Local police apprehended the fraudsters last week in Vientiane Capital for posing as job recruiters and arranging fake visas for people to avail work opportunities in South Korea.
Vientiane Police alongside other relevant authorities managed to arrest the scammers who cheated around 100 people who were keen on going to South Korea for work. They charged the job seekers anywhere between USD 1,000-2,000 to procure fake tourist visas so that they could get work illegally in the country.
Lao laborers tend to take the tourist visa route to go even go to neighboring countries like Thailand where they get much higher pay for a less skilled job in the fields of fishing, manufacturing, and construction than they receive back home. South Korea has also come up as an appealing option as the country is often on the lookout for seasonal workers to make up for its labor shortage in rural areas.
A police officer on the condition of anonymity said that the fraudsters would disguise themselves as middlemen from companies approved by Laos’ Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare while lying that their companies would hire the victims once they arrived in south Korea.
Although the police were able to arrest the scammers but only some victims have are likely to get their money back as the middlemen often have no funds to pay back their victims.
“It’s a lot of money for Lao workers [to pay],” said the officer.
A former employee of a credible recruiting company said, one must hold a passport with a valid visa, and a “yellow book” issued by the Ministry of Labor to legally work in South Korea. He informed that the trend of issuing fake tourist visas for work started in Thailand and was soon picked up in Laos.
He also added that the work visa process usually takes more than 100 days, however, if the middlemen claim that they can get a visa within 10-20 days, they are lying.
According to the former recruiter even if some Laotians who paid money to the fraudsters were actually able to make it to South Korea, they most likely had to return back due to the fake visas.
Thankfully, some companies that the middlemen vouched to work for had contacted the authorities to apprehend the scammers to keep the issue from spiraling out of control.