Cambodian Cyber Fraud: Rescuing Trapped Indians

Image depicting the Cambodian cyber fraud crisis, showing over 5,000 Indians trapped in Cambodia and forced into carrying out cyber frauds
Cambodian Cyber Fraud: Rescuing Trapped Indians

The Government of India has disclosed alarming estimates, suggesting that more than 5,000 Indian nationals are ensnared in Cambodia, allegedly held against their will to execute cyber fraud schemes aimed at Indian citizens. Over the past six months, these fraudulent activities have reportedly siphoned off a staggering sum of at least Rs 500 crore.

In response to this crisis, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has convened a meeting involving various governmental bodies and security experts to formulate a comprehensive strategy for the rescue and repatriation of the trapped Indians.

Investigations conducted by central agencies have unraveled the intricate workings of the Cambodian cyber fraud syndicate. Agents predominantly target individuals, primarily from southern India, under the guise of offering data entry positions. Upon arrival in Cambodia, these individuals are coerced into perpetrating scams against their compatriots back home. Some are even compelled to engage in extortion tactics, masquerading as law enforcement officials.

The revelation of this nefarious network came to light following the apprehension of eight individuals by the Rourkela Police in Odisha on December 30. These arrests exposed a cyber-crime ring involved in trafficking individuals to Cambodia.

Efforts to rescue the victims have been underway, with three individuals from Bengaluru successfully repatriated through collaborative efforts between the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Non-Resident Indian Forum of the Government of Karnataka (NRIFK).

The modus operandi of the fraudsters has been elucidated by the Rourkela Police, shedding light on the harrowing experiences endured by the victims. Initially, they were coerced into joining fraudulent enterprises in Phnom Penh, where they were compelled to assume false identities on dating platforms to lure unsuspecting victims into cryptocurrency investment scams. Subsequently, they were transferred to another entity specializing in investment fraud, coercing victims into investing in fictitious stocks through a counterfeit online application. Victims were subjected to brutal coercion tactics, including physical violence, electric shocks, and solitary confinement, should they resist participating in the scams.

Intensive investigations by the Rourkela Police have yielded crucial intelligence regarding the operational infrastructure of the fraudulent enterprises, identifying key operatives of Indian and Nepalese origin. Pursuant to this, efforts are underway to enlist the assistance of Interpol to apprehend the masterminds behind this sprawling criminal network.

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