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NIA Launches Nationwide Crackdown Against Illegal Agents Recruiting For Cambodia, Laos Scam Compounds

– NIA’s multi-state operation leads to the arrest of five individuals involved in human trafficking and cyber fraud, spanning seven states and UTs.
– The investigation uncovered a network luring Indian youths with false job promises abroad.



Embassy of India Reclaims Nationals Trapped in Cambodia

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested five individuals connected to a complex human trafficking and cyber fraud syndicate. This coordinated operation, conducted on Monday, spanned 15 locations across seven states and Union Territories (UTs), leading to the registration of eight new FIRs and the seizure of incriminating materials.

The NIA’s extensive raids targeted locations in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, and Chandigarh. The five arrested suspects have been identified as Manish Hingu from Vadodara, Pahlad Singh from Gopalganj, Nabialam Ray from South-West Delhi, Balwant Kataria aka Bobby Kataria from Gurugram, and Sartaj Singh from Chandigarh.

The Operation and Arrests

An NIA spokesperson detailed the joint effort with state police forces and central intelligence agencies, aimed at dismantling a network that lured Indian youths with false promises of high-paying jobs in Cambodia, Laos, and the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Once these youths were taken abroad, they were forced to work in fraudulent call centers, controlled primarily by foreign nationals. These centers operated illegal online activities such as credit card fraud, cryptocurrency scams, and honey trapping.

“The searches led to the seizure of several incriminating materials including documents, digital devices, handwritten registers, multiple passports, and bogus overseas employment letters,” the spokesperson explained. “Eight fresh FIRs have been registered by different state and UT police forces, and five accused have been arrested.”

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The Modus Operandi

The investigation revealed a disturbing trend. The arrested individuals were part of an organized trafficking network that preyed on vulnerable Indian youths. They promised these young individuals lucrative jobs abroad, but the reality was far more sinister. Upon arrival in countries like Cambodia, Laos, and the Golden Triangle SEZ, these youths found themselves trapped in a web of deceit and exploitation.

The Lure and the Trap: The traffickers targeted youths from various Indian states, including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana. They used enticing job offers to lure their victims, offering them the prospect of earning substantial money in foreign call centers. However, once these youths reached their destination, the dream quickly turned into a nightmare.

Forced Into Cybercrime: Instead of legitimate employment, the youths were coerced into working in fake call centers. These centers were hubs of cybercrime, where the victims were forced to participate in activities such as credit card fraud, fraudulent cryptocurrency investments using fake applications, and honey trapping. The syndicate, largely operated by foreign nationals, ran a highly organized and profitable operation.

ALSO READ: After Revolt in Cambodian Scam Compounds, MHA and MEA Swing into Action: Here’s How They’re Fighting Back

International Coordination

Further investigations uncovered that the arrested individuals were coordinating with international traffickers to facilitate illegal border crossings of Indian youths from Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam to the Laos SEZ. These operations were meticulously planned and executed by well-organized syndicates with significant presence in India and abroad. The syndicates had deep connections in several Indian states, as well as in countries like the UAE, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

Cross-Border Operations: The syndicates managed to exploit the vulnerabilities of their victims by manipulating them into illegal activities, promising them safety and prosperity. However, these youths were trapped in a cycle of exploitation and fear, unable to escape the clutches of their captors.

NIA’s Commitment

The NIA’s operation, which began with the Mumbai case on May 13, 2024, marks a crucial step in the agency’s relentless fight against organized crime. This extensive investigation and subsequent arrests highlight the NIA’s unwavering commitment to dismantling such criminal networks and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Ongoing Investigations: The investigation remains active, with further arrests and seizures anticipated. The NIA is dedicated to uncovering the full extent of the syndicate’s operations, ensuring that all involved parties face the consequences of their actions.

For the latest updates on this case and other related news, stay tuned to our platform. This comprehensive coverage aims to keep readers informed and aware of the ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking and cyber fraud.


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