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Recruitment Company Refunding Clients After Fraud Allegations

People cross a street at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district Sunday, file photo.

A job recruitment company accused of fraud has begun returning money to its former clients.

Rice Natural Company allegedly failed to provide work opportunities in Japan, as promised, though it had already taken money from clients.

The company has returned about $400 each to nearly 50 workers, according to the rights group Adhoc, which helped broker the settlement on behalf of the clients.

Last week, the Ministry of Labor ordered Rice Natural and a second company, Century (Cambodia) Manpower Company, accused of similar fraud, to repay their clients.

Chhan Sokuthea, head of Adhoc’s alternative dispute resolution program, told VOA Khmer that Rice Natural has paid back 48 of an estimated 200 clients so far. Century Manpower has also promised to repay its clients, starting Wednesday, she said.

Clients reached Tuesday said they welcomed the chance to get their money back. Many are low-income wage earners, seeking employment abroad because they have few prospects at home.

“Because we are laborers, $400 is too much for us,” said Mak Rachana, a worker from Battambang province and one of the alleged victims. “This was not my personal money, but money I had borrowed from other people. I’ll do whatever I can to reclaim it.”