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26 Sep 2022

Joseph Sipalan & Aidan Jones, South China Morning Post

Malaysia PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob vows action to tackle overseas job scams as more victims emerge

20 September 2022

Pressure is mounting on Malaysia’s government to take the fight against human trafficking to the highest levels of Asean, following a viral Post video of the cremation of one of its nationals who died after falling prey to a job scam network.

[...] Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government viewed the issue seriously and was making efforts through all available channels to ensure the safe return of victims.


Scam centres in Cambodia’s Sihanoukville and special zones around casinos in Myanmar and Laos are conning tens of millions of dollars each week from people across Asia with fake investment schemes and the promise of online romance.

They are run mainly by Chinese gangsters and operated by young workers from across Asia – Hongkongers, Malaysians, Chinese and Thais among them – many reeled in by the promise of legitimate work only to become debt slaves unable to leave without paying a ransom.


Cambodia – the main base for the scam call centres – is hosting high-level Asean meetings in early October.