Some 32 villagers from Pingtan County in East China's Fujian Province
suddenly "disappeared" in Malaysia from June 11 and have not been heard from,
the Dongnan Kuaibao (Southeast Express) reported yesterday.
"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
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
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
labourers 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.
Yesterday 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 a 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 their fortunes in Malaysia.
The labourers' dream were 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 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 return home."
"Diplomatic efforts are continuing to help out the stranded labourers," said
an official with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who declined to be named. The
official reiterated the warning that Malaysia has not opened its labour