Wisma MCA in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: Google Maps

An ethnic Chinese man who claimed to have the title “Datuk Seri” is alleged to have preyed on foreign domestic helpers and cheated five Filipinas out of about 38,000 ringgits (US$9,375), plus some passports.

Known as Datuk Seri John Wong, the con artist guaranteed five Filipino women Malaysian work permits, Shin Min Daily News reported. It cited Mercy Sison, 44, who represented the five victims at a press conference held on Wednesday by MCA Public Services and Complaints Department.

The Filipina who has worked in Malaysia for over 13 years met the man for two years. Sison believed Wong was a genuine datuk – a person honored with a traditional title – as the man acted with good manners and spoke fluent English. Five Filipinas were referred to him for help processing work permit applications.

One of the victims, Janice, paid Wong 12,100 ringgits in May 2016, but was informed this year that her application had failed.

The four other victims got in touch with Wong in May 2017 and paid him 25,772 ringgits. But they were only issued with temporary work permits and one of their passports was still withheld by the man.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Michael Chong said he had tried but failed to arrange a meeting with Wong to try to get their money and passports back.

Chong said there had been five similar cases this year, in which victims were cheated out of 270,000 ringgits in total.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.