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15 Mar 2022

Max Avary & Eugene Whong, Radio Free Asia

Last of 15 Thais trapped in Laos’ Golden Triangle SEZ are rescued

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15 March 2022

The last of a group of 15 Thai citizens who were duped into taking sketchy jobs in Laos’ Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone returned home Tuesday, RFA has learned.


Five of them were able to escape in late February by paying brokers to ferry them back to Thailand. Then in early March six more escaped the same way. The final four were rescued and departed Monday on flights to Bangkok.


A woman who was among the group of five to escape first told a Thai reporter that their initial task was to create Facebook pages and Instagram accounts using fake names and photos.

“They said we were working as administrators of the website of the Kings Romans Casino. … Later we were told to disguise ourselves on the fake social media accounts, trying to convince others to invest or buy shares of the company,” she said.

“At this point, we said to our Chinese boss that we wanted to go home, but the boss said that we have to pay the company 100,000 baht ($3,000),” she said.


Living conditions were harsh, and the sales goals were nearly impossible to achieve, a second male escapee in the initial group of five said.