Eight Filipinos rescued from Myanmar syndicate running cryptocurrency scams

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): Eight Filipinos who were trafficked to Myanmar to work as slave labour in a cryptocurrency scam there have been rescued, the Philippine foreign ministry said on Monday (Feb 13).

The ministry said in a statement four of those rescued – all men – were recruited online from Dubai. They were told that they were being hired as “customer support representatives” for a company in Thailand.

They were flown to Thailand, but were then smuggled to Myanmar, where they were forced to work for a syndicate running a cryptocurrency scam.

Four women, meanwhile, were caught and detained as they were being moved from Thailand to Myanmar.

All eight arrived in Manila early on Monday.

Acting Foreign Undersecretary Eduardo Jose de Vega said Filipinos seeking jobs abroad should be wary of spurious jobs being offered through social media.

He instead wound up in a slave labour camp in the so-called Golden Triangle that straddles Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. He was forced to work on currency trading scams, working 14 hours a day.

Another victim recounted how was beaten with water pipes and starved because he could not meet his monthly scamming quota of RM30,000. Others told of being subjected to water torture.

Some were forced to carry 20 litres of water up and down two flights of stairs, and there had also been harrowing accounts of organs purportedly being harvested from those who were no longer able to work.

It is believed that at least 1,000 Malaysians are still being held at the KK Garden in Myanmar’s Myawaddy township notorious for being a crime hub.