KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Mohamad Alamin said all 43 Malaysians who were victims of a Macau scam syndicate in Peru last September have been rescued. They will be repatriated to Malaysia on separate flights.
“Currently, the remaining victims are in a safe house in locations we cannot disclose for safety reasons.
“Family members do not have to worry because we have been informed that they are safe. The Peruvian government has cooperated in taking care of them and their safety,” he said at a press conference at the KLIA arrival hall.
According to Mohamad, the victims were offered attractive jobs as part of the syndicate’s modus operandi to lure them.
“They were offered jobs in hotels, casinos and even as chefs. They received free flight tickets, accommodation and food, and were offered handsome salaries of US$1,500 (RM7,200) a month.
“I urge everyone not to be deceived by such offers. You have to be alert and check properly. This requires a high level of vigilance and people must be aware that these scams can happen.”
Mohamad said the victims were told that the jobs were in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and not in Peru.
“But there was no problem when entering Peru because they used their passports, so it was legal. We do not have information about what they were supposed to do, because they had not started working yet before we realised it was a scam.
“The Foreign Ministry acted quickly, as did Malaysian and Peruvian police, the embassies of Malaysia in Lima, Peru and the Peruvian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, to prevent the situation from worsening,” he said.
Mohamad thanked the Peruvian government, Malaysian and Peruvian police and the Peruvian embassy for their cooperation in the rescue operation.
“We thank the Peruvian government for its cooperation in tracking down and repatriating the Malaysians involved in this Macau scam.”
He said the Foreign Ministry and the government will redouble efforts to educate the public about the modus operandi of these syndicates.
“We want to further increase our parallel programme and our campaign through social media to remind people to be more alert when accepting job offers abroad.
“I believe government agencies such as the police will also take similar steps to reinforce this awareness campaign.”
A 25-year-old rescued victim, who declined to reveal his name, said he found out about the job offer on Facebook.
“I was given a link that redirected me to Telegram and asked to provide personal information and passport details.”
He said he was promised a job once he arrived in Amsterdam, but he and the other victims were taken to Lima in Peru instead.
“When we arrived, our phones and passports were confiscated and we were held in a house for a week before we realised that we had been deceived.
“We tried to run away, but the house was guarded by an electric fence and the security was tight. It was like being locked up.”
The victims are currently in a safe house in Peru, and while the first three arrived yesterday, the remaining ones have been divided into groups and will be put on flights to Malaysia on Oct 28, 29, 30 and Nov 1.