Scumbag Scallan Does Scambodia

Posted on by Pedro Milladino


There comes a point in many people’s lives when the urge to escape life becomes overwhelming. Fleeing from bank debts, failed businesses, relationship breakdowns, loan sharks, drug dealers and illegitimate children happens often enough, and is sometimes justified and sometimes not. Countries with large, anonymous cities – Dundee or Penzance, Wichita Falls or San Jose – make it easier to leg it to

Back in the ‘good old days’ of decent chirpy cockney criminals, you’d have to rob a train in order to live the quiet life in a Rio suburb, or make away with a shit load of gold bullion and spend out your days in a beach side villa outside Marbella.

With the rise of cheap airline travel, it’s never been easier for anybody with a passport to pack up a bag full of someone else’s money/drugs and do a bunk to sunnier climes where a new identity can be forged without resorting to plastic surgery.

Cambodia is brimming with undesirables: it’s a veritable haven for the mad, bad and dispossessed. Many settle down well enough, keeping their heads below the radar; however, for others, old habits die hard and they swiftly return to their old tricks.

Unfortunately for the latter group, this is a small country with very few places to hide and, having no passport or valid visa will inevitably lead to the ne’er-do-wells being screwed harder than the only hooker in town when the entire US Pacific Fleet steams into harbour.

I’d like to introduce you to one of these perpetual lowlifes: Michael Nicholls/Mike the Fat Liar/Mike the Crackhead Pizza Chef/Mike Scallen.

Now this guy rolled into the bar one morning with a rather far-fetched sob story that went a little somethinglike this;

Living in Thailand, Mr Michael and his Cambodian wife decided to do a visa run at Poipet. Somehow, between the 2 border posts, he’d had the misfortune of losing both passport and wallet full of cash, relieved from him by an uncaring jao. Somehow a delightfully caring border cop had let him through the checkpoint with help of his Khmer wife. Michael’s father back in Blighty was sending him some cash, but with no passport or ID, he was looking either for a job to tidy him over or for some kind fellow countryman to lend him a few bucks until he could arrange a money transfer. Now he was stuck with his in-laws, residing in a shack somewhere nearby.

Having grown up in a city full of junkies and blaggers, it’s easy enough to spot a smackanory. He didn’t appreciate any form mild interrogation and, sensing we could smell the aromatic stench of horseshit, he gave us a clammy limp handshake and made his way off to rehash his tall tales to the rest of town. Never trust a man with such a poor handshake.

The story screamed drugs, with the only thing in his favour his bloated, borderline obese stature. Junkies can’t be that blubberous it was agreed – with the exceptions of Diego Maradonna and Fat Matt from Croydon.

A golden rule with scamming must be consistency and keeping the tales of woe identical each telling!

The next restaurant was treated to another monologue, this time on how his evil Cambodian in-laws had robbed him of $10k, and he’d come over from Thailand to track his missing moolah down. Of course the passport and wallet theft remained an integral part of the story, but his recent unfair treatment at the hands of his fellow countrymen (us, in previous bar) gave the sad sorrowful story a little extra padding. He was told to jog on there too.

Eventually, someone did take him and his ‘wife’ of 5 years at face value glossing over the inconsistencies with the lure of 7 years top chef experience. Our friend was warned, but chose the benefit of the doubt over common sense. Bloody hippies.

The next time Fat Mike surfaced was when a slightly naive friend, Chunk from the Poipet trip, announced he had found a bargain apartment. The too-good-to-be-true offer of a lifetime was thus;

“I rented this place for me and my Cambodian family. The rent is already paid, 6 months in advance for $100 a month. We’re moving into a villa, and so not to let anybody down, I’ll let it go for $80 + the deposit I’ve paid.”

Now, a red flag was raised over this, and what with Chunk not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, he was persuaded that this probably had S.C.A.M. stamped all over it. Luckily, he listened to our sage advice on this occasion.

Then along came the stories of many a white man’s downfall – crystal death amphetamine. I just love it when my preconceptions turn out to be spot on, so when a little bird told me about the amount cash Mr Mike was splurging on the filth, I could foresee tears before bedtime, if not sooner.

By now, Mike Nicholls had used somebody else’s money to open up a hole in the wall pizza shop and out of curiosity, boredom and the desire to wind fatty up a bit, I decided to pay a visit.

All it took was the mention of one name for the cranked chubber to break into a sweat, his eyes as wide as saucers.

‘Keep walking’ he said ‘You’re not welcome’.
‘Lay off the pipe, son’ I replied.

Pathological Lies + hard drugs + poor customer service doth not a success make, and as a preemptive strike, he complained about how I was picking on him to anyone who’d listen.

Then the scamming came; lots of it and quickly.

One of my sidelines is provincial sales for a company in Phnom Penh. One morning the big boss called excitedly regarding a new customer in Battambang called Mr Richard. Mr Richard had contacted head office personally and requested $600 of stock on credit for a bar that didn’t exist. The mysterious Richard did have a phone number, but strangely the owner hung up when I called. Some amateur sleuthing confirmed the origin of the order. Have three guesses who the potential customer was.

Not long after, in a meth-fuelled frenzy, our villain left the guy who had given him the ‘benefit-of-the-doubt’ in the lurch and out of pocket, buggering off across the same street to open a new hole-in-the-wall with the next sap who took him in, and again fronted the cash.

Things moved quickly after this. The original injured party, the one with misplaced trust, did a bit of detective work himself and found some very interesting information about his former employee. Mike Scallan, as his true identity has been revealed to be, is something of a famous scammer around the country – even meriting his own webpage with a photo of the fugitive and his missing passport (a one year issue, presumably because previous ones had been ‘lost or stolen’) and a visa expired in November.

“Michael (Mike) Scallan, confidence man from Sheffield England, has traveled over the world cleverly tricking people out of money and property.

He is wanted by for questioning by police in Sihanoukville Cambodia over theft and fraud allegations and is by all accounts very smooth ‘operator’ so, if you are reading this in Cambodia and have already been taken, contact this Facebook page”

Here is another place to ask for help.

This perp is a classic confidence or ‘con’ man. He has many ‘stories’, all of which seem plausible upon hearing. He has replaced his passport many times, using that as collateral for goods and money loans, so don’t fall for that one.

So Mr Michael has been a naughty boy down on the coast, and judging by the wealth of complaints on the closed Facebook group Cambodia Scammers! (well worth joining if you are a business owner), he stands accused of confidence trickery, fraud, drug smuggling and thievery of motos and generators in Phnom Penh/SHK.

He even merited a brief mention sans photo on the K440 forum and those who have been conned include connected Cambodians = and that is a rather dangerous game for Scallen the Scammer to play.

The Kampuchea Kops were notified up Battambang way, with complaints lodged by victims across the kingdom. However because it was a Friday no action could possibly be taken until the following Monday: both cops and robbers enjoy the weekend up in the provinces.

Sensing the net closing, and following a tip-off, Scallen the Scammer absconded sharpish on the Sunday, gathering his few belongings, ice addict wife (not his real wife as it turned out), ice addict mother-in-law (again not real, but what a looker) and a couple of counterfeit kids he’d somehow collected over his short Cambodian criminal career, along with his business partner’s rent money.

Left in his wake remain a trail of debts, again not only confined to well-intentioned expats, but also local Khmers who generously helped him ‘get back on his feet’.

With capital and coast baying for Scallen’s blood, and Battambang now fully aware of his antics, there are fewer and fewer places a fat boy can hide and, with $1500 and rising in overstay fines inside a confiscated passport, escape seems unlikely, but I’d love to see him try to sneak his fat arse across the Thai border being shot at by Siamese paramilitaries.

Of course a fool and his money are easily parted and people should know better, especially in a place like Cambodia, where corruption and ineptitude on the part of the powers-that-be create an environment where shysters and fraudsters can flourish, albeit for a short while. But this is a small country with limited scope for escape- and no Dundee or Penzanceto hide in. And this man has the talent to spin a yarn: the proof being the increasing number of people actively hunting him down.

So ex-pats beware, keep an eye out in Siem Reap, most likely his next port of call. The hard luck stories may change, but the fraudulent antics won’t. The end of the road will most likely be a 1 way trip to the nearest body of water the moment he is finally caught bang to rights. There’s no need to be a vigilante (but any beatings would create kudos and deserve a few beers, plus perhaps a cash reward). Most importantly, info will be appreciated by those who have lost out.

There are Mike Scallens everywhere and they don’t last. When the story of a white man found face down in the Tonle Sap breaks, or pictures hit the local tabloids of a sorry looking fat Barang handcuffed to a pair of skinny cops, remember the warning. The sooner these people disappear from the society, the better the life of ‘honest’ exiles becomes.

I’ll finish with a quote from the Cambodia Scammers! Facebook page- by one of the many disgruntled folk who have crossed path with our subject and which was posted the day after his Battambang disappearing act. Stay safe out there – and don’t have nightmares.

Pedro Milladino

This entry was posted in Commentary, News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Scumbag Scallan Does Scambodia

  1. nicolas grey says:

    thanks for the article…it was a great read..!! just wanted to say, people like this pray on the most good natured of people, and while a valuable lesson should be learnt, i.e, a little drop of suspicion is not a bad trait, they are still victims of crime, its just the weapon was a smile and an act, not a gun, but what was taken was more than money, a little trust and goodness as well.

  2. Dermot Sheehan says:

    How the hell do you know Fat Matt? He’s an old friend of mine and might have caned it a bit, but was never a junkie when I knew him, although to be fair I haven’t seen him in over a decade.

  3. Ben says:

    Hopefully “local” justice will take care of this maggot. At the same time, how do people actually fall for his crap? A little pre-lending diligence, perhaps?

  4. Bloody Hippy says:

    Good article.

    Mr Scallan is a very smooth operator, that’s true… He did not leave the hole in the wall Pizza shop though, he was fired. Partly because of his use of ice, which he was hiding in the kitchen and partly because he was opening another Pizza shop with somebody else 10 metres down the road and didn’t seem to see any conflict of interests!

    To those of you who’ve commented, “how can people fall for this crap”, well, Scallan, doesn’t just come straight out and ask for a loan… 2 of the people here in Battambang lost money because they were using him as a consultant helping to prepare their restaurants for opening… He went to Phnom Penh with a list of things to buy, which he did and then those things mysteriously “disappeared” from his appartment… His first excuse was that his mother in law had lost his keys and somebody had come in and taken it all! His excuse to the other person was, “Well you say you haven’t got them and I say that I haven’t got them” It was after that load of bullshit that the detective work began…

    Mr Scallan gains peoples trust by hard work, the restaurants he opened in Battambang he practically built single handedly… We know now that he had a little bit of chemical help, but, it’s difficult to doubt someone when they are putting so much effort into something that isn’t theirs…

    Scallan, now, hopefully has gone, although there was an unconfirmed sighting of him in town yesterday morning… He has no passport or visa and has very little money, as the author of the above article says, Siem Reap is pretty much the only place left that he hasn’t plied his trade, so be aware…

  5. Horatio Hornblower says:

    How do people fall for the transparently predatory ruses employed by these diabolical ice addicts? Because they are wet-brained alcoholics who are lucky to remember their own names much less keep this guy’s tall tales straight and the only thing they’ve got going for them is that the drug they are addicted to isn’t universally outlawed but sold openly and cheaply everywhere. Scallan is a cocksucker, but he’d be a cocksucker alcoholic if he preferred his ice in a glass of whiskey instead of a pipe. Crying about meth is a boring old trope at this point, trotting it out as if it’s the most damning thing you can say about him, and I guess it probably is given Cambodia’s large population of hypocritical alcoholic sexpats.

  6. Tipsymimi says:

    On 13th of August the fat bastard was seen in Siem Reap. Be aware of him and PLEASE! Treat him like the piece of shit he is… treat him like a football, if you like :)

  7. Karl Hungus says:

    That must be a pre-ice pic. I have never seen any chronic meth user remain that fat. Either he has unique metabolism or the meth he uses is of very poor quality.

  8. Hey Zues Chris Tu says:

    Could you rewrite this in American (world standard) English, so the 99.9% of English-speakers who don’t come from whatever section of London you’re from can understand it?


    • Travelkat says:

      Hey Zues. Just thought I’d let you know that English was invented by the English. Americanese is not world standard.

      Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the article and understood every word.

  9. Yes, if you wouldn’t give a dime to a child begging, why would you lend money to a fat white guy? Is it some form of cultural association that makes you think this guy is good whereas people selling bracelets at Angkor Wat are bad?

    Just this morning, I had a “high end” web developer reject my business because he saw a profile that said I lived in Ho Chi Minh City (I did for a month earlier this year). For him to reject me (someone from his own country) for living overseas – arguably some form of negative racial association – is ridiculous. As if scammers never come from the country WE’RE from?

  10. Obese Maurice says:

    I’m not defending what he has done, but a scammer is a scammer regardless of race, religion, or body type. Why the constant derogatory comments towards fat people? Do you enjoy being called a dirty pommy?

  11. Jack says:

    It would be a long laundry list of people he ripped off in Sihanouk when he was there. Stolen music equipment, large amounts of money borrowed from various people. I hope Mike ends up in a prison here. He is very good at suckering people into giving him money. The bar he opened in Sihanouk …. he charged huge amounts of beer from Cambodia brewing company… then sold the kegs before skipping town.
    He borrowed hundreds of dollars from various people. One technique he uses is to ask if you know any loan sharks…. where he would pay huge interest…. as a way to get someone to feel sorry for him… usually asking for hundreds of dollars…. because a bank transfer he is waiting for was somehow lost or mixed up. That guy needs to be removed from Cambodia or stuck in some prison for a while.

  12. Jack says:

    There is a mini discussion on Mike Scam-artist Scallen happening here if anyone can add to it with new information

  13. Sadly but i have to agree many people go to cambodia for the wrong reasons. Hopefully the government can really change for the better.

  14. Conned Habesha says:

    Cambodia was not Mike Scallen’s first target. He has a history here in Ethiopia.

    On March 13, 2011 Mike Scallan fled Ethiopia with at least 4,000 Euros of other peoples money. This text will outline what is known about the situation.

    Upon arrival in Ethiopia Mike repeatedly attempted to coerce the British Embassy to pay for his lodging based on a pretext that he was poor, a story betrayed by his lavish lifestyle and clothing.

    Either way, Mike managed to use this story to stay in the Winston Churchill hotel for a number of weeks without paying, on the promise to the owner that the Embassy would ultimately pay. Eventually, the owner of the Winston Churchill (Mrs. Azeb) kicked him out, and seized his passport until he paid for his room. When Mike did pay Mrs. Azeb back many months later, he did so with other peoples money, in order to retrieve his passport and flee the country.

    For the next three month, Mike stayed at the Wutma Hotel, located on Mundy Street. During this time Mike grew into the position of informal manager of the Wutma, routinely changing money for tourists on the black market, booking tours, and generally giving advice to build trust.

    Over time, Mike managed to built enough trust to borrow a considerable amount of money from foreigners and locals alike. At the time Mike fled the country, he had the following funds of other people:

    2,500 US dollars from a pair of Indians for money changing
    500 Euros from a pair of Finish tourists for money changing
    250 US dollars from an American to hold a birthday party for her at the Wutma
    25,500 Brr from Wutma staff members lent to him as a personal favour
    2,500 Brr from myself, a UK citizen, for a deposit on a bike rental

    This is not an exhausted list, this is just what is known at the current time. It is very likely that he has other money from local friends and tourists who do not yet know Mike has fled.

    True to form, Mike even lied to the taxi driver who dropped him off at the airport (a friend he had known for months), saying that he was just checking out flights, and would pay him when he got back.

    Mike has also left a behind a fiancee- the second girl he has been engaged to in the last five months.

    It is believed at this time by the parties involved that Mike is a professional con-man, who systematically moves from country to country, establishing himself locally, in order to build trust and borrow funds.

    Though we accept that prosecution of Michael Scallan will be impossible unless he returns to Ethiopia, we hope that this note will serve as a warning to the world that Michael Scallen is a conman, thief, and cannot be trusted.

    A duplicate of this letter has been deposited with the Addis Ababa Police and UK Embassy in Addis Ababa.

  15. wiity says:

    is he still hiding?

    he looks like the annoying drunk american with a bottle of chang

    we just crossed the border from thailand to poipet on our way to the bus station when we met this drunk american holding his large bottle of chang making fun of anything as some tuk-tuk drivers joined him… i managed to get a night bus to PP with that drunk american with a bottle of chang on board the same bus… along the way he tried to make friends with the only three barang passengers by offering them a smoke and canned beers he got from the first stop… the barangs are pretty much annoyed obviously… he continued to enjoy his beer during the trip and in the middle of the trip he started to puke… his puke is all over the bus floor… the bus already smelled like poop before him puking… we have no choice than to suffer the terrible smell until the end of the trip… that is the most terrible bus trip i had in my life… not to mention the loud chessy music

    “Cambodia is lawless”

  16. khmerhit says:

    and keep an eye out for T.O. mayor Rob ford, coming soon to a hole in the wall near you…

  17. Ivor Biggun says:

    Surely the correct spelling of the name is Scallan.

    Are you sitting comotably?

    Then I’ll begin- some years ago (so the owner of the school asserts) Scallan begged most urgently and insistently for a job at a mere $200/month in a very modest run-on-a-shoestring mom-‘m-pop language school at a place called O’smach [it’s on the border with Thailand and there are various transliterations of the Khmer name] and – quite impressively – succeeded in wheedling $800 (!) in “emergency advances” out of the owner before disappearing into the night.

  18. Charlie says:

    Watch out! Scumbag has re-surfaced in Phnom Penh end 2017 until early 2018. Disappeared again after cheating numerous people, locals and foreigners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>