MANILA – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday revealed that the Chinese mafia that forced Filipinos to become cryptocurrency scammers in Myanmar still exist months after it was first exposed in her privilege speech in the Senate that led to an investigation.
Hontiveros said this time, the so-called Chinese mafia now operates in Cambodia following the revelation of a certain “Miles” who sought assistance from her office as there are other Filipinos who need to be rescued in Cambodia.
According to Miles, they were promised customer service or call center jobs. However, just as the senator learned from the victims from Myanmar, the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Cambodia also ended up being forced to dupe citizens from countries like the US and Canada of their life savings.
“Kapag wala kang nakukuhang kliyente, ang ginagawa, pinagtratrabaho [kami] ng mahigit 16 hours, walang tulog, 7 days a week… Meron po akong nakita at narinig ko po mismo na kinuryente na kasamang empleyado (If they failed to get clients, they are forced to work more than 16 hours without sleep seven days a week, I saw and heard that one was even electrocuted),” Miles recalled.
The victim was trafficked out of the Ninoy Aquyino International Airport (NAIA) and into Thailand, and was made to ride a van going to Cambodia. Others, she shared, would either fly from Clark airport in Pampanga and into Cambodia, or from Zamboanga and into Malaysia or other ASEAN countries before travelling to Cambodia.
Miles was rescued Monday night by Cambodian police authorities, with efforts from the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh. However, as of Tuesday night, they are being held at a police station without beds and basic facilities.
“I trust that our DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) can bring our kababayans home as soon as possible. I also expect that we keep closely working with ASEAN member-states to strategize how to effectively put a lid on these criminal activities. It is unacceptable that this devastating scheme keeps roping on our hardworking men and women,” Hontiveros said.
The solon said she also intends to disclose more details during the next Senate hearing on this particular issue.
“Clearly, this is an industrial complex that involves various actors from around Southeast Asia and beyond,” she said in her statement.
Hontiveros also urged the public to be cautious and observant of recruiters, especially if they offer work in Cambodia or Myanmar as customer service agents.
She also advised them to coordinate with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency. (PNA)