3 rescued from Chinese casino

3 rescued from Chinese casino

Three Thai women have been repatriated after they were duped into working for scammers for a Chinese-run casino in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Laos' Bokeo province.

Chiang Rai's permanent secretary Kanok Srivichainan yesterday welcomed the three victims at the fourth Thai–Lao friendship bridge in Chiang Khong district, after they were assisted by a special group helping migrants in the Lao province.

The three were Saisunee Sakkaekaew, 36, Pityanin Sae-lee, 26, and Petcharaphon Mooser, 27.

In light of the case, Mr Kanok said the provincial governor had informed all district offices to warn local residents about job scams as they trick people with seemingly well-paying positions.

Since early this year, there have been three groups that were duped into working for the scammers in the neighbouring country. One group has already been rescued by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

All 15 from another group have returned home either by illegally crossing the border or by being rescued by local authorities, Mr Kanok said.

Pol Lt Col Hatairat Junlasat, deputy superintendent of the Chiang Khong immigration border, said the rescue effort was the result of cooperation between Thai authorities and their Lao counterparts.

Security guards posted at the SEZ negotiated with a Chinese-run company to release the three without any money changing hands, she said.

Ms Saisunee, one of the three victims, told reporters she had applied for an administrative job to run a Facebook page called "To move on" which operated an online casino. She illegally crossed the Mekong River in tambon Rim Khong near Ban Had Bai with the help of an agent on Feb 7.

Instead of finding an administrative job, she was forced to clone profiles from dating sites to search for victims in an investment scam, from which she would earn a percentage. She was made to sign a six-month contract working 12 hours a day, she said.

Feeling guilty about her work, she tried to contact the authorities to be repatriated, she said.

Meanwhile, the army's Burapha Task Force arrested three Chinese men for illegal entry via a natural channel in Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet district. None had proper travel documents.

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