PETALING JAYA: Police picked up 47 Malaysians in Phnom Penh after a recruitment agency apparently hoodwinked them by promising them high-paying jobs.
The Malaysians, including nine women, were rounded up on Dec 11 on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital on suspicion they were members of an international gaming syndicate, NST Online reported.
The Cambodian police informed the embassy, which sent its officials to check on the Malaysians.
The embassy found the Malaysians, the majority of whom came from Sabah and Sarawak, were waiting to take up legitimate jobs in Cambodia.
It also found that most of them came from poor families and were promised good jobs in Cambodia by a recruitment agency.
“We have not ruled out the possibility that they are victims of a syndicate operated by Chinese citizens and that the recruitment agency may be a front for human trafficking.
“Efforts are being made to free the Malaysians and bring them home as soon as possible,” the source was quoted as saying.
Wisma Putra has been informed about the developments.
Julau MP Larry Sng said in Kuching today that efforts are being made to seek an early release of those detained with the help of Wisma Putra.
He said the families were concerned about the safety of their loved ones following reports that those arrested could be held without trial for three years.
Wisma Putra has since confirmed the arrest and said officers from the Malaysian embassy in Phnom Penh made a consular visit to the detainees after verbal notification of the arrests by the Bantey Meanchey police on Dec 28.
“Officers from the embassy had a meeting with the prison officials and the judge of this case,” a statement by Wisma Putra tonight read, adding that the embassy there is monitoring the case closely.