Asean Fo­cus Cam­bo­dia de­ports tele­phone fraud sus­pects to China Philip­pines: top N. Korean diplo­mat to join ASEAN meet­ing

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus - 14 JULY 28, 2017

NORTH Korea’s top diplo­mat will at­tend an an­nual Asian se­cu­rity con­fer­ence in Manila, where con­cern over the North’s nu­clear weapons pro­gram is ex­pected to be high on the agenda, Philip­pine of­fi­cials said.

A North Korean del­e­ga­tion led by its vice for­eign min­is­ter flew to Manila on Wed­nes­day to dis­cuss the par­tic­i­pa­tion of North Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Ri Yong Ho in the ASEAN Re­gional Fo­rum, the Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs said.

Ri’s at­ten­dance at the meet­ing is def­i­nite, For­eign Sec­re­tary Alan Peter Cayetano told a news con­fer­ence. The meet­ing is sched­uled on Aug. 7, the depart­ment said.

The 27-mem­ber ARF’S an­nual meet­ings are also at­tended by the for­eign min­is­ters of South Korea, the United States, China, Rus­sia and Ja­pan, coun­tries in­volved in ear­lier six­na­tion talks aimed at tam­ing North Korea’s nu­clear am­bi­tion. North Korea pulled out of the talks in 2009 to protest in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion of a long-range rocket launch.

In May, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son pressed South­east Asian for­eign min­is­ters in a meet­ing at the State Depart­ment to en­sure “leak-proof ” en­force­ment of sanc­tions against North Korea and prevent the na­tion’s diplo­mats from con­duct­ing busi­ness that could ben­e­fit its weapons pro­grams.

The for­eign min­is­ters were from the 10-na­tion ASEAN, which is host­ing next month’s meet­ing.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has been push­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to in­ten­sify diplo­matic and eco­nomic pres­sure on North Korea to dis­man­tle its nu­clear weapons pro­gram be­fore it can pose a di­rect threat to the US main­land. – As­so­ci­ated Press PO­LICE in Cam­bo­dia have de­ported to China 17 tele­phone fraud sus­pects, among hun­dreds of al­leged scam artists who have been caught and ex­pelled in re­cent years.

The 17 were flown out Wed­nes­day from the air­port in Si­hanoukville in south­ern Cam­bo­dia, said the In­te­rior Min­istry’s im­mi­gra­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion chief, Gen. Ouk Hai­seila. An­other 14 sus­pects are sched­uled to leave this weekend from Siem Reap in the northwest, he said.

The two groups were be­ing repa­tri­ated on com­mer­cial flights to dif­fer­ent Chi­nese prov­inces for pros­e­cu­tion, he said.

The gang would tar­get rich peo­ple and civil ser­vants in China, con­tact women over so­cial me­dia, trick them into ex­chang­ing nude or sexy pho­tos then ex­tort money from them by threat­en­ing to cir­cu­late the pic­tures on­line, he said. They also used phone calls made over the in­ter­net for their ac­tiv­i­ties, he said.

Phone scams come in many vari­a­tions. When the au­thor­i­ties in Thai­land this week an­nounced the ar­rests of 44 peo­ple – 19 Chi­nese cit­i­zens and 25 Tai­wanese – sus­pected of run­ning a tele­phone scam, they said the per­pe­tra­tors made calls over the in­ter­net in which they claimed to be bank­ing of­fi­cials and ac­cused their tar­gets of fi­nan­cial crimes.

The tar­gets would then be put in touch with a fake po­lice of­fi­cer – also at the gang’s head­quar­ters – and be told they could escape ar­rest by trans­fer­ring the al­legedly stolen money to a bank ac­count be­long­ing to the scam­mers.

Ouk Hai­seila said po­lice ini­tially iden­ti­fied seven of the group de­tained in Cam­bo­dia as Tai­wanese, but Chi­nese po­lice said they were all Chi­nese cit­i­zens. It was not clear if the Chi­nese as­ser­tion was based on Bei­jing’s long-main­tained claim that Tai­wan is one of its prov­inces.

Cam­bo­dia last Septem­ber de­ported 63 sus­pects, in­clud­ing 13 Tai­wanese, to China over an al­leged in­ter­net scam. Kenya and Malaysia have also de­ported Tai­wanese in­ter­net scam sus­pects to China de­spite protests by Tai­wanese of­fi­cials.

Rights ac­tivists and Tai­wanese au­thor­i­ties say such de­por­ta­tions re­flect the great in­flu­ence China ex­er­cises over Cam­bo­dia through aid and in­vest­ment. – As­so­ci­ated Press

North Korea’s For­eign Min­is­ter Ri Yong-ho (right) shares a light moment with Pe­hin Lim Jock Seng, Brunei’s sec­ond min­is­ter of for­eign af­fairs and trade (cen­tre), and Cam­bo­dian For­eign Min­is­ter Prak Sokhon (left) at the 23rd ASEAN Re­gional Fo­rum in Vi­en­tia

Chi­nese na­tion­als ar­rested over an al­leged in­ter­net scam hide their faces as they are es­corted by po­lice of­fi­cers to be de­ported, at the im­mi­gra­tion of­fice in Ph­nom Penh, Cam­bo­dia, on Wed­nes­day. Photo: AP

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