21 Moroccan held by call centre scam gang seeks Thailand’s help

Photo via Facebook/ The Reporters

Moroccan nationals held captive by a call centre scam gang in Myanmar, near Tak province in northern Thailand, appealed to the Thai government for help. They reported being forced to commit fraud, physically assaulted and held for ransom.

The Moroccans contacted The Exodus Road Foundation in April after being coerced into working as scammers by the gang in Myanmar’s Karen State, reportedly led by Chinese nationals. They shared pictures of themselves and their injuries with the foundation.

The victims explained that they were invited to work in Thailand. However, upon arrival, they were taken to the scam gang’s headquarters in Myanmar and held for ransom, with demands ranging from US$6,000 to US$7,000 (about 250,000 baht).

If unable to pay, they were forced to work as call centre scammers and might be transferred to other scam operations.

The foundation reported the matter to the Moroccan Embassy in Thailand, the Myanmar Embassy, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 17. However, a month later, there was no progress on the case.

Only two Moroccans were released in early June. They revealed they had travelled to Thailand for e-commerce jobs, promised US$1,000 initially and US$2,000 with improved skills.

No update made

Leaving Morocco on February 25 with five others, they arrived at Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport on March 2. They then travelled to the Mae Sot district in Tak province and were picked up by a minivan, which took them across the river to what they later learned was Myanmar.

According to the victims, the scam gang leaders believed to be Chinese, took them to their headquarters and forced them into scamming operations.

The foundation then turned to the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), who investigated and identified each Moroccan victim.

The DKBA and The Exodus Road Foundation then filed another complaint with Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and Fair Party MP Kannavee Suebsang, who has experience rescuing human trafficking victims from Myanmar.

According to Channel 3, 21 Moroccans are seeking assistance, but more are believed to be held captive. Their families are worried, as some victims received death threats for exposing the scam operation.

Kannavee emphasised that the Thai government should not ignore these lives, even if the crimes occurred outside Thailand. As of now, there are no updates from Thai authorities.

Crime NewsThailand News

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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