KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 15 Malaysian victims of cybercrime rackets in Cambodia have been rescued and brought home, with the government stepping up efforts to help the hundreds of citizens trapped in that country.

A special committee set up to act on the job scam syndicates held its first meeting yesterday, along with all agencies involved.

The rescued victims arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, amid reports of raids across Cambodia this week on cybercrime compounds suspected of trafficking people into the country to work in illegal gambling and scam call centres.

They arrived at Klia2 aboard Flight AK 535 from Phnom Penh at 11.50pm.

The Foreign Ministry said it has received 301 reports of people trapped by the job scam networks in Cambodia, as well as in Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.

Of this number, 168 people have been rescued, 34 are being held in immigration detention, and 99 more are still being traced.

Victims of the rackets say they were lured into Cambodia by promises of high-paying jobs at casinos and hotels but were instead forced to live in compounds and defraud online users through “love scams” and cryptocurrency schemes.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Amran Mohamed Zin had chaired the meeting yesterday on his behalf.

Saifuddin, who is away at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, said the special committee would work closely with the police and Malaysia’s foreign missions to bring the victims home.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad is Acting Foreign Minister in Saifuddin’s absence.

“I chaired a virtual meeting with Malaysian ambassadors and charge d’affaires in Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam on Monday to prepare the notes for Abdul Latiff to explain to the Cabinet on the issue pertaining to the job scams.

“The government continues to be committed to further empowering efforts to rescue job scam victims and bring them home safely,” Saifuddin added in a statement yesterday.

The formation of the committee, to be chaired by Saifuddin, was decided at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.