The case of a Chinese man kidnapped and used as a “blood slave” by a gang in the Cambodian city of Sihanoukville has shocked authorities.
The man, surnamed Li, managed to escape earlier this month with the help of a member of the gang which ran an online fraud operation using a fake company, the Chutian Metropolis News reported.
According to Cambodia-based Chinese-language newspaper Asia Pacific Times , Li, a 31-year-old from eastern Jiangsu province in China, had 800ml of blood taken from him every month since August last year. The blood was most likely sold to private buyers online, reported the paper.
As a result of the ordeal Li’s arms are covered with bruises and marks from needles. So much blood had been drained from Li that on the last occasion of drawing blood the nurse had to take blood from his head after the veins in his arms failed to yield sufficient blood.
Guidelines for safely donating blood recommend no more than 500ml at the most per donation, and while the fluid replaces itself within up to 48 hours, it can take months for red blood cells to fully replenish themselves.
The American Red Cross recommends people not to donate blood more frequently than every 56 days. However, if red blood cells are being taken, the number of donations that can be safely made drops to about three times a year. It is unclear which method the gang used to draw blood from Li.
When he was admitted to hospital on February 12, Li was on the verge of death with multiple organ failures, the paper’s report said.
He is in a stable condition now and receives ongoing medical treatment.
According to Li, he refused to participate in a fraud scheme run by the gang, and after they found out he was an orphan and would not fetch a ransom, they used him as a “blood slave”.
Li said one of the gang members threatened him by saying that if they could not take blood from his body, he would be sold to organ harvesters, the Asia Pacific Times reported. He said gang members often used electric prods to beat him and other captives.
He said he saw at least seven other men detained in a large room. Li said the other men didn’t have their blood taken as much as he did because his blood is type O, a universal blood type. He said the “doctor” who first tested his blood remarked: “Your type O blood is quite valuable!”
Li had worked as a security guard in Shenzhen and Beijing before being lured to the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in southern China by a fake job advertisement. Once there he was abducted by a gang who took him to the China-Vietnam border and forced him to cross at gunpoint.
He was first taken to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and then to Sihanoukville in Cambodia by ship. He was then sold to another gang running an online fraud company for US$18,500 (S$25,000), said Li.
“From top managers to HR staff [of this company] are all Chinese. They treat us coldly,” Li said, adding that they regarded him and other victims as “tools for making money”.
The Chinese embassy in Cambodia said on its website on Wednesday that it has urged Cambodian police to prioritise the case. The embassy also sent staff to visit Li in hospital earlier this week.
A Chinese man operating a social media account that highlights crime affecting Chinese citizens’ in Cambodia told the Chutian Metropolis News that the kidnapping and use of “blood slaves” is not uncommon in Cambodia.
The man, who was only identified by his online alias Along, said many online fraud companies in Cambodia will beat or hit employees with electric sticks when they can not deliver good business results or follow their rules. Some employees will be resold.
“In these circumstances, the company will try every means to exploit your value, including taking your blood,” he was quoted as saying.
This article was first published in Asia One . All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.