Chinese nationals (in orange vests) who were arrested over a suspected Internet scam are escorted by Chinese police before being deported at Phnom Penh International Airport on October 12, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Samrang Pring

Cambodia on Saturday deported 61 Chinese nationals wanted in China on suspicion of extorting money from people there over the Internet and by phone, Cambodian police said.

Several hundred suspected scammers have been arrested in Cambodia, which has emerged as a major center of rackets that have cost the victims billions of dollars.

Pictures sent to Reuters on Saturday showed suspects wearing red shirts with their wrists bound together ahead of the deportation.

Uk Heisela, chief of investigation at Cambodia’s Immigration Department, said Chinese police had arrived to pick up the suspects.

“The Immigration Department deported 61 suspects, including 13 women, who were involved in extortions on the internet,” Uk Heisela said.

Uk Heisela said they had been detained during raids on October 17 and 21 in the capital, Phnom Penh, and in Kandal and Preah Sihanouk provinces.

There were no Taiwanese suspects among the 61. Taipei has been unhappy that Taiwanese extortion suspects have been deported to mainland China in the past and has accused Phnom Penh of acting at the behest of Beijing.

Beijing considers self-ruled Taiwan sovereign territory, while Cambodia is one of mainland China’s closest allies in Southeast Asia.

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