Chinese online classifieds platform 58.com has promised to cooperate with authorities in Cambodia following allegations that a Chinese citizen was duped into working for illegal online companies in Sihanoukville.
According to a report by Reuters, the man, named only as Li, has alleged he was kidnapped in mid-2021 after responding to an ad for work as a nightclub bouncer. He said he was then smuggled to Sihanoukville in Cambodia to work on various online fraud schemes before being tortured and having blood drained from his body when he refused. Media reports in Cambodia allege the man had up to 1.5 liters of blood drained every six weeks, putting his life at risk.
It is not clear exactly which online fraud schemes the man is referring to although Sihanoukville is known to be home to illegal online gambling operations.
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a directive in August 2019 that saw the country immediately stop issuing new online gaming licenses and refuse to renew existing licenses as of 1 January 2020.
While 58.com said it had not found any evidence that such an ad had appeared on its platform, the Chinese embassy in Cambodia revealed that at least some of the man’s story was true, stating, “The Chinese embassy in Cambodia once again reminds Chinese citizens who want to work in Cambodia to follow formal channels and not to believe in false adverts for high-paying jobs.”
According to the Reuters report, 58.com is owned by a group of investors backed by private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic.