Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association

Police Raid Jin Bei Casino, Confirming It’s a Labor Dispute Not Online Scam Ops

A screenshot of the police raid on Indian workers at Jin Bei casino in Preah Sihanouk posted by Cyber Scam Monitor on May 21, 2024.
A screenshot of the police raid on Indian workers at Jin Bei casino in Preah Sihanouk posted by Cyber Scam Monitor on May 21, 2024.

The Cyber Scam Monitor posted videos of police surrounding a group of workers at a basketball court within the Jin Bei 4 casino compound in Sihanoukville on Monday, which police have denied any connection to a crackdown on online scam.

Preah Sihanouk police chief Sar Ratha confirmed that the police raided the Jin Bei 4 casino and questioned 57 Indian nationals over a labor conflict. “It’s a labor conflict, there is no crackdown,” he said.

“We’re working on the paperwork for those who wish to return to their country,” Ratha said. When a reporter asked if the case involved online scam, he replied, “it is not.”

Provincial Information Department director Or Saroeun, who is also the spokesperson, told CamboJA News that the police are not allowed to disseminate any information. 

“The police​​ work is confidential, so we can’t share information yet,” Saroeun said.

The Indian embassy in Phnom Penh did not respond to questions by CamboJA News via email.

However, around 8pm on Tuesday, Indian Ambassador to Cambodia Devyani Khobragade announced that they had been in touch with several of their citizens who reached out to them after being evacuated by the authorities.

The Cambodian authorities informed the embassy that about 60 Indian nationals had been sent from Sihanouville to Phnom Penh and will be repatriated to India with the embassy’s assistance, including issuing travel documents.

“The embassy is in constant touch with the Cambodian authorities and necessary assistance and guidance are being provided to these Indian nationals on their way back to India,” Devyani said in a statement which was posted on the embassy’s Facebook page.

The embassy has issued several advisories to alert Indian nationals seeking jobs in Cambodia, cautioning them not to fall prey to unauthorized agents and not to indulge in practices contrary to the purpose of the visa.

“They have also been advised to not undertake illegal cyber crimes,” Devyani said, adding that as of now, over 360 Indian nationals have been rescued or repatriated to India through their intervention.

Jin Bei is a casino complex based in Sihanoukville, which is often cited by trafficked victims as a venue where online scams operate.

The U.S State Department downgraded Cambodia in their trafficking in persons report and recommended the government to increase law enforcement to shut down scam compounds and prosecute officials complicit in these crimes.

An Rama, regional project officer at Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL) in Sihanoukville, expressed concern that the overall situation, relating to online scam operations still occurred, and might impact investment, tourism and security.

“Yes, it might affect foreign investors because they saw the arrest and there wasn’t good management [security]. They might not feel secure investing,” he said. 

“Secondly, when there is an online scam, insecurity is caused by foreigners running business in Sihanoukville,” Rama added.

Sok Veasna, director-general of the General Department of Immigration, declined to comment.

National Police spokesperson Chhay Kim Khoeun also declined to comment, referring questions to provincial spokesperson Long Dimanche, who not could not be reached for comment. Interior Ministry spokesperson Touch Sokhak was also not contactable.

Note: This article has been updated following an official statement issued by the Indian embassy in Cambodia on Tuesday evening.