MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



Sunday, October 30, 2022

Job scam victims tell of escape via trip to hairdresser


An offer of lucrative jobs at a casino turned into forced labour for a cryptocurrency scam, say seven Johoreans.

JOHOR BAHRU: Seven Johor residents who were trapped in a job scam in Cambodia managed to escape after five months by asking to be allowed to go to the hairdresser.

The group comprised a woman and six men, aged between 18 and 34, who had been offered casino jobs but were forced to work for a cryptocurrency scam run by a Taiwanese man.

One of the victims, who wanted to be known as Wan, 34, said they were kept in what was believed to be the syndicate’s operations centre, a hotel in Sok, Phnom Penh.

They had taken up an offer by a local agent in Malaysia for jobs at a casino with a lucrative salary of as much as US$1,100 a month. “We were offered a job as servers at a casino but when we arrived there, we were told to work as scammers,” he said.

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“If we refused to sign the contract (as scammers) for six months, we were asked to pay RM15,000 per person to return home, so we were forced to sign the contract,” he said at a press conference held at the service centre of the Larkin state assemblyman.

Wan, from Kampung Melayu Paloh, Kluang said they were not paid their salaries during their five months there. They were kept under guard around the clock, however, they were not harmed by the syndicate.

“However, some previous victims had said they were beaten and had guns pointed at them … so for the duration there, we did not protest but followed whatever instructions given,” he recalled.

Wan said the group had been planning an escape for a month before contacting the Malaysian International Humanitarian Organisation for help. They managed to flee by giving an excuse of wanting to go out to the hairdresser.

Another victim who wanted to be known only as Hawa, 30, said she and her fiance took up the job offer in Cambodia as she wanted to save money for their wedding.

Hawa, who is from Skudai, said people from India, China, and Indonesia had also fallen victim to the syndicate.

State executive councillor Hairi Mad Shah said the state government would bear the cost of bringing home the seven victims and this included accommodation, flight tickets and meals amounting to about RM15,000, and would help the victims find new jobs as there were 19,000 job vacancies in various sectors in the state.- FMT

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