport 19 Japanese cybercrime scam suspects

Nineteen Japanese men detained in Cambodia in January on suspicion of taking part in organized phone and online scams will be deported to their homeland, a Cambodian immigration police officer said Friday. Arrangements for their return are being made by the Japanese Embassy in Cambodia, but so far no date has been set, Immigration Police spokesperson Gen. Keo Vanthan told The Associated Press. Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported Friday that Tokyo police have obtained arrest warrants for the 19 Japanese on suspicion of running phone scams from Cambodia targeting people in Japan. NHK said Cambodian authorities who searched the men’s hotel rooms “discovered a list of Japanese citizens believed to be targets in a fraud scheme.” The 19 were taken into custody in the southern city of Sihanoukville on Jan. 24 and sent to the capital, Phnom Penh, where they were held after investigation by the interior ministry. Keo Vanthan declined to provide further details about the detained Japanese or their alleged offenses. However, police in Sihanoukville, which in the past few years has become notorious for crimes such as online and phone scams, said in January that they opened the case after being informed on a crime-fighting hotline that about 20 Japanese men were being held there and extorted for money.