How a translation app helped scammed Malaysians escape to freedom in Peru

The 43 Malaysians rescued from a scam syndicate in Peru owe their freedom to the determination of two of their number – and also partly to a smartphone translation application.

It was one such app that helped them communicate their plight to a neighbour after the two victims climbed over the wall of the compound where they were imprisoned.

Furthermore, Peruvian police who raided the bungalow where they were imprisoned had never faced such a situation before, foreign ministry Sarawak regional office director Fenny Nuli said.

It was thanks to the ministry’s efforts that the rescued Malaysians were classified as victims, and not criminals, or they would have been jailed, she added.

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Fenny said the victims told her they were locked in with all the windows closed and did not know if it was day or night.

“So these two victims got out and managed to get to a neighbour’s house.

“However, it was difficult for them to communicate in English, so what they did was to communicate using a translation app.

“Immediately after that, the police came and [informed the Malaysian embassy] about the situation,” she said in an interview on the TV Sarawak show “Dialog” on Thursday.

Of the 43 victims – 26 women and 17 men, mostly young people – 16 were from Sarawak, she added.

She said some of the victims told her that the syndicate assigned them to call Malaysians at night.

“So they would sleep during the day and work at night to call the scam targets in Malaysia (where it would be daytime).

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“Two of them climbed the wall to save themselves because they couldn’t take it any more.

“When the raid was carried out, the Peruvian police had never faced a case like this.

“So I explained to them (the police) what was taking place and also worked closely with the public prosecutor to classify [the Malaysians] as victims.

“This is because if they were classified as criminals, they would have been imprisoned in Peru,” she added.

In October, the ministry had said in a statement that Peruvian police raided a house in La Molina, where Malaysian victims were identified and rescued.

This story was first published by The Star

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