A group of Indians who went to Thailand after being offered jobs there are being held captive and tortured in neighboring Myanmar, their families in India have claimed.
According to them, the Indians, mostly with technical backgrounds, were lured with jobs in Thailand but were instead taken to Myawaddy in southeastern Myanmar, which is controlled by an ethnic armed group.
Gang involved in cybercrime
The gang is allegedly involved in cybercrime, using the Indian nationals being held captive to target Indians through social media scams.
Around sixty of the prisoners in Myanmar are said to be from Tamil Nadu.
The incident came to light after some of them managed to escape from captivity and asked for help via social media.
“I was asked to lure clients through social media by asking them to book hotels online or make other investments. Then I found out we were involved in online scams,” one of those who managed to escape told The New Indian Express.
Abuse and torture for not reaching the goal
He added that they were given targets, failure to meet them would result in ill-treatment, including physical torture and electric shocks.
Although the gang gives prisoners a “salary,” it is far less than what they were promised, and it continues to be deducted if targets are not met.
The father of a detained Tamil Nadu man said his son had been “promoted” and asked him to move into their Thailand office.
But when he reached Thailand, he and several others were taken to Myanmar by road.
The Indian embassy tries to rescue the prisoners
After their plight surfaced, the Indian embassy in Yangon worked closely with the Myanmar government to rescue them, PTI reported, citing sources.
“There are other efforts to rescue these Indian citizens through various contacts in the business community as the area is not fully under the control of local authorities,” the source told PTI.
“So far, the embassy has rescued more than 30 Indian citizens trapped in the Myawaddy area and is continuing all efforts to get the others out as soon as possible,” he said.
Be careful with job offers
On July 5, the Indian Mission issued an alert warning against unscrupulous job seekers.
“The Mission has recently observed that some IT companies involved in digital fraud/crypto-counterfeiting activities in remote eastern border areas of Myanmar recruited Indian workers from various locations through their recruiters under the pretense of potential job opportunities in IT recruit sector,” it said.
After initial recruitment, the mission said Indian workers were being illegally brought to Myanmar without proper documentation, leading to their “trap.”
“In view of the above, Indian nationals are hereby urged to exercise due caution and to check recruiters’ backgrounds. It is advisable to have all the necessary information (job description, company details, location, employment contract, etc.) before accepting an offered position,” it said.
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