Thais rescued from call centre gangs

Thais rescued from call centre gangs

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has helped bring about the rescue of at least 1,200 Thais who were lured to work illegally in Cambodia, said ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat.

Since last year, the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh has received messages seeking help from some 1,500 Thais duped into working illegally by call centre gangs in Cambodia.

So far, 1,200 have been rescued and returned to Thailand. They were mostly young people under pressure to find jobs amid a sluggish economy caused by the pandemic.

Mr Tanee said the embassy still receives messages alerting staff to other cases.

According to the victims, they came across job advertisements on social media that promised high wages.

After applying for the positions, arrangements were made for them to cross illegally into Cambodia where they were taken to their workplaces.

In their new roles, many were put to work as webpage administrators and telephone operators who call people in Thailand with the purpose of scamming them to wire money to the gang's bank accounts. Some also worked to convince people to join online gambling activities.

If the workers failed to do their job satisfactorily, they would be shifted to another criminal gang. If they were caught trying to flee, they would be threatened and have to pay off their entire debt owed to the gang for bringing them to work in Cambodia.

The embassy contacted the Cambodian police who rescued the Thais from the gangs.

Mr Tanee warned people to be wary of job adverts that come with promises of unusually high pay.

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