Chinese tourist tricked after buying cheap tour package to Southeast Asia

By Anh Minh   January 1, 2024 | 04:55 pm PT
Chinese tourist tricked after buying cheap tour package to Southeast Asia
Travelers wait with their luggage at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, Dec. 27, 2022. Photo by Reuters
The story of a Chinese tourist who bought a cheap tour package to Southeast Asia and was kidnapped for three years recently went viral on Chinese social media.

The victim, identified as only Zhang, said he wanted to share his story to warn people to be careful while buying tour packages to travel abroad, South China Morning Post reported.

In November 2019, he bought a seven-day tour package to a Southeast Asian country whose exact name has not been revealed, for 4,500 yuan (US$630) in what he thought was a "discounted travel deal."

Upon arrival, he was quickly taken to a factory and coerced into working for an online gambling ring, Beijing Times reported, adding his personal belongings were confiscated.

When he tried to fight the kidnappers, he was physically abused.

He was assigned to recruit other members into the online gambling ring.

After six months, the kidnappers told him that he had submitted a ransom of 111,000 yuan (US$15,500) to be released.

Though his family managed to pay the money, he was sold to two other places.

He was rescued by police in October 2022, SCMP reported.

He said people should choose a reputable travel company and if receiving cheap tour offers they should be cautious and reconsider.

Last year, a Chinese crime action film "No More Bets" released in early August portrayed Southeast Asian countries as full of illegal activities, including human trafficking, organ trade, call center scams, and extortion gangs, according to Reuters.

A survey on Chinese social media platform Weibo last year revealed 85% of 54,000 Chinese people said they would not travel to ASEAN countries for fears of their safety, following the release of the movie.

Some regional countries including Thailand and Cambodia criticized the movie, saying it had tarnished tourism reputation of Southeast Asia.

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