Police in Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam, have arrested and pressed criminal charges on three Malaysian men who allegedly lured 30 Indonesians to Vietnam through false promises of good jobs but actually forced them to join fraudulent acts for asset misappropriation.
The three Malaysian nationals include Leaw Boon Kiat, 36, Thong Joon Kin, 32, and Gan Ban Lee, 42, who have all been prosecuted on charges of “organizing for others to stay in Vietnam illegally,” the city’s police announced at a press conference on Friday.
The arrest warrants and prosecution decisions against these suspects have been approved by the municipal People’s Procuracy.
Earlier on March 12, the city’s police received a notice from the Department of Foreign Affairs about 30 Indonesian citizens who came to the Indonesian Consulate General in the city for urgent help after they managed to escape from a building where they had been kept under surveillance by a group of Malaysians.
They reported that they had been tricked to go to Vietnam to get satisfactory jobs, but in fact, they were later forced to engage in scams.
They accused the Malaysians of forcing them to pretend to be Indonesian police officers, prosecutors or bank employees to make phone calls to other people in Indonesia asking them to transfer money to designated accounts for appropriation purposes, the group reported.
A police team was immediately sent to the building, at 455 Binh Quoi Street in Binh Thanh District, on the same day for examination, but all the Malaysians had escaped.
Through investigative measures, police later detected that these suspects were staying at the Tan Son Nhat Hotel, in Phu Nhuan District, along with three other Malaysians, and had bought air tickets for their flight leaving Vietnam on the next day.
After being detained, Leaw Boon Kiat admitted that he had tricked 30 Indonesian citizens into traveling to Vietnam through his false promises of good jobs at hotels and restaurants that had been deceitfully advertised by his gang through a travel company in Indonesia.
These Indonesians were divided into six groups, of which the first entered Vietnam in November last year and the last on March 3, 2023.
All these victims were arranged to stay in the said building, which was rented by Kiat’s Vietnamese wife for VND109 million (US$4,630) per month, and had their passports and cell-phones confiscated by the Malaysians.
They were banned from getting out of the building and were compelled to join the aforementioned fraudulent acts.
Police officers have seized from the swindling gang two cars, 54 phones, nine laptops, 21 bank cards, 38 cell-phone SIM cards, two mobile network transmitters, and other items, which had been used for fraudulent activities.
Currently, the city’s police are coordinating with the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and the ASEAN Association of Chiefs of Police (ASEANAPOL) to expand their investigation of the serious case.
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