Three more Hongkongers report being held captive - RTHK
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Three more Hongkongers report being held captive

2022-08-19 HKT 12:07
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  • Three more Hongkongers report being held captive
Undersecretary for Security Michael Cheuk said on Friday that three Hongkongers have sought help from the authorities saying they are being held captive in Southeast Asia, in addition to eight others officials were already aware of.

Cheuk told an RTHK programme that the three latest suspected victims are in Thailand and Myanmar and although they are being held prisoner after apparently falling prey to job scams, they are able to maintain communication with their families.

The undersecretary said Hong Kong authorities are now trying to rescue all 11 alleged victims, adding that 12 others are believed to have suffered a similar fate, with 10 of these people since managing to get back to Hong Kong.

Cheuk said those who have returned spoke of being detained and forced to engage in fraudulent activities after responding to fake job adverts online.

"They have said if they complied with the order to work, there normally wouldn't be much problem. But if they didn't do well in their work, or refused to work, they would be beaten or abused," he said.

"Individuals have mentioned they had to scam people out of a certain amount of money, otherwise the syndicates would ask their family members to make up for the difference. In some cases where people couldn't pay in full, they have yet to be freed."

Ransoms demanded by the gangs can go up to the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Cheuk added.

Media reports said one victim escaped from the clutches of a gang in Thailand, only to be recaptured by them and trafficked to Myanmar when he couldn't secure a quarantine hotel booking to return to Hong Kong.

Asked about this, Cheuk said he wasn't sure which person the reports referred to, but authorities will help arrange quarantine facilities or travel documents for trafficking victims if necessary.

The undersecretary said the police's organised crime and triad bureau are investigating all the suspected trafficking cases and whether the gangs involved have accomplices in Hong Kong.