Police in Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam have initiated criminal proceedings against a local man who was accused of trafficking four teenagers to Cambodia to work in a casino.
The suspect, Nguyen Van Anh, 45, nicknamed ‘Baldheaded Anh,’ a resident of the city’s Hong Bang District, has been prosecuted on charges of human trafficking, local police recently reported.
Anh, who had been jailed four times for various crimes and was released in 2020, recently worked for a gang that smuggled people aged 18-40 to Cambodia for working, and offered brokerage commissions to human traffickers, police said.
In early 2022, Anh approached four teenagers who are his son’s friends, developed close relationships with them, and then called them his adoptive children.
Anh later incited them, three aged 16 and the other 17, to go to Cambodia to get ‘easy jobs that pay well,’ and the teen group agreed to his suggestion.
On March 31, he took the teenagers to Ho Chi Minh City and then to an area near the Moc Bai border gate in Tay Ninh Province, where he handed the four children over to his co-gang members who took the victims to Cambodia by border crossing.
|Nguyen Van Anh, 45, nicknamed ‘Baldheaded Anh,’ who has been prosecuted on charges of human trafficking, is seen in this image. Photo: Hai Phong City Police|
The teens were later sold to the Yong Yuan Casino, which actually operates swindling apps and online games, in Kaoh Thom District, Kandal Province.
At the facility, the four children were forced to work on computers to cheat people into getting loans via apps with a daily wage of US$20.
They were subject to heavy fines if failing to meet daily targets set by the casino or violating its internal regulations, the victims recounted, adding that they were not allowed to get out of the workplace after work.
Being frightened by such a job, these children asked the casino management to allow them to return to Vietnam but they were asked to pay at least $2,400 per child as a ransom for their release.
After hearing the children report their situation on social media, their parents contacted the casino management regarding ransom payment and went to Cambodia to get back their children.
On April 22, one of the families agreed to pay $2,600 to a designated bank account to rescue a child from the casino. Meanwhile, the three remaining children were said by the casino to have worked for another gambling place, which demanded a higher ransom.
|This image shows Yong Yuan Casino, which actually operates fraudulent online games and other activities, in Cambodia’s Kandal Province. Photo: Dan Thuan / Tuoi Tre|
One day later, the families of the three teens paid a total of $10,000, also by bank transfer, for their release, police said.
All the steps of contact, negotiation, and rescue of the four children by these families in Cambodia were enthusiastically and effectively supported by Le Day, a Vietnamese man living in Phnom Penh, who was accompanied by Tuoi Tre (Youth) reporters during the process.
After these teens got home, their parents reported Anh’s human trafficking crime to police, who then investigated the man for the offense of “trafficking in people under 16 years old.”
However, while the probe was underway, Anh was arrested on June 26 after being caught illegally carrying 400 grams of meth and 1,000 ecstasy pills in Quang Ninh Province, about 87km northeast of Hai Phong.
Thousands of Vietnamese people could have been smuggled to Cambodia after they were falsely promised high-paying simple jobs there, Senior Lieutenant Colonel Khong Ngoc Oanh, from the Ministry of Public Security’s Criminal Police Department, told Tuoi Tre recently.
In fact, they were asked to engage in illegal work or become victims of forced labor or labor exploitation, Oanh said, adding that it is very difficult for authorities to verify cases and protect and rescue such victims.
Earlier on August 18, a group of 42 Vietnamese workers fled the Rich World Casino in Cambodia’s Kandal Province and tried to swim across the border via Binh Di River in Vietnam’s An Giang Province to return to their homeland due to overwork and unpaid jobs.
Among these runaways, 40 reached Vietnam, one died during the river crossing, and the remainder was recaptured by the casino guards.
Last week, the Cambodian Immigration Department said they were carrying out procedures to deport the recaptured worker along with 10 other Vietnamese, also from this casino, Cambodian media reported.
In the first half of this year, Vietnamese police coordinated with their Cambodian counterparts to identify and rescue over 250 Vietnamese people smuggled to Cambodia, with ransom for each of them ranging from $3,000 to $30,000, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Public and Security.
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