Scam Syndicates In Southeast Asia Need To Be Shut Down. Beijing Can Help
AN EDITORIAL REPRINTED FROM SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
By Josephine Ma
Josephine Ma is China news editor and has covered China news for the Post for more than 20 years. As a correspondent in Beijing, she reported on everything from the 2003 Sars outbreak to the riots in Lhasa and the Beijing Olympics in 2008. She has been based in Hong Kong since 2009. She has a master’s degree in development studies from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in English language from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Shocking accounts have emerged from victims of employment fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. and online love scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. in countries like Cambodia and Myanmar
China is a close ally to both nations, and it also has the networks, resources, technology and experience needed to tackle the problem
The plight of Taiwanese and Hongkongers who have fallen victim to employment fraud and online love scams in Southeast Asia has been in the spotlight in recent weeks.
Shocking video footage and accounts have emerged from people who say they were lured to countries like Cambodia and Myanmar by job or romantic offers and then detained, tortured and forced to scam others. Some were trafficked for the sex trade.
Those who have been freed were rescued by the authorities, or their families paid a hefty ransomRansom A ransom is an amount of money or other assets of value that is paid for blackmail, extortion, or under other threats or coercion. The ransom is usually paid in cash or now in cryptocurrency. Online blackmail, sextortion, and ransomware all demand ransoms to avoid negative outcomes..
Authorities say hundreds of Taiwanese have been reported missing in Southeast Asia, while in Hong Kong officials say they have received requests for help from dozens of families.
Malaysians and other nationalities have also reportedly been enslaved in the region.
There are mainland Chinese victims too, though the number is not known. The Chinese embassy in Cambodia in July said it had rescued several mainlanders who were being held captive after their families asked for help.
Beijing’s state media propaganda machine has meanwhile used the large number of Taiwanese who have fallen victim to the scams to attack the “incompetence” of the island’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
Official media has criticised the DPP for failing to rescue Taiwanese victims and for its shift away from the mainland for trade and investment to focus instead on Southeast Asian nations, saying this policy had made it easier for the scammers.
China’s embassy in Cambodia has also called for Taiwanese victims to get in contact for help.
But this will not solve the problem – the human trafficking syndicates that are running these scams need to be shut down.
It is well known among the non-governmental organizations which help human trafficking victims that criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. syndicates are often backed by triads and even government officials.
Political determination to wipe out such syndicates is crucial if the authorities are to truly protect people from being trafficked or cheated out of their money – in some cases their life savings – in these online scams.
China is a close ally of Cambodia and a major donor of vaccines and medical supplies to help the country fight Covid-19. It also has a cosy relationship with Myanmar’s military-led government.
Could Beijing use its networks, resources, technology and experience in chasing international fugitives to help these countries crush the syndicates? If it did, it would be a good way to win friends in the region.
SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Opinion
SCARS has been carefully monitoring the explosion of scams coming out of Southeast Asia over the last 3 years. We agree that China is the pivotal player in solving this problem because only the People’s Republic of China is willing to use its massive political pressure on these neighboring countries. In 2021 the Chinese were behind more than 400,00 arrests in China and Southeast Asia, which included 55,000 in Myanmar. Many of these arrests were actually rescues of Chinese citizens. However, in whatever way necessary, China has the will that the U.S. and Europe lack in fighting this plague – the U.S. and Europe could take a lesson in how China fights these crimes with so much success by welding the law enforcement action to their political and diplomatic actions.
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This program is designed to help scam victims struggling to recover on their own and for those who want to understand the overall process. You can be using other resources, such as traumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. counselingCounseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes. A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists". SCARS does not provide mental health counseling. or therapy, qualified support groupsSupport Groups In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers., or completely independent – on your own!
The SCARS Steps program is a complete program and is provided for the purpose of helping scam victims to overcome this experience. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues and challenges that a victim may have and help guide them through their recovery. But each person is different and it is important to understand your own reasons for being vulnerable to being scammed.
After the trauma of being scammed, you need to take steps to recover and move on. This may be an alternative to counseling in the short term, but we still encourage you to seek out professional help & support. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues, challenges, defects, or problems that a victim may have in a generalized way.
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A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims
HOW TO HELP ROMANCE SCAM VICTIMS FOR FAMILIES & FRIENDS OF SCAM VICTIMS
This SCARS Publishing book represents a complete guide to help the families and friends understand how these scams work and how to help the victim.
The SCARS Slate Book should be purchased by family and friends to better understand what happened to the victim and the traumatic impact on them. But it can also be shared by the victim so that they do not have to explain to family and friends about the scam. This publication is to help others to help Scam Victims to make it through this traumatic experience and recover.
Each person is different and it is important to understand how relationship scamsRelationship Scam A Relationship Scam is a one-to-one criminal act that involves a trust relationship and uses deception & manipulation to get a victim to give to the criminal something of value, such as money! Click here to learn more: What Is A Relationship Scam? work and why people are vulnerable; to being scammed, how they were lured in, then groomed and manipulated. This understanding is essential in helping them through the process of ending the scam and then on to recovery. The SCARS Slate Book will provide the information necessary to help support a victim through this process.
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Helps you get and stay organized. This publication is to help Scam Victims organize their crime information. Complete this information before reporting to the police then bring this book with you
Before or after reporting to the police the RED BOOK gives you a dedicated tool to record all the essential facts of this crime. The Victim, the Scammers, the Money, and your Police interactions. Everything that really matters can be easily recorded for your immediate use and for the future!
As we have seen, money recovery/repayment programs can become available years after the scam ends and you need to keep all the details of this crime in case it is needed. We have also seen scammers being extradited to the U.S. and other countries, this will help in the event you testify or give statements, Additionally, this helps you have your information ready to qualify for victims’ benefits, compensation, or aid.
The Official SCARS RED BOOK is your way of recording all the important facts of this crime so that you do not lose essential information, Complete the RED BOOK then put it away with the confidence that you will have it if or when it is needed.
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