“YOU might not be able to come home. We do not how many are still out there, languishing as ‘slaves’ to these scammers.”
That is the warning given by Malaysian Consumers’ Association (PPIM) president Datuk Nadzim Johan, as he relates his efforts made to rescue those who were swindled to work in scam parks.
Nadzim says there have been many who fell for scammers’ lies, often laced with promises of high-paying jobs to lure the unwitting victims to be part of the scam park syndicates.
For instance, he says there was once a young woman who had packed her bags for a “job” in a neighbouring country.
“She was promised a monthly pay of at least RM5,000 as a model. Her family remained suspicious of the offer and told us.
“Through our contacts, we managed to ascertain that it was a ‘job’ offered by a scam park syndicate. We immediately warned the family and the potential victim. We even made a police report.
“And fortunately, she decided to reject the offer.”
Scam parks or a gathering of syndicates especially in South-East Asia have become rampant. These scammers often lure victims with promises of lucrative jobs, only to see them ending up working as forced scammers themselves.
The prevalence of scam parks, also known as fraud factories, has led the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to label the situation as a “scamdemic”.
These now modern slaves will work as scammers themselves, dabbling in love scams or cryptocurrency fraud, among others.
Failure to achieve their targets will see superiors threatening them with prostitution or worse organ harvesting.
“Some will even get beaten if they fail to meet their monthly target. These are terrible people. Please be very careful upon being offered suspiciously lucrative jobs,” Nadzim says.
He points out that efforts to bring back victims from these scam parks are never easy.
“You need to have contacts to do this. Fortunately, PPIM has networks, apart from the embassies in countries where scam parks are based. These are our allies who can help us.
“For instance, we have friends who have good ties with the military in Thailand. They always band together to help rescue victims who managed to escape the syndicates.
“There are still many of those who are outside there, who are unknown to us, forced to work for the syndicates. They may end up being there for a very long time.”
On Thursday, three of the 43 Malaysians who were duped to work for a Macau scam syndicate in Peru arrived in Kuala Lumpur.
Another 37 victims are expected to be sent home in stages while three others were still being held by police in the South American country’s capital Lima.
Currently, a group of academics is working to look into Malaysians’ awareness of scam park activities, as they seek a solution to prevent more from becoming victims.
The study, to be carried out through a survey, is initiated by Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Tan Cheng Lock Centre for Social and Policy Studies, Universiti Teknologi Mara’s Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies in Perlis and Centre for Malaysian Chinese Studies (Huayan).
It is also jointly supported by The Star, Sin Chew Daily, Astro Awani, Sinar Harian and Malaysia Nanban, which formed an alliance tagged as Media in Arms last year to pool resources to offer readers diversified and in-depth content.
The study is aimed at analysing Malaysians’ view or perception towards the risk imposed by their own decision on whether to be taken for a ride, or otherwise, by the scammers.
It will also look into public feedback on efforts that can be taken by the government in formulating preventive measures.
Watch this space for the report on the findings of the study.
Article by: The Star
‘YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO RETURN HOME’