Lured by fake Hong Kong job offer

PETALING JAYA: Another Malaysian has fallen victim to the infamous Myanmar KK Garden job scam syndicate after accepting an offer of US$4,000 (RM18,852) to work in Hong Kong for four days.

The 30-year-old man is believed to have been locked up and forced to work in the Myawaddy area near the Thai-Myanmar border since leaving Malaysia on Dec 13, according to the victim’s younger brother.

Choo Wei Mun, 27, said his brother left home in Segambut after telling the family he wanted to go to Johor Baru for a week.

“He did not come home and the family tried in vain to contact him. I contacted his girlfriend, who said that he was actually going to Bangkok for work.

“I then checked my brother’s personal belongings and found his tablet. I read his WhatsApp messages to a friend.

“My brother said he needed US$31,000 (RM146,134) to pay as ransom to a syndicate to enable him to return to Malaysia,” Wei Mun told a press conference held by the Malaysian Humanitarian Organisation (MHO) here yesterday.

We Mun said he was later able to contact his brother through WhatsApp, who assured the family that he was well at the moment and asked the family not to worry about him.

He appealed to the government to help secure the safe return of his brother.

MHO public relations officer Daniel Khoo said the body was trying to locate Choo’s brother with the cooperation of the government and the Malaysian Embassy in Myanmar.

“We will discuss with the authorities and NGOs in Myanmar to find the best and safest solution to bring Choo’s brother back.

“But more importantly, the government should help take legal action against those who fall prey to this scam. This will serve as a serious reminder to others not to be too foolish in believing these job scams.

“If the government does not carry out something drastic legally, this problem will never cease. We have been informing people relentlessly, but to no avail, as many still become victims,” he said.

Segambut PKR deputy chief Deric Teh, who was also present, said people needed to be more aware of job scams.

“Do not just easily trust others. Be wary and always ask the right questions,” he added.

Myanmar’s KK Garden has been described as a “dystopian town” surrounded by 4m-high walls and barbed wires, with armed guards also carrying explosives.

Located about 20km south of Shwe Kokko, a city notorious as a criminal hub for online gambling, scamming and trafficking,

KK Garden has been making headlines as a trafficking hub for Malaysian and Indian victims.

It has been reported that victims in Shwe Kokko and KK Garden are imprisoned and coerced to work for crime syndicates as online scammers.

Those who refuse face physical punishment or even worse forms of abuse. Families of the victims have been asked to pay ransoms in exchange for the release of loved ones.

Meanwhile, Loh Seow Hwa, 45, of Kepong, is desperately trying to locate his missing wife.

He told the press conference that his wife, who was with an NGO involved with refugees, had taken a trip to Taiwan on Dec 28 and was scheduled to return on Jan 7.

“My wife runs her own refugee school. A few months ago, she mentioned some funding from the United Nations, and that was the reason she was travelling to Taiwan.

“I last spoke to her on Jan 3 and have not heard from her since. Her WhatsApp was last seen on Jan 4. The only indication of her whereabouts is a Western Union money transfer from Laos to our nanny,” he said.

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