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Thousands fall for Korean work scam

Thousands fall for Korean work scam

Alleged ringleaders of an overseas employment scam the Ministry of Labour says bilked thousands of clients out of money were charged with fraud in Phnom Penh on Friday.

Oun Sarath, 30, and Kim Sophat, 29, the director and marketing manager, respectively, of recruiting firm You Can Win Co Ltd, allegedly charged their clients $100 for forms the company advertised would permit them to legally work in South Korea, said Than Thavorak, an attorney representing the Ministry of Labour.

But the illegitimate forms the company sold were not authorised by the ministry, and provided clients no legal permission to work abroad.

“The Ministry of Labour did not approve the forms; it is illegal,” Thavorak said. “They cheated the residents who bought the forms.”

Representatives of You Can Win could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Officials from the Ministry of Labour began investigating the alleged scam in June, when You Can Win began advertising its service on Facebook, Thavorak said. Police had arrested Sarath and Sophat after Heng Sour, general director of the ministry’s overseas training unit, filed a complaint with Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

You Can Win is in the process of obtaining a license with the ministry to provide training for workers, but lacks any legal authority to approve Cambodians to work abroad, Thavorak said.

Lim Mony, a project manager for rights group Adhoc, was glad to hear of the arrests last week, as Adhoc had also received complaints about You Can Win, she said.

“They paid a lot of money to work in South Korea, but they were never permitted to work there,” Mony said.

Since the arrests, the ministry has advised victims to file complaints in order to receive compensation for bogus permits, Thavorak said, adding that authentic ones can be obtained through the ministry, Sarath and Sophat are both in custody and awaiting trial, according to Khieu Phalla, a deputy prosecutor at Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

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