Cambodia trafficking racket: Two more agents held

Visakhapatnam police have formed special teams to trace the main perpetrators behind the network.
Representative Image
Representative Image

VISAKHAPATNAM: Visakhapatnam Police on Sunday arrested two more agents involved in the human trafficking racket, in which unemployed youth were lured with lucrative job opportunities in Chinese companies in countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand.

The two accused have been identified as Kolukula Veerandranath and Kommu Praveen Kumar. Veerandranath, an engineering graduate from Gajuwaka, promised substantial commissions for sending computer system operators to Cambodia.

Since 2023, Veerandranath has sent 17 youths with computer skills and good English speaking abilities to Cambodia on the pretext of legitimate employment. The youngsters were charged Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.2 lakh each, of which Rs 30,000 was retained by Veerandranath as commission.

During interrogation, it was revealed that these youths were forced to create fake profiles on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, using photos of attractive women to lure high-profile individuals in India.

The scam involved persuading these targets to invest large sums of money in fraudulent companies with promises of high returns from trading and cryptocurrency investments. Once in Cambodia, the youths were sold to Chinese companies for $2,500 to $4,000 each, depending on their skills, with Veerandranath receiving Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per person.

These companies would then detain the youngsters in dark rooms, compelling them to commit various cyber crimes using pre-written scripts. Those who resisted were tortured and deprived of food and water.

The youths were given only 1% of the earnings from their activities, with the rest pocketed by the companies. The ill-gotten gains were often spent on entertainment, gambling, and other illicit activities to keep the youths entangled in the criminal network.

The racket was exposed following an investigation by Visakhapatnam Police Commissioner Dr A Ravi Shankar and Visakhapatnam City Cyber Crime Inspector K Bhavani Prasad. Their efforts, including Operation Cambodia, successfully rescued 25 youths who had fallen victim to the scam.

Earlier, three agents - Chukka Rajesh Vijay Kumar, Mannena Gnaneswara Rao, and Sabbavarapu Kondala Rao - were arrested in connection with the human trafficking racket.

The scam has affected individuals from various regions, including Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, Rajahmundry, Anantapur, Palasa, Tuni and Anakapalli. Unemployed youth in States of Telangana and Kolkata were also targetted.

Visakhapatnam police have formed special teams to trace the main perpetrators behind the network. Further, police urged the victims to contact Cyber Crime Inspector K Bhavani Prasad at 9490617917 or control room at 0891-2565454, or the CP’s WhatsApp number at 9493336633.

For immediate reporting and potential recovery of lost money, victims can also dial 1930.

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The New Indian Express