A young man is trapped in Thailand after he was lured on social media to a fake dream crypto job that didn't exist.
Koh Sheng Yur, 19, is believed to have fallen victim to a job syndicate scam after he left his family home in Malaysia for a lucrative career abroad without his passport.
His mother Loke Chooi Tip, 56, has shared his terrifying ordeal after she received a daunting call from her son begging for help to return home on April 15.
She says he has been stranded for a month and is reportedly being held by crooks in Lay Kay Kaw, Myanmar, who have demanded his family pay cash to his supposed employer of the cryptocurrency company.
His family have confirmed that his location is verified but they have only been allowed to speak to him through text messages.
Koh's mother has since alerted officials for help but remains confused as to how her son ended up in Thailand while his international passport is still at home.
The seamstress said: "It has been tough thinking about what is happening to him, whether he gets to eat, if he is being treated well and when he can come home… this is the longest he has been away from the family.
"When I last spoke to him, he was crying and I knew he was scared. I have no idea what really happened… how did he manage to cross international borders into Thailand and Myanmar without proper documents?"
She added that Koh left for Kuala Lumpur on April 6 he told them he had secured a job, reports NewStraitsTimes.
"He used to call me every day, "his mum said. "Suddenly on April 13, I could no longer contact him. So, I lodged a police report.
"Later on the same day, my husband received a text message from one of my son's friends claiming that he was in Thailand and that he wanted to borrow RM60,000 [ £11,035.8] to come home.
"I told the friend that it was impossible for him to go to Thailand without his passport. He was also carrying very little cash."
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She said she received a strange WhatsApp call from Koh on April 15, saying he didn't want to work in Thailand anymore, but someone else then grabbed his mobile.
"The man told me that my son was safe and that he could come home if I pay cash as compensation to his employer," Loke said. "I heard him scolding my son and my son was crying on the phone.
"I have not been able to hear his voice (since then) as he can only communicate through text messages. I am not even sure if it is him or someone else replying to the messages."
Local assemblyman Sim Chon Siang has been called in to help the worried family.
He believes that job scam syndicates have been hiring Malaysians as their local agents to promise young people jobs on social media.
He said: "We have been reading a lot of news articles about such scams in the newspapers and I hope the government will provide assistance and put an end to this."
He is planning to alert the Malaysian embassy in Yangon (Myanmar) to see how they can support Koh and others.
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