Job scam victims beaten, starved before escape from 'garden of hell', Latest World News - The New Paper

Job scam victims beaten, starved before escape from 'garden of hell'

SEPANG: For Mohd Farhan Azman who survived a brutal four months of beatings in a large barb-wired compound in Myanmar, the experience was “a living hell”.

The job scam victim said he was repeatedly beaten till he became numb and was starved when he refused to work as a European love scammer at a makeshift township called “KK Garden”.

The 19-year-old described KK Garden as a “dystopian town” surrounded by 4m-high walls, with barbed wire and guards carrying guns and explosives.

“You can find everything there. It’s a complete town except for a police station or a mosque.

“The place is even bigger than this airport,” he said after arriving in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

Mohd Farhan, who was battered and bruised, prostrated himself in gratitude at the arrival hall before breaking into tears and hugging his parents.

Along with four of his friends, Mohd Farhan had accepted a job offer as a housekeeper in Thailand in September. Instead, they were sent to KK Garden.

“We flew to Bangkok, Thailand, where a taxi was already waiting for us.

“We had to travel by car for seven hours until we reached the border of Thailand and Myanmar. We then stayed at a hotel there.

“In the morning, we travelled for another two hours until we reached a maize field before people carrying guns surrounded and took us in,” he said, adding that they were taken by boat to KK Garden.

Mohd Farhan, however, refused to work as a scammer as he remembered his mother’s advice not to cheat others.

When he and his friend Muhammad Redzuan Arif Rashidi, 21, refused to work, they were told to ask their parents for a ransom of RM15,000 (S$4,565) each.

“We were beaten daily and held inside our room for over a month. The last eight days that we were there (before they escaped), we were not given any food, so we only drank water,” he said.

They were both almost sold to another syndicate before they managed to flee after being dropped at a hotel during transit.

They ran to a restaurant and sought help from the owner.

Mohd Farhan was one of six people rescued with the aid of Teruntum assemblyman Sim Chon Siang, Malaysian and Thai police, the Malaysian embassy, Victor Wong, a Malaysian in Thailand and the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council.

The others rescued with them were Yong Ying Yien, 30, Felix Lim, 25, Wong Chee Hoon, 27, and 28-year-old Lim Han Hsin.

According to Sim, there are about 1,000 Malaysians still trapped in the KK Garden compound. - THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK