Just yesterday (4 Sept), a Malaysian couple was heartbroken upon finding out their 23-year-old son had passed away on 11 May at a hospital near the Thailand-Myanmar border. Goi Chee Kong and his wife, both from Ipoh, believed their son, Zhan Feng have been trafficked into Myawaddy in south-eastern Myanmar and was forced to work for a syndicate.
The duo also claimed that a doctor in the hospital said that their son had signs of being abused, according to The Star.
This all started when Zhan Feng travelled to Bangkok on 19 Jan to meet a friend he met on social media. He was supposed to be back in February but he did not show up. Two days later, his father lodged a missing person report.
On 31 March, the 23-year-old called his parent and informed them that he was in Mae Sot in Tak Province and needed RM80,000 for medical treatment.
“During the conversation, we noticed something unusual. We believed he was monitored and threatened. He was unusually quiet. He also apologised for not being able to return home. He promised he will return home a year later… We have not heard from him since then,” Chee Kong said.
After the telephone conversation, he believed his son was a job scam victim and lodged a police report.
Later in August, the couple was told that their son was ill and receiving treatment at the hospital.
“Therefore, my wife and I travelled to Bangkok, hoping to bring him back to Malaysia for treatment. However, we were informed he had died at 2 am on May 11. The doctor believed my son was abused before he was left at the hospital for treatment on 11 April,” he told Bernama.
Chee Kong explained that his son was admitted to the hospital’s ICU unit under a fake name and passport number. Due to the fake identity, the hospital could not reach the embassy and family to discuss his health condition and treatment.
“Without further medical treatment, he passed away a month later. His remains were buried at a cemetery in Si Racha in Chonburi province,” he said.
To bring closure to the family, Chee Kong said he and his wife hope to bring their son’s ashes home as soon as possible.
“We accepted my son’s death. I hope his death teaches all young job seekers a lesson. I hope his death will be the last,” he said.
Recently, there has been a rise in job scams offering Malaysians suspiciously good-paying salaries while working abroad.Victims then end up getting tricked into a syndicate instead.
In fact, a total of 195 Malaysians have been reported trapped in job scams abroad as of 2 September including in countries like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. Foreign Ministry, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah also noted that most of the victims were from younger age groups.
“This included those in their late teens and early 20s who are attracted to jobs offering salaries exceeding US$2,000 (RM9,000), huge allowances and other benefits such as paid holidays,” he said.
Hence, he urged Malaysians to be wary of job offers abroad, which supposedly came with high pay, as well as offers received through Facebook and messaging apps such as Telegram and WeChat.