Some 32 villagers from Pingtan County in East China's Fujian Province
suddenly "disappeared'' in Malaysia from June 11 and had not been heard from,
the Dongnan Kuaibao (Southeast Express) reported Monday.
"We've not had any information from my brother for several days. Please help
them,'' a woman with the surname Weng in Pingtan County told a local newspaper
on June 19.
Hundreds of Chinese labourers, conned into parting with their hard-won
savings by the promise of work in Malaysia, have found themselves stranded.
But not only were there no jobs on offer when they arrived, the 300 or so
discovered that they are not legally allowed to work in the country, according
to Lu Yueke, a counsellor with the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia.
Some of those caught up in the labour scam paid up to 150,000 yuan
(US$18,000) to agent intermediaries, Lu said.
On Monday the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia confirmed that they are in contact
with local immigration departments to arrange for those affected to be
The majority of the would-be workers are from the provinces of Fujian,
Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shandong, Lu told China Daily.
After paying 38,500 yuan (US$4,600) service charge to go-betweens, Weng's
elder brother and 31 other villagers set off for Malaysia on March 21.
The villagers had been promised by intermediaries Wang Yonggui and You Degen,
that they could make fortune in Malaysia.
The labourers dream was quickly dashed and they discovered the reality of
Following the disappearance of the labourers, the two intermediaries at first
denied any knowledge of their whereabouts. They later admitted the labourers had
been put into a refugee camp by local police, reported the newspaper.
The Chinese Embassy has been in contact with the local Malaysian police
bureau and confirmed that all the 32 Fujian labourers are being detained by the
The embassy will arrange for a group of labourers to return home to Shandong
and Jiangsu tomorrow, said Lu.
Adding: "Then we will make arrangements to help those Fujian labourers to
"Diplomatic efforts are continuing to help out the stranded labourers,'' said
an official with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who declined to be named and
reiterated the warning that Malaysia has not opened its labour market, a fact
which was publicized on the ministry's website a long time ago.
All those people who seek to work abroad must think carefully and study the
labour laws and policies in those countries before acting, he added.
For their part those acting as intermediaries and who organize Chinese
labourers to work abroad should provide honest and reliable information, said
The illegal organization of labourers to work overseas has surged in recent
years, especially in the coastal areas where foreign trade is booming.
According to China's law on exit-entry across borders, those who illegally
organize others to leave the country face jail terms of between two and seven
years and fines.
Those convicted of the most serious violations of the law, however, could be
sentenced to even longer terms of imprisonment, said Huang Linfeng, a lawyer in