Jakarta (ANTARA) - Some 37 Indonesians, whose passports were held by a company in Bokeo, Laos, were repatriated to Indonesia, an official of the Foreign Affairs Ministry stated.

Director for Protection of Indonesian Citizens and Legal Entities of the ministry Judha Nugraha said, the Indonesians could be repatriated from Laos via the Chiang Rai route, Thailand, as their visas were still valid.

The 37 Indonesians are part of the 45 Indonesians employed as online scammers in a company operating in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Laos.

"Meanwhile, eight other Indonesian citizens could not leave Laos yet because their passports are still held by the company," Nugraha noted via text message, Monday.

The Indonesian Embassy in Vientiane has coordinated with the Bokeo Police to retrieve the Indonesian citizens' passports held by the company and seek legal measures on the case.

The case emerged when an Indonesian, identified by his initials as MNH, sought government assistance as his passport, along with the passports of dozen other Indonesian workers, were detained by a company in Laos.

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According to MNH on his social media account, they have quit their job in the company.

The Indonesian Embassy in Vientiane immediately responded to the report by sending a request for assistance to the Bokeo Police to retrieve the passports of the Indonesian citizens.

Presidential Staff Office (KSP) expert staff Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin stated on Sunday that the government has worked quickly to tackle human trafficking crimes that tricked its victims into online scamming.

"The release and repatriation of trafficking victims, who were forced into online scamming, is the result of the government's quick work in dealing with it from the upstream to downstream level," Dzuhayatin affirmed.

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry's report, in early May, at least 25 Indonesian citizens were released from the Myanmar-Thailand border conflict area. The release process was assisted by the Indonesian Embassy in Yangon and the Indonesian Embassy in Bangkok.

Not long after that release, the Indonesian government and the Philippines authority released 240 trafficking victims at a company complex that allegedly operated an online fraud.

Of the total victims, 53 were repatriated on May 25-26, while the rest were still undergoing legal processes in the Philippines.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa Pramudyani, Sri Haryati
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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