Thai women rescued from Cambodian scamming operation

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Three Thai women have confessed to being forced into making hundreds of daily calls for a Cambodian-based, Chinese-run scamming operation, under the threat of violence or prostitution. The women shared their experiences after being safely returned to Thailand.

The chairman of the Northeast’s Social Development and Human Security Volunteers (SDHSV), Khamphong Teerat, commended Thai and Cambodian authorities on the rescue of these three individuals, cousins aged between 14 and 25 years old, on March 29. The operation was a collaborative effort with the Consular Affairs Department and the Human Security Emergency Management Center, following a report to the police by the victims’ relatives.

The young women went missing from their home in the Khon Buri district of Nakhon Ratchasima on February 28. They revealed to the SDHSV that they had responded to a job advertisement for an online gambling website, claiming to offer assistance to members via the Line application for a monthly salary of 25,000 baht.

The women contacted the employer through a broker and were taken to Sa Kaeo Province. Afterwards, a man guided them across the natural border into Cambodia. When they arrived at their work place, they were made to take a typing speed test under the watchful eye of their Chinese employer.

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Upon failing the test, they were relocated to a five-storey building where they discovered around a hundred other Thais being coerced into working as call centre scammers. The women claimed that resistance was met with Taser shots.

Their task involved contacting Thai citizens under the guise of police officers, extracting personal information, and then passing the call onto another scammer. The women were expected to make between 500 and 700 calls per day, obtaining the personal details of at least three to four victims. Failure to meet these targets resulted in threats of being sold into prostitution, beaten or even killed, they alleged.

Leaving the building was prohibited and attempts to escape were met with severe punishment, including beatings with a baseball bat. One of the victims managed to deceive the gang into allowing her to call her family for help by pretending she wanted to recruit friends to join her, reported Bangkok Post.

The victims consider themselves fortunate to have escaped and express a desire to warn others about the dangers of accepting such positions.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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