HONG KONG – Five Hong Kong residents were arrested on Sunday for allegedly organizing job scams in which victims were lured to Southeast Asia and then held against their will (Aug 21).
Victims have recently reported traveling to Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos on false promises of romance or high-paying jobs, only to be detained and forced to work.
Authorities formed a task force on Thursday to assist trafficked residents who had fallen victim to the scams.
According to Tony Ho, senior superintendent of the organized crime and triad bureau, almost all of the 36 requests for police assistance were related to job scams.
According to Ho, three men and two women have been arrested on suspicion of duping Hong Kong residents into accepting “highly unrealistic” job offers abroad.
According to Ho, 22 victims are still believed to be missing in Cambodia and Myanmar, and nine of them have not contacted their families or the Hong Kong police.
According to Ho, the victims were given flight tickets and most had their passports taken when they arrived before being taken to a scam center and forced to defraud others.
On Sunday, politicians from Hong Kong’s DAB party told reporters that a victim’s family had approached them for assistance after the Hong Konger had been trapped for about a month in a human trafficking hotspot in Myanmar’s Kayin State.
“His family believes he was physically abused,” Woo Cheuk-him, a politician who received the request for assistance, said.
“He claimed he was forced to work more than 10 hours a day… if he didn’t perform well, he wouldn’t be fed.”
Human rights lawyer Patricia Ho said on Thursday that Hong Kong’s existing laws were insufficient to combat such scams because the city lacked legislation specifically prohibiting human trafficking and forced labor.