As five Malaysian rescued from Cambodia, police highlight 'fine line' between victims and scammers
SEPANG, Jan 27 — Another five Malaysians allegedly forced to work as scam syndicates in Cambodia have been brought home today, following a police delegation to Cambodia to look into the job scams.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Abd Jalil Hassan said that six more victims have also been successfully rescued but are currently being held at a Cambodian detention centre for violating immigration laws.
“We met with Cambodia's director-general of immigration and we are very moved by their authorities for carrying out the clearance of the five victims.
“Based on normal timeframes, it would have taken them at least a month to process their release, but the immigration department there has agreed to speed things up and release them from detention in less than 24 hours so we can bring them home,” Abd Jalil told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
The five Malaysians were aged between 16 and 35.
However, he said authorities have agreed that there is a “fine line” between determining those involved as scam victims or scammers themselves.
He said those who went over to Cambodia knew beforehand that they would work as scammers in grey sectors like the gaming industry.
“Investigations have revealed that many of these individuals were not victims of human trafficking, but called themselves victims so they can be rescued.
“Some of these individuals make up stories of being trafficked when they cannot achieve the KPIs set by their employers," he said, adding that those who were able to reach their KPIs chose to not be sent back to Malaysia.
Abd Jalil added that the Cambodian authorities have also found that some individuals who claim to be victims were actually in debt from gambling, borrowing money from loan sharks, or found themselves in a situation where they could not afford their hotel stays.
He added that the Cambodian authorities will no longer accept unverified information from non-governmental organisations or agencies that might jeopardise their rescue operations.
He said that as of January 26 this year, a total of 262 police reports involving at least 330 victims have been lodged, while a total of 113 victims remain stranded in Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and other countries.
“In the case of Cambodia, 114 police reports involving 145 victims have been lodged.
“We have managed to bring home as many as 116 victims, while 29 victims are still stranded in Cambodia,” he said.
Job scam victims were reportedly made to work up to 15 hours a day in poor conditions and even faced harsh punishment like being electrocuted, drugged, and raped if they do not achieve their sales target set by their employers.