Freed Sarawakians reunited with families after Cambodia ordeal

Family members embrace each other at the Kuching International Airport.

KUCHING: It was a tearful reunion for 40 Malaysians who were reunited with their families at the airport here, following their release from a Cambodian prison.

The 40 were among 47 Malaysians who fell victim to a scam after being promised high-paying jobs, and were confined to the Banteay Meanchey prison outside the Cambodian capital.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed to release the group following negotiations with Malaysian officials and non-governmental organisations.

Eviana Nazreen Anak Sadin (right), who was among those detained in Cambodia, with her mother Evelyn Christy at the Kuching airport.

Evelyn Christy’s 20-year-old daughter, Eviana Nazreen Anak Sadin, was among those who returned today.

“I have had sleepless nights. I was worried sick about my daughter,” Evelyn said between sobs as she held tightly on to Eviana.

“I’m so happy she is back.”

Maria Rogetti, 33, was overjoyed when she was reunited with her brother, Mark Rogers, 24, who was in a wheelchair.

“I’m taking him to the hospital because he can’t walk due to a boil on his knee.”

Mark had complained to her about numbness on his leg and rashes on his body.

Jeffreydean Jude, 19, told FMT that he had gone to Cambodia after learning about a job offer on Facebook.

“I told my good friend Philipe Ho about the job offer and we both decided to go for it. I did not tell my dad that I was leaving for Cambodia because if he had known, he would not have let me go,” he said.

Jeffreydean recalled the moment they were arrested in Cambodia.

“We were brought to a cellar at the house we were staying in, and that was the first time we had known about the existence of the cellar.

“But the police came and caught us,” he said.

He said he was treated well in prison. “They gave me halal food because they knew I was a Muslim.”

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Fatimah Abdullah, who accompanied the 40 Sarawakians home, advised the public to verify all job offers.

“There is nothing wrong in looking for work overseas but applicants must verify the validity of the job offers,” she said.