Nightmare as chef forced to become a scammer in Myanmar

Compiled by ARFA YUNUS and C. ARUNO

HE jumped at it when he saw a job advertisement for chefs in Thailand offering salaries between RM8,000 and RM10,000.

But in a tale that has now become all too familiar, the 33-year-old Malaysian ended up being trafficked and sold to a scam syndicate in Myanmar.

China Press reported that the man, who once worked as a cook in Johor, spotted the advertisement on social media.

“There were vacancies for chefs and waiters. The salary was between RM8,000 and RM10,000.

“I was interviewed over the phone by a Malaysian Chinese. Later in April, I flew to Bangkok,” said the man whose surname is Zeng.

After he landed in Thailand, a “recruiter” told him that he would be working in Chiang Rai, about 800km north of Bangkok.

He was driven along with three other new recruits up to the Thai-Laos border.

It was there that he met armed men who ushered them across to Laos.

Zeng was taken to an industrial complex where his passport and phone were confiscated and made to work as a scammer.

He said he was forced to work 12 to 18 hours a day. If he failed to reach the daily “target”, he would be punished physically.

One day, a chance to escape occurred when gates to the industrial complex opened in the midst of a battle between the military and armed groups in strife-torn Myanmar.

However, Zeng and several escapees were later captured and robbed by a militia group and forced to sleep in a pigsty.

Their money was taken away but their passports returned to them.

Zeng eventually got in touch with Malaysian organisations which arranged for their rescue.

He is one of the 121 Malaysian job scam victims who made it back to Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

The above articles are compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item.

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