A group of 51 English language teachers from South Africa who were scammed then left stranded in China have been released and can return to South Africa, News24 reported earlier today.
Group spokesperson Charl Venter said: “I can confirm that Chinese immigration had a meeting with them [the group] and they have been advised that they will be flying [them] back at their [China’s] expense.”
This comes as great relief to parents and family as some of the teachers had been in China since April last year. The first group will be flying to SA this coming Monday.
The alleged perpetrator of the scam, Owen Wang, is being held in China. It is alleged he convinced the group to fly to China on study visas, on the understanding that they would get work visas once there. “The schools never enquired about their working visas and never received them from Owen Wang. Instead our children were paid half their agreed upon salaries and told to hide from the police when they were investigated,” said Liza Bold, whose 21-year-old daughter Lee-Ann is among the detainees.
The young people were required to stay in the confines of their university dormitory as they had broken immigration laws, but the Chinese government acknowledged that they had been scammed. They also had to testify against Owen Wang.
Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Lindiwe Sisulu issued a warning to any South Africans accepting offers to work overseas. “We appeal to all South Africans to be cautious of these scams and to check with the relevant authorities before travelling to other countries. Dirco (the Department of International Relations and Co-operation) will continue to provide consular assistance to those South Africans in distress and also to keep those affected families informed of the latest developments,” she said. – You can read the full article on the News24 site.