19th August 2022 – (Hong Kong) The spokesperson for the Security Bureau said during media briefing at 5pm yesterday that a special investigation team has been set up to investigate the missing persons in Southeast Asia, and the authorities had received help from 20 Hong Kong residents in Cambodia since January this year, of which 12 were safe and 10 had returned to Hong Kong. As for the remaining 8 Hong Kong residents who lost contact, it is believed that their personal freedom is restricted and he stressed that the government would try its best to provide assistance.
Under Secretary for Security, Michael Cheuk Hau–yip said on a radio program today (19th) that he had received three more requests for help from Hong Kong residents who were suspected of being lured to Southeast Asian countries. 3 of them were linked to fraudulent recruitment cases. One of them is in Thailand while 2 of them are in Cambodia. Together with those who are still being falsely imprisoned in Myanmar, the location of the total 11 residents have not yet been identified. However, the relevant Hong Kong residents can still contact their families from time to time, reporting that they are temporarily safe, but their personal freedom is restricted.
Since January this year, the Security Bureau has received a total of 23 relevant calls for assistance from Hong Kong residents, including the above-mentioned 11 Hong Kong residents whose location are still unknown, while another 12 Hong Kong residents have been confirmed safe, 10 of whom have returned to Hong Kong, and among 2 of them, one expressed that he did not want to return to Hong Kong for the time being, and one is currently making arrangements.
Cheuk said that according to the residents who have returned to Hong Kong, after they arrived in Southeast Asian countries, they were required to commit fraud by phone or online, and were forced to reach a specified ‘sales quota’, otherwise they would be required to ask their family members to subsidise to reach the quota before they could be set free.
Some residents from Hong Kong who asked for help sent money to the local area through their family members before they successfully returned to Hong Kong. Cheuk also said that after receiving the relevant assistance, the Immigration Department immediately assisted in reporting the case to the local police according to the request of the persons seeking assistance.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner’s Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong stated that it will maintain close communication with the Immigration Department, the Consular Protection and Services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the embassies of relevant countries, and continue to follow up on the progress of the case. It refers to the complicated security situation in Myanmar and Hong Kong residents are advised to stay vigilant and avoid going to the areas. They should stay away from illegal activities such as online fraud and gambling.