Cops rescue teens lured to gambling dens

Cops rescue teens lured to gambling dens

That police have repatriated an 18-year-old male and 16-year-old female who were apparently duped into working for an online gambling operation in Cambodia.

The move came after Nidia Wanla asked the media to help her younger brother, Hatthachai Wanla, who went to work in Cambodia with three friends -- Krittapas Suwankun, 18, Issares Akkala, 18, and Aek, 16 -- and a teenage girl named Ms Prissana.

They say they were forced to work for an online gambling outfit and hit a monthly target of 1 million baht. If they failed to make enough money, they were told they would be sold to other groups.

Pol Col Benjapon Rodsawas, superintendent of the provincial immigration office in Trat, said authorities worked with the Royal Thai Embassy in Cambodia as well as other agencies to search for Mr Hatthachai.

After hearing the victim was safe, the Cambodian border agencies agreed to bring the victim back via the Ban Hat crossing, Pol Col Benjapon said. Police also worked with immigration officials in Cambodia to track down Ms Prissana and rescue her from an online gambling den in Koh Kong near the Ban Hat Lek border in Trat.

Upon reaching Cambodia, Ms Prissana was sent to Sihanoukville, before she was later sold to the company in Koh Kong.

Pol Maj Gen Pakorn Maneepakorn, commander of the provincial police in Trat, collected Mr Hatthachai on Friday at 4.30pm while Ms Prissana was picked up about 90 minutes later.

Speaking earlier in the day in his capacity as deputy director of the Child Woman Protection and Anti-Human Trafficking centres, assistant national police chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn said arrest warrants have been issued for over 20 people suspected of trafficking Thais to the neighbouring country, including some Chinese nationals.

So far, Cambodian authorities also rounded up more than 70 Chinese suspects. Thai police hope to help more Thai nationals stuck in Cambodia against their will, they said.

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