"They Beat Me With A Baseball Bat" — M'sian Lured Into Higher-Paying Job Scam Returns Home

Cheah said he was grateful to be able to return home, but claimed there are "hundreds" of other Malaysians who are still being held captive in Myawaddy, Myanmar, where he was also imprisoned.

Cover image via Harian Metro & World Bank

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A Malaysian teenager's dream to earn a high salary overseas was shattered when he was duped by a human trafficking syndicate in Myanmar

The victim, who is only known as Cheah, aged 19, said he came across a job advertisement on Facebook for a waiter position at a karaoke centre in Bangkok, Thailand, that offered a monthly salary of RM4,000, reported Free Malaysia Today.

Cheah, originally from Taman Merdeka, Melaka, used to work in a cafe in his hometown with an income of RM1,800 a month. He said that seeing an attractive salary offer made him excited to try it out, without informing his family.

After contacting the advertiser in March, he was picked up by people who claimed to be workers from an employment agency in a Toyota Alphard multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) from Melaka to Sungai Golok, Kelantan.

He became suspicious when they crossed the border illegally into Bangkok, Thailand. That was when Cheah was told he would be working for a fraud syndicate, Harian Metro reported. 

During his three days in the city, he was forced to work in a 'love scam' that targeted Chinese-speaking victims living in the US, Singapore, and Taiwan.

He was then brought to the Thai-Myanmar border town, Mae Sot, using illegal routes, before he was transferred to Myawaddy.

Image via Harian Metro

"They hit me with a baseball bat every day because I refused to work," Cheah recounted

He was not only beaten, but also locked up like a slave for almost two months by the syndicate.

According to Free Malaysia Today, Cheah was also pushed from the third floor balcony of a building after getting into a fight with syndicate members and ended up with broken ribs and legs, as well as head injuries.

The syndicate took him to the hospital out of pity and he was admitted for two weeks.

When he expressed his desire to return to the country, members of the syndicate threatened his family members to pay RM120,000 as a condition for his release.

"After I left the ward, the syndicate said they were willing to release me but they demanded a ransom of RM120,000. After consulting with my family, they agreed to accept RM70,000," he lamented.

Cheah returned home last month after his family and friends managed to collect and hand over the funds to the syndicate.

Image via Kosmo

Cheah said he was grateful to be able to return home, but there are "hundreds" of other Malaysians who are still being held captive in Myawaddy

"They are being monitored by members of the syndicate who are also Malaysians. The supervisor is known as a 'motivator' who gives us guidance on how to deceive people around the world," he told reporters.

"On each floor, there were about 300 people, mostly Malaysians. They were beaten too, so I know they are also victims."

Cheah shared that the victims, including himself, were being held in a four-storey building in "a small village" in Myawaddy.

The Mae Sot-Myawaddy checkpoint in Myanmar.

Image via Burma News International

Meanwhile, it was reported that more victims have been rescued

At a press conference at Wisma MCA yesterday, 8 June, MCA Public Service and Complaints department chief Michael Chong revealed that eight more victims of human trafficking had been rescued.

He said he was informed of this by the Malaysian embassy in Cambodia yesterday morning.

"Our embassy officials went to the detention centre this morning (8 June) to meet them. I hope they will return home soon," he said, adding that seven of them were beaten while in custody.

"This matter has been brought to Interpol, the Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (MAPO), and I think the United Nations Human Rights Council is also aware of this," Asia News Network reported him as saying.

"11 have come home while 12 are being held in detention centres in Thailand and Cambodia."

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