On November 9, 2023, Cambodia made a significant move in its fight against cybercrime by deporting 25 Japanese nationals back to Japan. The individuals were involved in online scams and had been arrested in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.
The arrests were made based on information provided by Japanese authorities, who had received complaints about the scam from the media outlet The Mainichi. The group of 25 was reported to have defrauded mostly elderly victims, stealing approximately $1.6 million from them before being apprehended.
After the apprehension, the suspects were deported back to Japan on a private charter flight organized by the Japanese authorities. Once in the air, Japanese authorities placed all 25 individuals under arrest, signaling the collaborative effort between Cambodia and Japan in combating cybercrime.
This is not the first instance of Cambodia deporting individuals involved in cybercrime. In April, the country deported 19 Japanese nationals suspected of involvement in phone and online scams, further highlighting the global nature of cybercrime and the need for international cooperation to address the issue.
The rise in cybercrime activities in Cambodia has become a significant concern, with reports of individuals from various Asian countries being lured to work in the country, only to find themselves trapped in online scams. There are growing concerns that Japanese nationals may be increasingly vulnerable to criminal gangs operating in Cambodian cities like Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, posing a risk to unsuspecting workers.
Former Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, now the chairman of the Supreme Privy Council to the King and president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, has expressed hope for continued infrastructure assistance from Japan. However, there is caution that criminal networks might exploit this cooperation to deceive Japanese workers.
The coordinated efforts between Cambodian and Japanese authorities highlight the urgency of stricter measures to combat cybercrime globally and the need for collaborative measures to curb its rise. The prevalence of cybercrime has become a significant issue in Asia, affecting individuals and economies alike.