11 July 2024

Thai police from the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division (ATPD) have arrested a Chinese man who is alleged to be a leading member of a multi-national organised crime gang, which lures job seekers in Thailand to work as call centre scammers in Myanmar.

The Chinese man was identified as Hwang Tian-yong, aka “Ar Yong”, 31. He was initially charged with human trafficking by conspiring with more than three people to commit the offences.

ATPD police said that key members of the gang include three Chinese, one Malaysian, one Filipino, three Myanmar nationals and 11 Thais, allegedly with Ar Yong and another Chinese national as gang leaders and financiers.

Since last year the gang has been placing advertisements on social media, seeking employees to work in Myanmar with attractive pay. When the employees arrived in Myawaddy township in Myanmar, however, they were forced to work in a call centre 12 hours a day every day and, if any of them failed to fulfil the set targets, they would be detained and tortured, said the police.

If any of the staff wanted to quit and to return to Thailand, they would be told to contact their relatives back in Thailand to pay a ransom, according to the ATPD police.