Recent reports revealed that close to 2,000 Malaysian citizens have fallen prey to a human trafficking syndicate, remaining trapped in neighbouring countries for the past year.
Limited job opportunities, coupled with inadequate salaries and the increasing cost of living in Malaysia, have prompted a select few individuals to seek employment abroad.
This is because most job offers abroad provide a decent and rewarding salary for the work done.
However, not everyone is fortunate enough to secure a job as initially promised. This is because a few are deceived by job offer scam syndicates operating overseas.
5 Countries Targeted by Job Offer Scam Syndicates
In the latest development, five countries have been identified as prime targets for job offer scam syndicates, resulting in Malaysians falling victim to these fraudulent schemes.
These five countries are:
- The Philippines
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
A significant number of Malaysian victims find themselves trapped in Myanmar and Cambodia.
Syndicates Compel Victims to Engage in Scams
Delving deeper into the matter, Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain shared that the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) have detected a new trend among these syndicates.
They lure individuals with job offers before deceiving them and coercing them into becoming scammers in foreign countries.
“The modus operandi of these syndicates involves offering jobs abroad through social media and job search websites.
“Those who accept the job offers are then forced to become scammers in foreign countries.
“This is a new trend in human trafficking activities detected in our country. Victims are taken to countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, the Philippines, and UAE (Dubai). Those trapped not only go unpaid but are also held captive and subjected to abuse.
“Some of the crimes include love scams, fake investments, and illegal online gambling syndicates that force victims to work. There are claims of salaries not being received as promised,” he was quoted as saying in Berita Harian.
Over 400 Individuals Confirmed Trapped Abroad
He further revealed that as of 31 October, 2023, a total of 424 Malaysians, including 73 women, have been identified as trapped in foreign countries.
Out of this total, 170 are located in Myanmar, 147 in Cambodia, 54 in Laos, and 53 in other countries.
“Thus far, 321 police reports have been filed by the public regarding these 424 Malaysians in total. 266 have been successfully rescued, while 158 remain stranded. In cases of those trapped in Myanmar, 119 police reports involving 170 victims have been received.
“Out of that total, 75 have been successfully rescued and returned to Malaysia, while 95 are still stranded in that country,” he further stated.
Syndicates Target Malaysians in Remote Areas
Meanwhile, according to Johan Razak, Acting Charge d’Affaires at the Malaysian Embassy in Yangon, job offer scam syndicates have become more cunning by changing their modus operandi.
These syndicates have shifted from random targeting to a focused approach, specifically honing in on individuals residing in remote areas of Sarawak.
Moreover, it is said that these fraudsters primarily target young individuals seeking substantial earnings by deceiving the rural population of Sarawak living in isolated areas that have not yet been exposed to human trafficking and job offer scam syndicates.
Previously, Berita Harian reported that close to 2,000 Malaysians have fallen victim to a human trafficking syndicate, remaining trapped in several neighbouring countries for the past year.
In Myanmar, it is understood that over 1,200 victims are engaged in forced labour across various regions.
Additionally, hundreds await smuggling from Thailand, while the rest are situated in Laos, Cambodia, and the Philippines.
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