Cambodian investigative sources said Thursday that mobile phones seized by local authorities after they raided an apartment in Phnom Penh used as a base by over 20 Japanese nationals for alleged fraud were destroyed before the raid.

Photo taken on Sept. 13, 2023, shows an apartment in Phnom Penh, Cambodia that was allegedly being used as a base by over 20 Japanese nationals to commit fraud in Japan. (Kyodo)

The group's members, who have been detained by Cambodian authorities, are suspected of committing multiple cases of fraud in Japan from the location. Investigators from Japan have been sent to Cambodia and the suspects will likely be deported, according to the Japanese police.

Cambodian authorities raided the apartment on Sept. 11 and confiscated dozens of mobile phones, as well as computers and documents that appear to be manuals for committing fraud, the sources said.

About 20 of the phones have been broken, they said. The suspects said that they had been instructed to destroy the phones and documents if people other than the group's members sought to enter the apartment.

There has been a series of cases involving Japanese scam groups using locations in Southeast Asian countries as hideouts. In April, Cambodian authorities deported 19 Japanese nationals over their alleged involvement in phone scams, who were arrested once they were returned to Japan.

Related coverage:

Cambodia deports 19 suspects to Japan over phone scams