Hong Kong police ask 36 victims of human trafficking in Cambodia to submit forms and upload photos for help

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Hong Kong police suspect 22 victims are still being held against their will, possibly in Cambodia or Burma.

Of the 22, police could not confirm that 13 were safe and where they were. HKPF is still trying to locate nine victims.

While 11 scam victims from Hong Kong returned to Hong Kong safely, three decided not to return to Hong Kong immediately.

Since the morning of August 22, Hong Kong police have arrested five local Hong Kongers. Two of them were suspected to be the thorny members of the fraudulent organization.

The five people arrested are being held for investigation. Ho pointed out that these scams usually start with high-paying, low-demand online job postings.

It is reportedly common for criminals to confiscate victims’ passports upon arrival at the airport before locking them up.

The criminals would then force the victims to work in a fraudulent call center. Victims are forced to attract others to become the next targets of criminals. The police said that if the victims failed or disobeyed, they would be tortured, abused and inhumanely assaulted until they agreed to work for the criminals’ scam organisations.

The HKPF said, “Many of these victims were rescued with the generous help of local Chinese ambassadors and the Beijing government.”

Other victims escaped on their own or paid a heavy ransom for their freedom.

The Hong Kong government is very concerned and is working closely with Interpol. SSP Ho said, “The National Security Bureau has created a special unit. Their priority is to bring the kidnapped citizens back safely.

The police also urged that if any of the members of the public suspect their loved ones of being a victim of these criminal groups or employment scams, they should contact the police department or the immigration department immediately. .

The Immigration Department has set up a WhatsApp hotline exclusively for foreign victims to ask for help. The hotline is +852-51908909.

It’s not a new trend
In 2021, approximately 20,000 cases were reported regarding overseas employment scams.

Police claimed: “The fact that the cases are overseas is part of what is hampering our investigation and rescue.”

Victim stories
Based on several media reports, the survivors managed to escape and recounted their horrific experiences being trafficked and forced to work for underground illegal groups.

Case 1
On August 18, 42 Vietnamese employees fled en masse from a casino near the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.

Malaysia’s China Daily interviewed 25-year-old survivor Mr. Hui (nickname) on Aug. 22, who said he was tricked into the scam by one of his neighbors. His neighbor arranged for Hui to work at the casino.

Once he got to what he thought was a well-paying job, he was forced to dress as a woman, as the criminals thought it would increase the value.

Mr. Hui was told that if he didn’t do what he was told, he would be electrocuted until he passed out.

Mr. Hui was sold to a Cambodian casino for 4 months, and the casino started asking the victims (whom they call piglets) to romantically lure Vietnamese online. As the criminals thought it would be more convincing, the casino forced the men to seduce and deceive Vietnamese men disguised as Vietnamese women. The prey would more easily fall into the trap of the scam.

According to Hui, he said the casino has a set target for scams. “We need to reach the target of 300-400 million VND per month (around HK$100,000-130,000 / $12,700-16,600) per month.

Anyone who reaches the goal will be guaranteed security for the next 30 days. A survivor who is friends with Hui told the newspaper that if he did not make the target, the criminals would electrocute his limbs. He would be tied to a chair and shocked until he passed out.

In Cambodia, Sihanoukville has become a gold mine for Chinese gambling developers and companies. As the largest mall, it has also become a hotbed for criminals.

The Hong Kong media am370 interviewed Ho Pui-Sze, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong. Ho believes existing legislation in Hong Kong is not adequate to deal with the incident across the country.

Ho said the existing legislation in Hong Kong is mainly enforced by different legislations such as Crimes Ordinance, Immigration Ordinance, Employment Ordinance, such as Criminal Offenses Ordinance.

These laws only target prostitution and human trafficking to or from Hong Kong. However, it does not cover labor exploitation and forced crimes.

She pointed out that the High Court had previously ruled that current legislation in Hong Kong could not target cases of human trafficking or forced labor, as there is no legal basis.

The law enforcement agencies can therefore not carry out corresponding investigations.
Ho said, “Right now, legislation and law in Hong Kong is too backward.

The government should establish and enforce legislation as soon as possible to increase deterrence.

America saw it coming
In July 2022, the United States released the 2022 Human Trafficking Report. While China is ranked at the worst, meaning its standard falls far short of US protections for victims of human trafficking, Hong Kong has also been included in the list of second-tier observers. This is the third year that Hong Kong has been on the second-tier list.

The report pointed out that the Hong Kong government has failed to meet the minimum standard to show its efforts in eliminating human trafficking.

The HKGov strongly opposed the report, arguing that the assessment is unfair and biased. The HKGov also said that human trafficking is not a common problem in Hong Kong.

But the recent cases of kidnapping in Cambodia prove the contrary.

HKgov reaction greeted with mockery
While Taipei was swift in its rescue mission, Hong Kong was almost unresponsive until the news reached the media a few weeks ago.

Michael Cheuk Hau-yip, deputy security secretary, said Aug. 19 that the difficulty in rescuing Hong Kongers is confirming the exact whereabouts of the victims and getting cooperation from local authorities.

Cheuk urged the public: “You can take a photo and fill out an application form for assistance and send it to the Immigration Department. Alternatively, you can call the immigration service for assistance.

Cheuk also claimed victims could use mobile data to retrieve the form and upload photos. He said after that, local law enforcement units would follow up with the Chinese Embassy and Interpol.

Since Hong Kong does not have its own overseas embassies, it can only rely on the Chinese Embassy and local authorities to help with its rescue missions.

Netizens then fired back at Cheuk, saying how would a kidnapped victim have time to use mobile data to download a form and upload photos? Some netizens also called the government’s bailout “stupid.” period time

  • Key words: anti human trafficking, employment scam cambodia
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