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Cambodia: Taiwanese streamers jailed for fake kidnapping

February 16, 2024

A Taiwanese influencer has staged an eleborate hoax that involved him pretending to be kidnapped and then escaping his captors, according to a Cambodian court.

Cambodian police pictured in Phnom Penh
The Taiwanese nationals were convicted on charges of 'incitement and causing social disorder' at a trial held on ThursdayImage: Heng Sinith/AP Photo/picture alliance

A court in Cambodia on Friday sentenced two Taiwanese men to two years imprisonment for staging a kidnapping from a seaside resort and posting video of it online.

Chen Neng-chuan, who goes by the handle "Goodnight Chicken" and Lu Tsu-hsien known as "Anow," were arrested after posting fake videos on Facebook of themselves being beaten and detained by security guards, according to the Preah Sihanouk provincial court.

Streaming from a 'scam park'

Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA) reported that the coastal city of Sihanoukville — in southwestern Cambodia — gained notoriety for harboring numerous scam compounds that enticed people — including some Taiwanese nationals — with promises of well-paid jobs before forcing victims into carrying out scams. In August, the United Nations warned that hundreds of thousands of people in Southeast Asia were being coerced by criminal syndicates into carrying out online scams, often under the threat of torture and sexual violence.

Cambodia: Chinese investors in Sihanoukville

CNA reported that one of the men live-streamed a video on Monday night in which he claimed to have broken into a "scam park."

In the video, it appears as if he is chased and beaten up by unseen attackers. The streamer's wife also posted a video of herself in tears over her husband's alleged disappearance.

The second video posted by the Taiwanese influencer shows him claiming to have escaped. In this video, he shows injuries and describes being robbed, tied up, beaten and assaulted with a stun gun, CNA said.

Found guilty of ‘incitement and causing social disorder'

The stunt and its aftermath grabbed headlines in Taiwan, although Chen Neng-chuan's story was questioned online, and Taiwanese officials said no police report was filed. The island's diplomats said they received no requests for help.

"Both men had entered Cambodia to produce slanderous videos related to human trafficking, detention with torture, rape and selling human organs," the court said.

The pair were convicted on charges of "incitement and causing social disorder" at a trial held on Thursday.

Along with the two years in jail, both were ordered to pay a fine amounting to $2,000 (€1,858).

kb,dj (AFP, DW sources)