Hundreds rescued from Philippines scam centre: Police | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams

MANILA – Hundreds of people forced to work in an online scam centre in the Philippines were rescued in a raid on March 14 that also saw eight suspects arrested, according to police.

Acting on a tip-off from a Vietnamese man who claimed to have escaped from the sprawling compound in Bamban, north of Manila, police said they unmasked an operation where suspected victims of human trafficking were forced into conducting online scams.

“The rescued workers told us (the company) engages in love scams… cryptocurrency scams and other scam activities,” said Mr Gilberto Cruz, executive director of the crime task force that led the pre-dawn raid.

“The victims were controlled by having their passports confiscated so they were unable to leave.”

Police found 432 Chinese nationals, 371 Filipinos, 57 Vietnamese, eight Malaysians, three Taiwanese, two Indonesians and two Rwandans at the site.

The 100,000 sq m complex in Bamban was posing as an Internet gaming company, according to a police statement.

Across South-east Asia, scam centres have mushroomed, with crime syndicates luring, kidnapping or coercing workers into predatory online activities.

The scam industry is raking in unprecedented sums, the equivalent of billions of dollars, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Victims have reported travelling across the region, often on the promise of romance or high-paying jobs but finding themselves forced instead to cajole people into ploughing money into fake investment platforms and other ruses.

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