Duped Thai workers freed in Cambodia

Duped Thai workers freed in Cambodia

A group of people who were scammed by bogus employment agents arrive at Buri Ram police station on Thursday. (Photo by Surachai Piraksa)
A group of people who were scammed by bogus employment agents arrive at Buri Ram police station on Thursday. (Photo by Surachai Piraksa)

More than 500 Thais who were duped into working illegally in Cambodia were rescued in December, and a woman has been arrested in Buri Ram for defrauding people of money paid to secure jobs in South Korea.

Assistant national police chief Surachate Hakparn said on Thursday that Thai authorities had been coordinating with Cambodian officials in rescuing deceived Thai workers.

Many had been forced to work near the border with Trat province and others in Cambodia's Pursat, Koh Kong, Sihanoukville and Poipet townships.

Chinese investors in Cambodia were unsettled by action being taken by Cambodian law enforcement and had set free and dumped Thai workers outside hotels and restaurants, Pol Lt Gen Surachate said.

He said 502 people had been brought back from Cambodia.  About 1,000 more Thais remained there as forced workers and were in need of help.

He warned job seekers to take precautions and not be deceived by text messages and Facebook posts inviting them to apply for jobs with a monthly salary of 20,000 to 30,000 baht in Cambodia.

They should seek verification from the Department of Employment first, he said.

In Buri Ram, police arrested a woman who went by the name of Jae Nam Oy.

The suspect, currently detained at Buri Ram Provincial Court, was allegedly part of a gang posing as job brokers. They tricked people into paying 50,000 to 110,000 baht each to secure jobs in South Korea. 

According to police, the gang had conned about 30 people and tricked them out of more than 2 million baht in total. The job seekers learned they had been scammed when they were left waiting, paying to stay at a Bangkok hotel, for a month without being contacted. 

"A person posing as a job broker convinced my husband and I to work in Korea," said Srinual Thamthura, one of the victims.

"That person said if we worked there for a long period we would receive high monthly incomes, up to 50,000 baht.

"My husband and I paid 110,000 baht in fees, but we didn't get to fly to Korea in the end. 

"That person was from our village. We feel bad because we knew that person, and now, we're in debt," she said. 

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