56 rescued from call scammers

56 rescued from call scammers

Another 56 Thais have safely returned from Cambodia where they were duped into working for a call centre gang and held for ransom, according to police.

The latest group of Thais, all victims of an employment scam, crossed the Thai-Cambodian friendship bridge at the Klong Luek checkpoint in Sa Kaeo after they were handed over by Cambodian authorities Wednesday afternoon.

Thailand's assistant national police chief, Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, who also serves as deputy director of the Royal Thai Police's women and children protection and anti-human trafficking centre, was on hand to meet them.

The returnees were taken for health checks before entering quarantine at a facility in Aranyaprathet district.

Pol Lt Gen Surachate said police were alerted to their plight after they sought help on social media.

Police alerted the Thai embassy in Phnom Pehn, which told the Cambodian police. The local authorities raided the call centre in the resort city of Sihanoukville and conducted the rescue operation.

The victims said they heard about supposedly well-paying jobs in Cambodia through social media and decided to try their luck.

One of the victims, who declined to be named, said they walked across the border and were picked up by the gang. They were taken to Sihanoukville and forced to scam people in Thailand by phone.

They later demanded to be freed but the gang refused. They were held hostage and told that their families in Thailand must pay 100,00 baht per head to have them released.

The Thais were detained in small rooms and given scant food. Some were beaten and told they would be sold to other employers, according to police.

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