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HomeEconomicsThe Chinese scam gangs of Cambodia forcing desperate young Asians into crime

The Chinese scam gangs of Cambodia forcing desperate young Asians into crime

This Week in AsiaEconomics

Cambodia’s Chinese scam gangs are forcing desperate young Asians into crime – and the pandemic only made things worse

Debt-saddled youngsters from across Asia are being trafficked by criminal gangs to work in scam call centres defrauding their compatriotsMost victims are from Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, but Indonesians, Malaysians and even Kenyans are also being duped by the scam call-centre gangsAseanAidan Jonesin BangkokPublished: 2:00pm, 27 Aug, 2022Why you can trust SCMP

It starts with a social media job posting, or a nudge over Facebook from an acquaintance, promising debt-saddled youngsters from Hong Kong to Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia rewards for overseas work in online sales.

But once the prospective employee leaves for their new job, they tumble through a trapdoor of trafficking, debt-bound to ruthless Chinese gangs who force them to scam their compatriots, or face beatings and the risk of being sold to another criminal crew.

Asia is in the grip of a scamming epidemic, centred on Cambodia but with lucrative outposts in the casinos of Myanmar and Laos’ anarchic borderlands.

It has cost untold numbers of people their life savings after they were swindled by elaborate scams offering love, high yield foreign-exchange deals and ponzi-scheme investments, or conned into believing they were paying off fake police and customs officers.

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