Johor job scam leaves 25 Chinese stranded

JOHOR BARU • Seven Chinese nationals, who were stranded at Johor's airport after being cheated in a job scam, were scheduled to fly out to Guangzhou yesterday evening, and another 18 will leave on another flight today.

The adviser to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Skudai in Johor, Mr Chan Keng Pang, said the 25 men had stayed at a hotel near the airport after their plight was reported in the newspapers.

Relatives and friends of the 25 farmers in China raised money to buy the plane tickets for them to return home, he said. The Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur had asked Mr Chan to help the farmers by providing them with meals and accommodation.

"These people are illiterate and were easily conned by bogus agents going to villages in China offering them jobs in construction sites in Johor Baru with lucrative pay," said Mr Chan.

He said there were many such victims being duped by bogus agents in China who use the ongoing mega property development projects by China-based developers in Iskandar Malaysia to cheat the unsuspecting farmers.

It was reported that the farmers paid up to 60,000 yuan (S$12,200) to an agent, who offered lucrative jobs at a construction site in Johor.

The victims, who are from different parts of China such as Jilin, Henan and Sichuan, were brought to Johor in batches from April 10 by the agent, who then left them at the construction site.

The victims later realised there were no such job offers at the site, and the work visa that the agent supposedly applied for them was actually a social visit pass.

They went back to the airport and, with the little money left, survived only on a meal a day, mainly relying on bread and biscuits.

The Chinese embassy said it sent representatives to the airport after learning of the farmers' plight and arranged for their accommodation and meals.

It said the Chinese government is concerned about the issue as well as the rights of its citizens going overseas to look for jobs and will take action against the unscrupulous parties involved.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2017, with the headline 'Johor job scam leaves 25 Chinese stranded'. Print Edition | Subscribe