121 job scam victims in Myanmar back home

Out of harm’s way: Mohamad talking to the Malaysian job scam victims upon their arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

SEPANG: The 121 Malaysians, who were victims of job scams in Myanmar, have been successfully brought back. They were working for a scam syndicate in Laukkaing when unrest broke out in the region.Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Mohamad Alamin said the group returned via a flight from Kunming, China.

“We received a report that civil war had broken out in Laukkaing and that Myanmar authorities had rescued 26 Malaysians.

“But when evacuation operations were initiated, more and more Malaysians were identified in the weeks that followed.

“In total, 128 Malaysians were identified, and efforts were made to bring them back from the conflict zone,” he said.

According to Mohamad, the Malaysian Embassy in Yangon communicated with the Myanmar government, sending 10 diplomatic notes to ensure cooperation in the evacuation process.

“They also worked with the Consulate General of Malaysia in Kunming, China, as it was the nearest to the Myanmar border.

However, only 121 Malaysians, along with an Indonesian national, were rescued.

According to Mohamad, some individuals chose to be exempted from rescue, while others faced logistical challenges, including one person who could not cross into China as he had a criminal record there and was barred entry.

Mohamad added that those still stranded had been taken to a field hospital in a safe location while alternative arrangements were being made.

AP reported that more than 120 suspected victims of job scams had been rescued after being stranded by fighting in northern Myanmar between the military and armed ethnic groups. Laukkaing is known for being a hub for online scams, gambling and other organised crimes.

The repatriation efforts also extended to other nationals, with 266 Thais, several Filipinos and a Singaporean rescued from Laukkaing. Another group of 41 Thais was also reportedly repatriated across the land border.

China has supported Myanmar’s military rulers, but the recent offensive by armed ethnic minority groups has caused disruptions, including the seizure of border crossings to China. China has called for a ceasefire in Myanmar while continuing live-firing drills on its side of the border.

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