Macau’s Judiciary Police (PJ) has confirmed at least five cases of residents being lured to Southeast Asia on the promise of high-paying casino jobs that are suspected to be fraudulent instead.
At a press conference on Thursday afternoon aimed at warning people of potential dangers, the PJ referenced a number of recent incidents of people from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan being lured to work in Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar only to be forced into illegal work, including online gambling and telecom fraud. Authorities said they had detected five cases of job-hunting fraud including one victim who had reached Laos.
Three women traveled from Macau to Cambodia on Thursday 18 August but were persuaded by police to abandon the trip.
However, “one man had already gone to Laos in July,” they said. “This man went to Laos because he was introduced to a career in public relations at a casino in Laos, earning US$5,000 a month.”
Fortunately, according to police, the man left Laos in August and is now in another country where he is safe.
Another man was introduced to work in Southeast Asia by a friend in August but did not accept. He recently learned that the job might have involved fraud and reported it to police.
“The jobs that the criminal syndicate introduced to the five people were all in casinos, and they were offered high salaries and good position as a condition,” the PJ explained.
“Criminal syndicates will use high salaries and good conditions to lure people to Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Laos and other places to work, but many are detained and forced to carry out fraudulent work.
“There are even some incidents involving human trafficking. Police call on the public to remain vigilant.”
Similar cases have been reported in Hong Kong, where authorities said that 20 people have so far sought help after being tricked into working in Southeast Asia. Twelve of those people have been confirmed safe and 10 have returned to Hong Kong.
As for Taiwan, the Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau has launched an investigation amid reports that more than 4,000 people have traveled to Cambodia in the past nine months, although not all of them involve incidents of job fraud. Nevertheless, 120 people have lost contact in Cambodia.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin commented on the situation at a regular press conference on 18 August, stating, “The Chinese government attaches great importance to the incident and is doing its utmost to protect the safety and legitimate rights of Chinese citizens overseas, including our compatriots in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“The Chinese embassies and consulates in the countries concerned are maintaining close communication with the governments of the host countries to actively locate and rescue the people concerned.
“At the same time, we once again remind Chinese citizens to be wary of false recruitment information on overseas networks, strictly abide by the law, ensure personal safety and report fraudulent and gambling-related information in a timely manner.”