21 Malaysian scam victims return home from Cambodia, Laos


SEPANG, Malaysia—Twenty-one additional Malaysians rescued from traffickers in Cambodia and Laos returned home on Thursday

Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, who met some of the repatriated victims at Kuala Lumpur airport, said the government is now reported missing in Cambodia, Laos, Burma (also known as Myanmar) and Thailand. He said he succeeded in rescuing 273 of the 401 people. At a press conference, he said most had returned, except for 60 who were still awaiting processing in migrant detention centers in those countries.

Saifuddin, who heads a new government group working on the issue, said authorities stepped up steps to identify the remaining 128 people. He said most of the victims were in his 20s and urged Malaysians to check carefully before taking a job abroad.

The government has pledged to rescue Malaysians caught in what it calls “modern slavery” in the region. The issue took on more urgency after a 23-year-old Malaysian died in a Thai hospital near the Burmese border after falling prey to a trafficking scheme.

Some opposition politicians believe the 401 people reported missing represent only a fraction of the actual number of Malaysians caught in such scams. Opposition parties are calling on the government to take legal action against local agents working with trafficking syndicates to ban false job advertisements.

Cambodian authorities say they have discovered a number of illegal online schemes to lure illegal workers and have arrested hundreds of people from China and Taiwan. Police say the scammers are mostly from China and are using Cambodia as a base to extort money. Besides Cambodia, scammers are also known to be based in Laos and Burma near the Thai border.

Fraud networks, which often lead to transnational organized crime, are set up in countries with weak law enforcement agencies and attract educated young workers with the promise of high incomes, the UN envoy said. I’m here. Workers are isolated and threatened with violence unless they succeed in tricking victims who contact them by phone into transferring money to their overseas bank accounts.

Associated Press