Youths Locked and Forced to Beg

14 March 2007
Kuala Lumpur

16 Malaysian youths were forced to beg for donations and were kept under close guard in an apartment and a house. They were tricked by newspaper advertisements into well-paid jobs. The jobs were supposedly for positions of marketing executives and front office supervisors, paying between RM900 and RM1,000 per month.

The victims were not allowed to make phone calls and had only instant noodles to eat.

The Ampang Jaya police were tipped off by The Star when one of the youths managed to send an SMS to his family for help. The police then staked out around the house in Taman Pandan Ria and conducted a raid at 1:45am on Monday.

The youths were found sleeping on double-decker beds and on the floor. Police arrested four members of a syndicate.

It was learnt that the syndicate lured the youths from Sabah, Johor, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan and Selangor. The youths had to pay between RM150 and RM200 to attend a month-long training programme and were told that part of the money earned would be used to pay for their return air tickets. They were taken to an apartment where they were taught how to solicit money for charitable organisations.

Some of them were even taught to stammer to gain sympathy from the public. They were not allowed to communicate with anyone as they were constantly monitored.

Police have seized some receipt books and have learned that the victims have collected RM1,000 in total daily.

The case is being investigated under unlawful confinement and forced labour.

The Star Online – 16 youths locked up in apartment and forced to beg

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