Cambodia deports 74 Chinese arrested for telecom extortion scams

Chinese nationals (in orange vests) who were arrested over a suspected Internet scam, are escorted by Chinese police officers before they were deported at Phnom Penh International Airport, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, October 12, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 October 2017
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Cambodia deports 74 Chinese arrested for telecom extortion scams

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Cambodia on Thursday deported 74 Chinese nationals wanted in China on suspicion of extorting money from people there over the Internet and by telephone, Cambodian police said.
This raises the number of people from China and Taiwan who have been deported this year for suspected telecom scams to 346, Uk Heisela, the head of the Cambodian police told reporters at a press conference at the airport in the capital of Phnom Penh.
Several hundred suspected scammers have been arrested in Cambodia, which has emerged as a major center of rackets that have cost the victims billions of dollars.
A team of Chinese police arrived at the airport on a China Southern Airlines flight to pick up the suspects, who wore masks and had numbers marked on pink shirts.
Uk Heisela said the 74 suspects, including 14 women, had been detained on Oct. 5 in the seaside town of Sihanoukville. Two Indonesians were also deported back to their home country.
“They tricked victims in China, the civil servants there, such as teachers, medics and artists,” Uk Heisela said.
In some cases, they had obtained naked pictures of the victims and used them for blackmail, he said.
Cambodia is one of China’s closest allies in Southeast Asia. More than 400 Chinese and Taiwanese were arrested in Cambodia in August alone for suspected telecom scams.
The country’s good Internet connections and relaxed immigration laws have attracted con artists to carry out crimes.


Modi secures a second five-year term with landslide win in Indian elections

Updated 3 min 19 sec ago
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Modi secures a second five-year term with landslide win in Indian elections

  • Narendra Modi becomes first Indian prime minister in 40 years to return to power with a majority
  • Election results are a big blow to Rahul Gandhi-led opposition Congress party

NEW DELHI: India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday scored a landslide election victory, increasing its seats in Parliament after a bitter and divisive campaign.

The results amount to a massive blow for the 133-year-old Congress Party, which dominated India’s political life for more than 50 years after the country gained independence in 1947. Narendra Modi has made history by becoming India’s first prime minister in the last 40 years to be re-elected with a parliamentary majority.

The BJP on its own is expected to have a little over 300 seats in the Lok Sabha (lower house), more than it had in the outgoing chamber. The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), of which the BJP is a part, will have nearly 350 MPs in the Lok Sabha.

The Congress Party is expected to finish with just 55 seats, albeit 11 more than its 2014 election tally. By most projections, the Congress-led opposition alliance will not even have 100 seats. Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi suffered a major personal setback in the family borough, the constituency of Amethi in northern India, where he lost to a Modi Cabinet minister. But Gandhi won his second seat in Wayanad in the south by a big margin. 

“I concede defeat and congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi for winning the elections,” Gandhi said on Thursday. He has offered to resign from his post in his party’s most powerful organizational body, the Congress Working Committee, but political analysts say it is highly unlikely that his resignation will be accepted.

The margin of the BJP’s victory has come as a surprise to many, with the party not only retaining its seats in the battleground states of northern and western India, but also expanding its footprint in two eastern states: West Bengal and Odisha. “Together, we’ll build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!” Modi tweeted after the results showed the BJP sweeping to victory.

Shashi Shekhar, a New Delhi-based political analyst, told Arab News: “This is a phenomenal election victory that has stumped all the pollsters. The BJP was expected to face a big challenge from the opposition alliance in some of the crucial states, such as Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, which together account for 128 seats. But it seems the narrative of muscular nationalism propagated by the BJP overcame all challenges. There’s a now a genuine fear that if the BJP continues with its old policy of marginalizing religious minorities, India might turn into a majoritarian state. However, I hope Modi’s second term turns out to be more inclusive.”

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Sudheendra Kulkarni, a Mumbai-based political commentator, said: “The Congress Party failed to capture the imagination of the people. The party’s slogans didn’t click with voters the way the BJP’s did.”

Against this backdrop of an imminent decisive win, Modi began to receive messages of congratulations from world leaders on Thursday. Among them was Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. “I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” Khan tweeted.

In his second term, in addition to addressing economic problems at home, Modi will need to keep a close eye on relations with neighboring Pakistan. Bilateral relations remain tense months after they came close to war following a deadly attack in Indian-administered Kashmir on paramilitary soldiers, and an Indian air raid deep inside Pakistan.

“There’s no alternative to dialogue,” said Kulkarni. “We should expect that with a renewed mandate (for Modi’s government), there should be a fresh attempt to engage with Islamabad.”