Man sells son's friends to Cambodia

By Le Tan   August 26, 2022 | 01:27 am PT
Man sells son's friends to Cambodia
A Chinese casino in Cambodia, September 27, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Samrang Pring
A habitual criminal in Hai Phong is now under investigation for allegedly tricking his son's friends and trafficking them to Cambodia to work in a casino.

According to police in the northern city, Nguyen Van Anh, 45, had been jailed four times for various crimes.

During his last stint, he got in touch with two inmates nicknamed Vang and Cau, and met them on his release in 2020. By then they were working for a gang that smuggled people aged 18-40 to Cambodia for working, and offered intermediaries commissions.

Anh decided to join them, targeted a group of his son's friends and approached three boys and a girl aged 16-17, all Hai Phong residents.

He developed close relationships with the children and even offered to be their "adoptive father."

They had dropped out of school and wanted to find jobs to support their families, and Anh capitalized on this to persuade them to go to Cambodia for work.

The police said that in late March he told the four that a friend of his, based in Cambodia, was recruiting young workers and promised them salaries of VND18-20 million ($770-855) a month.

He then contacted Vang and Cau and arranged for them to smuggle the children into Cambodia.

Nguyen Van Anh. Photo by the police

Nguyen Van Anh. Photo by the police

Only when they reached that country did the four realize they had been sold to work in a casino for a price of $2,400 each.

If they wanted to return home, each had to pay at least $2,400 or would be sold elsewhere in Cambodia, they told the police after returning to Vietnam.

The children called their families, who contacted the casino's managers to pay the ransom. One of the families paid $2,600 and the rest paid $10,000 each, the police said.

They filed a complaint against Nguyen Van Anh.

But even before their return, Anh had been arrested for carrying 400 grams of meth and 1,000 ecstasy pills in neighboring Quang Ninh Province.

On Monday Colonel Khong Ngoc Oanh of the Ministry of Public Security told a meeting in Hanoi that thousands of people could have been smuggled to Cambodia to be exploited, and rescuing them would be difficult.

Most trafficked workers were promised "easy jobs with high wages" only to be taken to casinos and production facilities where they virtually help prisoners, he said.

Recently making headlines were 42 Vietnamese who tried to escape from a casino in Cambodia's Kandal Province and return to Vietnam by swimming across a river in An Giang Province. But only 40 of them succeeded, with a 16-year-old boy drowning and the other being recaptured by the casino.

Cambodian police have completed procedures to repatriate another 25 Vietnamese tricked into Cambodian casinos, including the one recaptured.

In the first half of this year, Vietnamese police in cooperation with Cambodian authorities have managed to rescue over 250 people.

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