Job offers

IN FOCUS: When lucrative job offers abroad turn into nightmarish scams for these Malaysians

HIGH RANSOM FOR RELEASE

Not only did the victims not receive the lucrative salaries they were promised, but their families also had to shell out huge sums of money to secure their release.

MCA’s Chong said some victims even paid up to $20,000 to be freed from their captors.

In cases handled by Mr. Ooi, the ransom has risen to around RM100,000 from RM20,000 last year.

A street food vendor, who only wanted to be known as Tan, said he was desperate for a job as his income was badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Malaysia was under a movement control order (MCO) at the time, the 26-year-old player from Johor Bahru said he entered Thailand illegally for a casino job in July. last year.

He was brought to Mae Sot, which borders Myanmar. From there he was taken to Myanmar where he was held in a building that had many offices.

He said there were around 80 to 90 other Malaysians there at the time.

His captors asked him to scam people over the phone. He was not beaten for missed targets, but was forced to do exercises such as sit-ups and push-ups.

“I didn’t want to scam anyone,” he said, adding that some Malaysians had been there for two years but didn’t want to come back because of the money they made scamming others.

Tan was only released in Mae Sot after his family paid a RM50,000 ransom to his captors.

He spent a month in Thai immigration detention before Thai police sent him to the Malaysian border in July this year.

Despite the money lost to the scam, Tan considered himself lucky compared to fellow Malaysian Goi Zhan Feng, 23, who died in a hospital in Mae Sot after allegedly being abused by a trafficking syndicate. human beings in Myanmar.

The final-year student at a teacher training institute reportedly traveled to Bangkok for a holiday in January but found himself trafficked to Myanmar.

“WE MUST ACT QUICKLY”: CAMBODIA MINISTER

The Cambodian government has taken action against unions following regional attention to the crimes.

According to the Khmer Times, Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng said the growing number of cases of human trafficking, labor trafficking and sex trafficking in Preah Sihanouk province must be treated urgently.

He said the authorities must adhere to three principles: they must rescue the victims, crack down on the crime scene and arrest the culprits.

“We must act quickly. The image and reputation of our kingdom are at stake,” he said.

VOD, an independent Cambodian news portal, reported that authorities have carried out a series of rescues and raids on fraudulent compounds, expelling dozens of foreign workers and arresting some supervisors.

The portal also says provincial authorities in Preah Sihanouk have ordered all property owners and managers to report any foreigners staying and working on their premises. The information must be registered with the police before September 24.

Building owners are asked to sign a document guaranteeing that their workers have visas and clear contracts.

The Cambodian government is also said to have organized high-level meetings on the issue.

Mr. Terrence Fung, 39, and Mr. Lo Vui Lun, 23, were among those trapped in Cambodia. They were roommates when detained by labor unions in Sihanoukville earlier this year and then when held in a Cambodian immigration depot.

They returned to Malaysia last month, ending their nightmare in Cambodia which saw them occasionally tasered for failing to hit scam targets.

Both entered Cambodia illegally via Thailand. They also received salaries of US$3,000 for working in casinos.

Mr Fung said that while there was a casino downstairs, the operations centers for the scams were on the upper floors of the building.

He claimed that he never scammed anyone and that when he got calls about job applications, he told them he was busy.

“I didn’t want to lie to anyone and get them stuck in my predicament,” he said.

He said it was almost impossible to run away and run away because there were armed bodyguards everywhere.

After Mr. Chong’s intervention, Mr. Fung and Mr. Lo were rescued by Cambodian authorities and sent to the immigration post where they spent nearly three months in detention before being allowed to return to Malaysia. They didn’t have to pay a ransom.