MALAYSIA: A 29-year-old Malaysian, enticed by his Chinese friend from Guangzhou, tragically found himself compelled to work as part of a scam operation in Myanmar.
He endured torture, electric shocks, and starvation from the group as a consequence of failing to meet a monthly performance target of US$50,000.
He remained trapped in the compound for an agonizing period of 1 year and 7 months until his family paid a ransom of RM 50,000 (approximately US$10,575) to secure his safe return.
According to the Malaysian Chinese media outlet, China Press, the victim, identified as Mr Lee, had worked in the oil and natural gas industry in Johor for nearly 6 years.
Guangzhou friend boasted of over US$1,200 monthly Income in Thailand’s oil and gas sector
He recounted that he had fallen victim to deception by a Chinese friend from Guangzhou, someone he had known for approximately 6 years.
This friend had represented himself as working in Thailand’s oil and natural gas industry, earning a monthly income ranging from RM 5,000 to 6,000 (approximately US$1,269).
Due to his deep trust in this friend, he harboured no suspicions.
In March 2022, he embarked on a journey from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, Thailand, in search of work but was ultimately ensnared into a fraudulent scheme in Myanmar.
Upon his arrival in Thailand, he underwent a one-day quarantine before purchasing a bus ticket to a specific location, where he awaited transportation arranged by undisclosed parties.
After a 30-minute drive, the driver unexpectedly instructed him to disembark and switch to another vehicle.
Inadvertent river crossing leads to unintended entry into Myanmar territory
Unbeknownst to him, he had arrived at a riverbank, unaware that the opposite bank marked the border into Myanmar.
He adhered to the instructions and crossed the river on foot, inadvertently stepping into the territory of Myanmar.
During this time, he remained confined within the compound. Fortunately, his phone had not been confiscated, enabling him to discreetly contact his family for assistance.
However, during his second month in captivity, he was transferred to another company for what was ostensibly “employment.”
At this juncture, his phone was seized, and he was sternly warned that failing to meet the prescribed “performance” targets would result in punishment, flogging, and electric shocks.
Mr Lee mentioned that the performance targets varied between companies.
In his situation, the monthly target was a staggering US$50,000. Meeting this target would grant him access to his phone; otherwise, he would be subjected to physical abuse, electric shocks, and starvation.
The majority of the injuries he suffered were concentrated on his thighs.
He mentioned that, after falling prey to deception, he relentlessly sought a means of escape.
Once his family became aware of his plight, they turned to a social media influencer known as “Thai’s Dragon,” Mr Victor Wong, for assistance.
Mr Wong has been providing assistance to victims ensnared in job scams, helping them escape from criminal syndicates in Myanmar and return home.
RM 50,000 ransom for freedom
Mr Lee revealed that, eventually, his family paid a ransom of RM 50,000, which facilitated his safe return home.
Upon checking Mr Wong’s Facebook page, known as “Thai’s Dragon,” it was apparent that he had shared a post about a Malaysian Chinese who had been deceived by a friend and ended up in Myanmar, subsequently returning to Malaysia on the night of October 4th.
“Deceived by supposed good friends and having endured a year of hardship, beatings, and electric shocks in Myanmar, tonight (October 4th) finally brings you back to your homeland (Malaysia) through legal means. I wish you a joyful reunion with your family.”
Individuals with intellectual disabilities and physical impairments not spared by job scam syndicates
In recent years, Myanmar and Cambodia have grappled with headlines of online fraud-related human trafficking schemes.
These unlawful groups operating in Myanmar spare no one in their relentless pursuit of ill-gotten gains. Alarmingly, even individuals with intellectual disabilities and physical impairments are vulnerable to becoming victims of their deceitful job schemes.
The Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation (MHO) has recently unveiled a shocking statistic, revealing that over 1,000 Malaysians have fallen victim to human trafficking operations in Myanmar.
The victims of these crime syndicates are diverse, ranging from recent university graduates and ordinary salaried workers to unexpected targets like a multimillionaire in China, who could never have imagined falling into the clutches of a scam centre in Myawaddy.
Chinese victim’s cautionary advice: “Don’t talk to Chinese people”
One such victim, 46-year-old Xin Weilin, the CEO of a Guiyang-based tourism company with 142 global stores, tragically found himself entangled in a web of deception.
Mr. Xin was deceived by a fellow countryman and lured by the allure of potential business opportunities in Thailand, only to find himself trapped in a nightmarish scam park in Myawaddy, Myanmar.
Mr Xin recounted the grim conditions within the compound dedicated to telecom fraud. It was fortified with towering walls, razor wire, and armed security personnel.
He endured relentless physical abuse and eventually seized an opportunity under the cover of pre-dawn darkness to escape from the approximately 5-meter-high compound wall, despite sustaining multiple fractures.
He recounted how Chinese nationals were often seen as easy prey, referred to as “walking money” in Myanmar.
Even after successfully escaping from the scam park, he found himself handed over to corrupt local police and subsequently transferred to a Burmese general’s custody.
During this period, Mr Xin endured time in immigration detention centers as his friends and family tirelessly sought assistance from the Chinese Embassy in Thailand. It was only in January 2023 that Mr. Xin was finally able to return to China.
Mr Xin’s story has received extensive coverage in Chinese media, and he has consistently used the media as a platform to warn his fellow countrymen about the dangers of falling victim to online job scams and to advocate for caution when encountering dubious offers on the internet.
Reflecting on his harrowing ordeal in Myanmar, he offered a word of caution: “Avoid interactions with Chinese nationals when you’re abroad, and exercise caution when dealing with Chinese strangers.”
He observed that all the kingpins in the “scam park” were Chinese, with rarely any foreigners involved in these fraudulent activities.
“With just four to five years in the scam business, these syndicates can amass billions, providing them with little incentive to release their victims.”
“This is how Chinese people would think: ‘They want to exploit your value to the fullest extent.’”
MHA: Singaporean influencers issued advisories over Gaza conflict content
Samlit executives investigated for suspected fraudulent business operations
Singapore Airshow faces criticism over recurring traffic and transportation issues
1M65 founder est. S$100k loss in interest from CPF Special Account closure for aged 55+
Singapore authorities heighten vigilance as Zika signals persist in Boon Lay Place
SDP Chief Dr Chee mulls legal challenge against govt’s stance amid POFMA spree
SSG and NEA defend ‘washroom cleaning’ course on SkillsFuture amid online bewilderment
SAESL’s US$180M investment to bring 500 job opportunities in new aerospace facilities
UOB junior staff to get a one-off extra month’s bonus to cope with rising living costs
Love Aid Singapore raises nearly S$750,000 for Gaza aid initiative
DPM Wong defends SA closure for 55+, netizens demand autonomy for their own CPF savings
Coalition talks intensify as Prabowo-Gibran leads Presidential quick count
Singapore2 weeks ago
PM Lee encourages more births in the year of the dragon amid declining fertility rates
Singapore2 weeks ago
Singapore surpasses nursing recruitment target in 2023 amidst high attrition rates
Featured1 week ago
PA surveys community & govt confidence amid pending general election
Comments1 week ago
PAP Marcus Loh accuses WP’s MP of alleged dishonesty on debate about reserves
Civil Society1 week ago
Singaporeans stand firm in support for Palestine amidst police scrutiny
Civil Society7 days ago
At least 9 individuals summoned by police over Palestine solidarity activities on 2 Feb
Community1 week ago
Connectivity struggles in Tengah town prompt online user discussion
Singapore4 days ago
Kenneth Jeyaretnam issued 6th POFMA direction over Ridout Road saga