• Saturday, April 20, 2024

ASIA

India rescues citizens trapped in Cambodia to run online scams

India’s foreign ministry has said New Delhi is collaborating closely with Phnom Penh to “crack down on those responsible for these fraudulent schemes”.

India and Cambodian flags (iStock)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE Indian government led by prime minister Narendra Modi has said that 250 citizens of the country, who were coerced into running online scams in Cambodia, have been rescued. Seventy-five individuals were rescued within the last three months, although the timeline for the remaining rescues remains unclear, BBC reported.

The victims were initially lured with promises of employment but were subsequently compelled to engage in illicit cyber activities, as per a statement issued by India’s ministry of . Recent reports indicate that over 5,000 Indians were trapped in the Southeast Asian country, being coerced into participating in cyber-fraud operations.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals from across the world are believed to have become victims of human traffickers running deceptive employment schemes in Southeast Asia.

Read: India cyber agency issues high-severity warning for Google Chrome against ‘multiple vulnerabilities’

In August last year, a report by the United Nations disclosed at least 120,000 individuals in Myanmar and another 100,000 in Cambodia were coerced into cyber-fraud activities.

Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson for MEA, recently stated that New Delhi is collaborating closely with Phnom Penh to “crack down on those responsible for these fraudulent schemes”, the BBC report added.

The Indian Express newspaper reported last week that the Indian embassy in the Cambodian capital had received 130 complaints from Indians being trapped in the country. They were among several others who were allegedly coerced into deceiving people in India or in some instances, extort money from them by identifying themselves as officials.

Read: ‘Hacktivist Indonesia’ claims to attack 12k government websites in India: cybersecurity alert

The report also said that people the operators targeted in India were duped of at least Rs 5 billion (£47 million) in the past six months.

In a separate report, the outlet cited an official from the Indian embassy in Cambodia saying that they receive an average of four to five complaints daily from individuals ensnared in Cambodia after being promised job opportunities.

One of the rescued individuals, identified only as Stephen, told the Indian newspaper that he was recruited by an agent from the southern Indian city of Mangaluru and offered a data entry job in Cambodia.

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