25/09/2023 09:22 PM

KUCHING, Sept 25 (Bernama) -- Sarawak police have received three reports involving eight Sarawakians who fell victim to a job scam and were forced to work as scammers in Myanmar.

Sarawak Police Commissioner Datuk Mohd Azman Ahmad Sapri said the reports were referred to the Bukit Aman Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Atipsom) D3 unit, Interpol and Aseanapol (ASEAN Chiefs of National Police) to assist in locating and rescuing the victims.

“We have also informed the Consulate and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assist in expediting the rescue efforts and the return of the victims,” he told a media conference at the police headquarters today.

He said the first report was lodged in Tanjung Manis on Sept 21, involving two men; the second report in Julau on Sept 22, involving a man; and the third report in Sibu, involving five men. The victims are all aged between 25 and 35.

Based on information received, he said the victims were forced to work in call centres involving online scammers in Myanmar, although they were initially offered jobs in Thailand.

“They received offers through Facebook to work in Thailand with salaries of between RM3,000 and RM6,000 per person. However, the victims did not know anything about the jobs they were offered.

“Upon arrival in Thailand, they were all taken to Myanmar and forced to work as scammers. If they did not meet the target set by their ‘employers’, they were abused and threatened with being sold to other agents,” he said.

Mohd Azman said the victims were also banned from contacting any family members and they were only able to communicate with their families in secret.

The case is being investigated under Section 12 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (Act 670).