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NRI forum in Karnataka rescues Kannadigas trapped in cybercrime networks in Cambodia- The New Indian Express | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

Express News Service

BENGALURU: As news of Indians stranded in Cambodia and being forcibly dragged into cyber frauds associated with alleged Chinese firms came to light, the Non-Resident Indian Forum, Karnataka (NRIFK) got into action. 

The Forum rescued Ashoka from Magundi village, NR Pura taluk, Chikkamagaluru, who was stranded in Cambodia, and soon after, requested him to file a complaint with the police and embassy, so that action can be taken against the agencies involved. 

On Monday, the Forum welcomed Ashoka to Bengaluru. He is one of two Kannadigas rescued from Cambodia. They were hired to work as data entry operators for a private agency for a salary of $1000-2000, but were placed in a Chinese company for hacking and cyber fraud, Dr Arathi Krishna, Deputy Chairman, NRIFK, told TNIE. 

Arathi said the other Kannadiga, Jaipal Jaishankar from Kolar, who had also gone to Cambodia, will be returning to Bengaluru on Tuesday. She said Ashoka’s family had approached her office for help, and that Ashoka did not want to work with the Chinese firm, and instead return to India, but his passport, visa and documents were seized. 

He had paid Rs 2 lakh to an agent to take him to Cambodia. Arathi said a few gangs are operating who promise Indians a particular job, but when they reach Cambodia, they are absorbed into Chinese companies and offered something else. Whether Ashoka was trapped by one such gang is yet to be verified.

Ashoka informed the Forum that he had seen over 500 Indians, including people from Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, who were trapped similarly. 

Arathi said that soon after the family had sought their help, she had contacted the Ministry of External Affairs. The matter was also brought to the attention of the Indian Embassy in Cambodia. 

Forum officials said such cases are increasing by the day. Victims are forced to be a part of illegal activities and face constant threats of physical and mental torture. 

Lexx than 2K NRIs have registered on portal 

Even as the Non-Resident Indian Forum, Karnataka has asked all NRIs to register with them online, only 10-12 have done it so far. The Forum was formed in 2008, however, the state government and Forum asked all NRIs to register with them in January 2023, so they can be contacted in case of any untoward incidents. Forum member-secretary Lakshmamma P told TNIE that so far, only 10-12 people have registered online, while 1,900 people have done it offline.

“It is very unfortunate that many are not aware of this. Indians are spread across the globe. Most of them are in the US, UK and Australia. We are trying to contact as many as we can and get them registered. It is not mandatory, but the government has asked people to do it, as it is beneficial to them,” she said. Grievances can be registered online on the Ministry of External Affairs consular services management system portal, called Madad.

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