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Scammers trap hundreds in Southeast Asia posing as lovers online

12:12 AM Mar 15, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
scammers trap hundreds in southeast asia posing as lovers online
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New Delhi, Mar 14:  BBC reported in a recent crackdown on fraudulent activities, authorities in the Philippines have uncovered a vast scam operation, rescuing hundreds of individuals from exploitation.

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The centre, located approximately 100 kilometres north of Manila, purported to be an online gambling establishment but was a hub for illicit activities, primarily targeting vulnerable individuals for human trafficking schemes.

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The raid, conducted by local law enforcement, led to the liberation of 383 Filipinos, 202 Chinese nationals, and 73 other foreign citizens who had been ensnared in the deceptive web of the scam.

These victims, predominantly young and tech-savvy, were coerced into participating in various criminal endeavours, including money laundering, cryptocurrency fraud, and the notorious "love scams."

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The modus operandi of these scams typically involves perpetrators assuming false identities to establish romantic relationships with their victims, subsequently exploiting these connections to manipulate or extort money. Victims are often persuaded to invest in fictitious ventures or coerced into engaging in criminal activities.

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Thursday's operation near Manila was instigated by a tip-off from a Vietnamese individual who managed to escape the clutches of the scam centre. His harrowing tale exposed the grim reality faced by those trapped within these establishments, subjected to coercion, torture, and inhumane treatment by their captors.

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Reports indicate that victims were compelled to engage in communication with their targets, primarily Chinese nationals, under the guise of affectionate exchanges.

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Many were coerced into sending messages and photos to cultivate a false sense of intimacy, perpetuating the illusion of a genuine relationship.

The rescue operation revealed the extent of the exploitation, with evidence of torture and abuse inflicted upon escapees.

Despite attempts by some to flee, many were recaptured, highlighting the pervasive control exerted by the criminal syndicates behind these scams.

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