Escape from ‘garden of hell’


Reunited: Victims of job scams in Myanmar safe in the arms of their family members on arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. — AZMAN GHANI/ The Star

SEPANG: For Mohd Farhan Azman who survived a brutal four months of beatings in a large barb-wired compound in Myanmar, the experience was “a living hell”.

The job scam victim was repeatedly beaten so much that he became numb and was even starved when he refused to work as a European love scammer at a makeshift town called “KK Garden”.

The 19-year-old described KK Garden as a “dystopian town” surrounded by 4m-high walls, barbed wires and armed guards, carrying guns and explosives.

“You can find everything there. It’s a complete town except for a police station or a mosque.

“The place is even bigger than this airport,” he said when met after arriving at KLIA yesterday.

Mohd Farhan, who was battered and bruised, prostrated himself in gratitude at the arrival hall before breaking into tears and hugging his parents.

Along with his four friends, Mohd Farhan was scammed after accepting a job offer as a housekeeper in Thailand in September. Instead, they were sent to KK Garden.

“We flew to Bangkok, Thailand, where a taxi was already waiting for us.

“We had to travel by car for seven hours until we reached the border of Thailand and Myanmar. We then stayed at a hotel there.

“In the morning, we travelled for another two hours until we reached a maize field before people carrying guns surrounded and took us in,” he said, adding that they were taken by boat to KK Garden.

Mohd Farhan, however, refused to work as a scammer as he remembered his mother’s advice not to cheat others.

Since both he and his friend Muhammad Redzuan Arif Rashidi, 21, refused to work, they were told to ask their parents for a ransom money of RM15,000 each.

“We were beaten daily and held inside our room for over a month. The last eight days that we were there (before they escaped), we were not given any food, so we only drank water,” he said.

They were both almost sold to another syndicate before they managed to flee after being dropped off at a hotel during a transit.

They then ran to a restaurant and sought help from the owner.

Mohd Farhan was one of six people rescued with the aid of Teruntum assemblyman Sim Chon Siang, Malaysian and Thai police, the Malaysian embassy, Victor Wong, a Malaysian in Thailand and the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council.

The others rescued with them were Yong Ying Yien, 30, Felix Lim, 25, Wong Chee Hoon, 27, and 28-year-old Lim Han Hsin.

According to Sim, there are about 1,000 Malaysians still trapped in the KK Garden compound.

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Myanmar , job , KK Garden , scammer , scam

   

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