60 Smartphones Seized in Cambodia Fraud Case

Shinsuke Yasuda / The Yomiui Shimbun
The hotel where a group suspected of fraud was based is seen in Sihanoukville Province, Cambodia, on Sunday.

Cambodian police seized about 60 smartphones from a resort hotel in Sihanoukville Province in a case involving a group suspected of defrauding victims in Japan, according to Japanese investigative sources.

Cambodian authorities have detained 19 Japanese men aged 25-55. Local police have already handed the seized cell phones over to Japanese investigators.

The Metropolitan Police Department, which dispatched about 50 personnel on Monday, suspects the men were using the seized smartphones to defraud victims in Japan.

According to Japanese investigators, a smartphone linked to the suspects was used to send text messages that appeared to be from NTT Docomo in January to the cell phone of a Tokyo woman in her 60s.

The woman called a number in response to the message and the person at the end of the line allegedly told her that she had missed a payment for online services. The woman claims she was told to purchase about ¥250,000 in the digital currency BitCash to cover the late payment.

The Japanese Embassy in Cambodia received a tip-off about an alleged fraud group that was based at a hotel in the country. Local police subsequently searched the resort hotel in Sihanoukville Province in southern Cambodia in January and detained the 19 suspects.

In addition to the smartphones, several computers, a fraud manual and records of victims’ names and contact information were seized from the hotel, the sources said.

The 19 men have received deportation orders for staying in the country illegally.

The MPD suspects the group was based overseas to evade detection.

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