ILLEGAL labour involving Malaysians, which first surfaced with reports of cases in Australia, has now reared its ugly head in South Korea, Mingguan Malaysia reported today.
The report said the East Asian country was a tempting destination for those looking for jobs as it had various opportunities in the manufacturing and services sectors, instead of at plantations.
Aggresive advertising on social media sites, such as Facebook, have led to an uptick in illegal labour since the middle of this year.
It reported that the unscrupulous agents were using brazen promotional tactics, such as videos showcasing the large income that could be generated, to tempt Malaysians into accepting these illicit jobs without fear of repercussion from the authorities.
Two main agents were said to be operating in the country – a pair of siblings and two members of a family – smuggling in groups of 20 Malaysians into South Korea every month.
These people, who are aged between 16 and 50 years old, pay the agents between RM3,000 and RM4,000 and end up working in areas in South Korea’s capital of Seoul, such as Hanam-si, Suwon and Mugeok.
A source told Mingguan Malaysia that most of them were travelling outside the country for the first time and were not concerned about working without proper documentation. Some, the source said, had also previously worked illegally in farms in Australia but had since been deported and blacklisted from that country.
However, the source said the authorities were wising up to the illicit scheme and bolstering checks at gateways into the country, such as at airports.
The source said that, as is usual in the illegal labour business, workers were constantly abused, with many having their first salary held as a “deposit” or getting their wages paid only after a certain period of time.
“There are also cases of the agents themselves reporting the illegal workers to the authorities to avoid paying their wages.”