Video shows assault in Thailand in 2020, not 'Chinese job scam victim in Myanmar'

·3 min read

A video of a man being repeatedly kicked in the head has been viewed tens of thousands of times in Chinese social media posts that claim he was the victim of a job scam in Myanmar. The posts circulated online after officials in Hong Kong and Taiwan separately revealed new details of people lured to Southeast Asia in so-called "boiler room" scams. The video, however, has been shared in a false context. Parts of the footage have circulated in reports since at least December 2020 about a Thai company punishing a worker for alleged embezzlement. A senior Thai police officer who led the investigation told AFP that the victim was a Thai national.

Warning: violent footage

The video -- which shows a man kicking another man in the head in front of a room of people -- was posted on Twitter here on September 9, 2022.

It has been viewed more than 172,000 times.

The tweet's simplified-Chinese caption translates to English as: "Chinese young man got scammed to go to Northern Myanmar!

"The scammer is Chinese, the thug is Chinese, the one who got fooled is Chinese, and those watching [at the back] are also Chinese!"

A screenshot of the misleading post, taken on September 12, 2022

Online "boiler room" rackets have long had a presence across Southeast Asia but in recent months more details have emerged of people being trafficked and forced to work, AFP reported.

Victims have reported travelling to Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos on false promises of romance or high-paying jobs.

The same video was also shared alongside a similar claim on Twitter here and here.

But the video has been shared in a false context.

Thailand assault

A combination of reverse image and keyword searches on Google found a news report published by Thai news organisation Channel 3 on December 3, 2020.

It is headlined: "Man was physically assaulted and passed out for 3 days after he was not able to collect money from the client".

The report used parts of the video circulating in September 2022 with the false claim.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading posts (left) and the clip as it was used in the news report (right):

A screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading posts (left) and the clip as it was used in the news report (right)

At the news report's three-second mark, the news anchor says: "[Police] finally found the man who was physically assaulted by his boss because he collected an informal loan and didn't give it to the employer." 

Thai news organisation Naewna also reported on the same incident on December 3, 2020.

According to the report, police in central Thailand's Nonthaburi province launched an investigation after the video circulated on social media.

Police Colonel Witthaya Bowonsikharin, who led the investigation into the assault, told AFP that the man being attacked in the video was a Thai national, and officers had already made charges in the case.

"The man who was physically assaulted collected loan money from a client but didn’t give it back to the company, so the employer hit him", he said.

AFP has previously debunked other posts falsely claiming to show footage related to job scams in Southeast Asia here and here.