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Thai Teenagers Rescued from Chinese Gambling Gang

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Police in southeastern Thailand have repatriated two teenagers who were apparently duped into working for an online gambling operation in Cambodia.

Their repatriation came after the sister of one of the teenagers approached the Bangkok Post to help her younger brother, Hatthachai Wanla, who went to work in Cambodia get home.

He and three friends — Krittapas Suwankun, 18, Issares Akkala, 18, and a 16-year-old girl named Miss Prissana went to Cambodia after a Thai job agent offered the work.

The teens claimed they were forced to work for an online gambling site and were required to reach a monthly target of 1 million baht. Those who failed to make enough money would be sold to other groups.

Pol Col Benjapon Rodsawas, superintendent of the Provincial Immigration Office in Trat, said authorities cooperated with the Royal Thai Embassy in Cambodia and other agencies to locate Mr. Hatthachai.

As soon as the Cambodian border agencies learned the victim was safe, they agreed to return him via the Ban Hat crossing, Pol Col Benjapon said.

Sold to online gambling dens

Miss Prissana was also rescued from an online gambling den near Ban Hat Lek near the Cambodian border by police and immigration officials in Koh Kong.

After arriving in Cambodia, Miss Prissana was taken by the company to Sihanoukville, and then sold to Koh Kong.

The chief of the provincial police, Maj Gen Pakorn Maneepakorn, collected Mr. Hatthachai and Miss Prissana about 90 minutes apart on Friday afternoon at 4.30 pm.

Assistant national police chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn said earlier in the day that arrest warrants had been issued for over 20 people suspected of trafficking Thais to the neighboring country, including some Chinese nationals.

More than 70 Chinese suspects have also been arrested by Cambodian authorities. Thai police say they hope to help more Thai nationals trapped in Cambodia against their will.
Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn said Thai officials are still actively searching for more Thai citizens being held against their will by Chinese gangs in Cambodia.

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