Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Foreign Ministry in Jakarta works closely with the Indonesian embassies in Myanmar and Thailand to rescue five Indonesians being employed in an online scam operation in Hpalu, Myanmar, the ministry's top official stated.

To this end, the Indonesian Government has sent a diplomatic note to Myanmar's Foreign Ministry demanding immediate and effective measures to rescue the Indonesian citizens from the online scam operation.

According to the Foreign Ministry's Director for the Protection of Citizens and Legal Entities Judha Nugraha, the Indonesian embassy in Yangon had coordinated and met with the police and immigration authority in Myanmar.

"However, we need to understand that the Myanmar authorities have limited outreach that enables them to get into the Hpalu region," he told journalists joining a gathering to break the fast here on Wednesday.

The statement refers to Myanmar's junta that is holding power in the country and facing a rebellion from several ethnic armed groups, he stated.

Nugraha further noted that the Hpalu and Myawaddy regions are known as strongholds of the ethic armed groups.

Hence, apart from applying the formal mechanism, the Indonesian Government also works with various ethnic communities in the country to help rescue the Indonesian citizens, he added.

"We also keep communicating with the Indonesians in Hpalu, Myanmar, and their families in Indonesia to have them updated with the latest measures taken to rescue them," he revealed.

Currently, the rescue mission has yet to come to a good end, but the Foreign Ministry continues to make utmost efforts to bring them home immediately, he remarked.

Increasing trend of cases

Regarding online scam-related cases involving Indonesian citizens, Nugraha said he recorded an increasing trend of such cases over the past few years. The total number of cases, recorded from 2020 to March 2024, stood at 3,704.

Some 1,114 of the recorded cases occurred in Cambodia, while the remaining 2,590 cases were found in countries, such as Myanmar, the Philippines, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates, he remarked.

Due to this rising trend, Nugraha spoke of having relentlessly appealed to Indonesians to remain cautious about fraud in overseas job offers circulated on social media platforms.

He suggested that they must doubly check the credibility of companies offering the jobs.

They must also ensure the jobs obtained after meeting all of the Indonesian Government's procedures and working visas issued by the embassies of countries of destination in Jakarta, he stated.

"Indonesians must be aware of fraud modus operandi. One of the warning signs of the fraud is that they are not asked to sign employment contracts in Indonesia. This must be suspected," he remarked.

He cautioned job seekers in Indonesia to also stay alert to salaries of one thousand US dollars or above being offered, though they are not requested to have special qualifications.

"If our job seekers find such job offers, then they need to report them to the Indonesian authorities to enable them to conduct a deeper probe into them," he added.

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Translator: Yashinta DP, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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