Trafficked Indians, Malays and Chinese rescued from casino, Vietnamese repatriated
In this file photo, surgeons perform a transplant of a heart from a genetically modified pig, a first of its kind procedure, to a patient in Baltimore, Maryland, on Jan 7, 2022. Authorities in Taiwan have arrested three suspected members of an 'organ-harvesting ring' that lured victims known as 'piglets' to Cambodia.
Authorities in Taiwan have arrested three people in connection with an "organ harvesting" ring that lured victims with false promises of high-paid jobs in Cambodia where they were told regular health checks were mandatory and subjected to X-rays.
After X-ray, the victims — referred to as “piglets” — would have their organs such as kidneys and liver removed “under the guise of an allegedly mandatory epidemic prevention”, the Taiwan News reported. The organs were then sold.
It said three people named Lin, Tsai and Hsieh, were indicted on Oct 19 for violating the Human Trafficking Prevention Act with a petition filed with the Taoyuan District Court. The three had formed a “snakehead gang” responsible for international human trafficking.
The report said Lin was responsible for finding organ buyers, Tsai and another man under investigation “were in charge of managing the departure of the ‘piglets’ from Taiwan” while Hsieh was tasked with finding victims.
Indictments were filed after Taoyuan prosecutors, investigating a fraud case tied to Cambodia, found a mobile phone belonging to Lin who described a victim duped into traveling to this country to have their organs harvested.
The report, translated into English from Chinese, said Lin could be heard using terms such as “full dismantlement” meaning that the heart, liver, kidney, and cornea could be removed.
“These stories are all fabricated"
Videos, widely dismissed as fake, of organ harvesting have circulated online as Cambodian authorities continued a crackdown on Chinese criminal syndicates blamed for luring here thousands of Asians who were forced to work a range of fraudulent telecom scams.
Cambodia is sensitive to criticism, particularly ahead of the ASEAN and East Asian leaders summit to be held here in November, the Southeast Asian Games in May and national elections to be held in July next year, when international scrutiny of this country is expected to intensify.
Last month the Cambodian government rejected allegations of organ harvesting and the sale of body parts for transplants on the black market, amid a massive wave of human trafficking which emerged earlier this year.
The allegations were made in Hong Kong and Taiwan but Chou Bun Eng, the permanent vice-chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking, dismissed them, saying “These stories are all fabricated.”
Cambodian media has been awash with human trafficking reports since March with thousands of people escaping from “slave compounds” and other businesses like casinos after they were forced to work under threat of torture, including beatings and electrocution.
Two days ago authorities said 75 victims believed trafficked from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam were rescued from a casino in the western province of Oddar Meanchey.
"Cambodia is being used as a place to commit transnational crimes"
That came after another 226 Vietnamese were repatriated at the border after they were rescued during an operation in late September in southern port town of Sihanoukville, which has emerged as the epicenter for traffickers.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng said the government must continue to support both Cambodians and foreigners who were affected by human trafficking while calling for the continued suppression of all crimes, including drug trafficking and illegal online gambling.
“I emphasize that Cambodia is being used as a place to commit transnational crimes,” he said during the inauguration of a state-of-the-art firearms training facility for police on Oct 19, adding those crimes were committed by international syndicates and not Cambodians.
In July, the United States dropped Cambodia to Tier 3, the lowest rank on its trafficking index, for failing to “meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.”
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