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This bungling national police chief admits he was fooled by this spoof video of a gang of shirtless, heavily tattooed young men posing as ‘Triad gangsters’ threatening to take over a resort.
The clip, in which the menacing-looking fake thugs vowed to take control of Sihanoukville – Cambodia’s premier tourist resort, proved popular among viewers on social media.
The group, who claimed to be from south-western China’s city of Chongqing city, threatened to bring chaos to the city with three years of crime.
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The leader of the gang can be heard saying in the video: “Sihanoukville within the next three years, whether it be safe or chaotic, will be under my control.”
He then turns to his men and asks: “Am I right?”, and they raise their fists in support and bellow: “Yes!”, in reply.
Cambodia’s national police chief General Neth Savoeun took the video seriously and pledged to bring the gang to justice.
Chinese officials even agreed to cooperate but all was not as it seemed and General Savoeun later had to admit he had been taken in.
His officers eventually determined the clip was an old one and the ‘gang’ was not even in Cambodia.
He said: “After investigating, we found the video clip is old, and the gang of Chinese men is not staying in Sihanoukville.”
Chinese media later reported the video had been made by a group of friends for fun during a holiday in Sihanoukville.
The man who posed as the gang leader in the clip was quoted as saying they had made about 20 such videos and tried to post them on the popular video-sharing app TikTok.
Sihanoukville, at the tip of a peninsula in south-western Cambodia, is flanked by almost uninterrupted beaches and has seen a huge upsurge in visitors since the late 20th century.
But locals have become concerned about rising crime rates after massive investment, mostly by Chinese developers, led to numerous casinos and nightclubs opening up.
Cambodia’s Interior Ministry last year created a taskforce to support local cops amidst fears Chinese criminal organisations were infiltrating the city.