Michael Cheuk Hau-yip, Undersecretary for Hong Kong's Security Bureau speaks during a press conference held at the Immigration Department in Hong Kong on Aug 18, 2022. (KATIE TAM / AP)
Hong Kong police have arrested six people over job scam after 37 reportedly fell to the scheme after being lured to the Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos to engage in illegal work since January.
The victims of the job scam continued to snowball over the past few weeks.
Revealing the latest figure of victims on a local radio program on Monday, Undersecretary for Security Michael Cheuk Hau-yip said of them, 23 are still being held hostage, with 14 believed to be in Myanmar and 9 in Cambodia.
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Another 14 escaped safely, with 11 returning to Hong Kong, Cheuk said.
Revealing the latest figure of victims on a local radio program on Monday, Undersecretary for Security Michael Cheuk Hau-yip said of them, 23 are still being held hostage, with 14 believed to be in Myanmar and 9 in Cambodia
Meanwhile on Monday, one more man, aged 29, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, making him the sixth person held over the scam.
Previously, the police arrested three men and two women aged between 17 and 51 over the same case. One of the arrested, aged 30, appeared in Eastern Magistrates' Courts on Monday morning.
Speaking to the media on Sunday, Tony Ho Chun-tung, senior superintendent of Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said of the five arrested, two men are believed to be key members of the group, and were responsible for manipulating the other three arrested people to post fake job search information online.
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Ho said they were suspected of luring victims with jobs of high pay and low requirements in southeast countries through friends, social media and telemarketing, before the victims fell into the trap and arrived in the designated countries.
Upon their arrival, the victims' passports were withheld immediately, and they were forced to engage in fraudulent activities online or through phone calls, Ho added.
Victims who refused to cooperate or tried to escape were even treated inhumanely, Ho said, adding that the investigation was still ongoing, with the possibility that more people will be arrested.
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Ho stressed that the Hong Kong police will continue to work with different units to make appropriate arrangements as soon as possible to ensure the safety of overseas Hong Kong residents.
The police urged the public not to fall into the scam by believing the misleading publicity and to seek help from the police in a timely manner if they are in doubt.