Twelve Malaysians who were held captive in Cambodia after being duped by a lucrative job offer as customer service officers were safely repatriated Tuesday, while four others are still in the country as they have to undergo quarantine after being tested positive for COVID-19.

The success of bringing the 12 men home, who arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) at 8.10 am (local time), was a result of the close cooperation between the Royal Malaysia Police and the Cambodian Police, as well as Interpol, Aseanapol and Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Ministry deputy secretary-general Amran Mohamed Zin said the Cambodian authorities had received information on the involvement of 16 Malaysians in illegal activities in the country and arrested all of them on April 4.

“Even though the Cambodian government found that they (16 Malaysians) were carrying out illegal activities in Cambodia, legal action has been set aside for now so that we can bring home our people from being stranded there,” he told reporters at the airport.

Amran said the Malaysian embassy in Cambodia was monitoring the condition of the four other Malaysians, one of whom is a woman, and would arrange for their return as soon as they were cleared of COVID-19.

Prior to this, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) Criminal Investigation Department director Abd Jalil Hassan was reported as saying that the 16 Malaysians were deceived and forced to work as scammers by a syndicate in Preah Sihanouk which offered lucrative job offers as customer service officers in Cambodia.

He said they were all deceived through Facebook and the costs of their trip there were borne by a company in Cambodia, and that their travel documents were seized, their movements were controlled and they were kept under tight security as soon as they arrived in the country.

Heng Zhi Li, the lawyer representing all the victims, said they left for Cambodia in stages between September 2021 and February this year.

He said they were promised a salary of RM7,000 (US$1,654), but were forced to work as scammers without any salary, and were also beaten, slapped and abused with electric shocks.

Meanwhile, PDRM has received 35 reports, involving 45 Malaysians, believed to be stranded in countries such as in Myanmar, Thailand and Laos.

Abd Jalil called on family members of those affected to lodge a report with the authorities as he was confident several more have not done so.

“We urge that they come forward and make a report as this will facilitate us in tracking the whereabouts of those who have been held captive in these countries,” he said.

Source: NAM News Network

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