SEPANG: An advertisement for a job in Bangkok, Thailand, offering a lucrative salary of up to RM7,000 ended disastrously for a young man from Rawang as he was not only beaten and abused but also coerced into becoming a scammer for a cryptocurrency investment syndicate operating in Myawaddy, Myanmar.

Even more unfortunate, the young man who only wanted to be known as ‘Ah Chong’ said he could only tolerate the ordeal for three days in Myanmar before he begged to be returned to Malaysia but was restrained and forced to pay a high ransom if he wanted to make an exit.

“I was told the casino job was in Bangkok. Upon arrival, I was taken to another location through hidden routes, and only then did I realise I was being used by the syndicate. I requested to return to Malaysia but was not allowed.

“The syndicate demanded a ransom of up to RM80,000 for my release, and eventually, my family paid RM30,000 for my freedom. Together with me were over 80 Malaysian victims trapped and forced into becoming scammers,“ he told reporters when met at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Terminal 1 today.

Ah Chong is one of the 10 victims of a cryptocurrency investment syndicate in Myawaddy, Myanmar, who arrived from Bangkok after being rescued by Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation (MHO).

MHO representative Azirul Syafiq Sazali, who led the rescue efforts for all the victims, said there were three situations that allowed them to be rescued, including some victims escaping with the syndicate's vehicles.

“Some escaped with the help of friends who took them across to Mae Sot (Thailand) and surrendered to the Thai authorities for the next documentation process,” he said.

He said most of the cases of financial investment fraud in Malaysia were due to the operation of the syndicate which was active in Myawaddy where the victims were forced to take courses in handling operating cryptocurrency systems.

Azirul Syafiq also revealed that the presence of victims in Myawaddy was illegal because any entry of foreigners into Myanmar is only allowed in Yangon.

“Myanmar does not allow any international passport to be stamped at the border, so if you want to go to Myanmar you have to go through Yangon. So 100 per cent of all our victims in Myanmar are deemed to have entered ‘illegally’ considering that their last point of disembarkation was in Bangkok,” he said.

Also present to welcome their return were MHO secretary-general Datuk Hishamuddin Hashim and family members of the victims. -Bernama

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