Over the past couple of weeks we have focused entirely on articles and reports written by Indonesian victims of the scandalous new ‘multi-language’ schools. There is now a wealth of documentary evidence that International Language Centre and its numerous spin-offs such as Global Bahasa Speak Easy and World Language Academy are nothing but an elaborate fraud. We will never know exactly how many people this crime syndicate have swindled, but the number certainly runs into the thousands.
International Language Center alone was 9 branches and there have been cases where they opened booths, took deposits and then failed to open the school. For example, International Language Center Permata Hijau took payments of up to 12 million rupiah from scores of customers, but the school never opened its doors! Riswanda took the money and ran. He was apparently arrested by police on May 27th, 2015 after 40 victims all reported him to the police together. But the police, ranked as Indonesia’s most corrupt institution, released this swindler, citing “lack of evidence”. Apparently the sworn testimonies of 40 hard-working people count for nothing with Indonesia’s police. All sensible people presume that he paid off the police with part of his loot and went into hiding. The same thing happened with Yudha Fenty Firdaus Sugama, whose two family homes are now empty. We receive huge amounts of views of this blog from the United States of late. Perhaps this is where some of the swindlers are hiding out.
ILC: Hussein Lee, Werdy Kasim and the Crew
For the most part, we have just let ILC’s victims have their say. Piece by piece an image has come into focus, and it is one of almost unimaginable dysfunction. This is a very slick and professional crime syndicate who are masters of manipulation.They are constantly planning how to defraud more and more customers for ever larger sums of money. All of the key figures in these scams had their roots as salespeople in upmarket gyms such as Gold’s Gym and Celebrity Fitness.
They know how to convince people to hand over ten million rupiah for a year-long gym membership, and they have applied these skills to the multi-language school model. However, we should stress that these people are the bad seeds of the industry. Hussein Lee got the cash for ILC from a half a billion rupiah compensation claim against his previous employer, and Werdy Kasim, described by many as Hussein Lee’s right hand man, has faced allegations of sexual assault and harassment at his previous job, also a gym. He was allegedly fired for sexual misconduct.
Worryingly, Hussein and Lee have come up with some highly sexualized sales techniques at ILC. Only ‘attractive young women’ are employed to approach people in malls, and ILC allegedly has a ‘no jilbabs’ policy. No women in Islamic head-scarves can be hired. Furthermore, the women are made to wear short skirts. The plan is that men are more likely to sign-up to a course which is being sold by a girl in a short skirt. It is also alleged that many of the managers are in sexual relationships with the women who work for them, and there is a pernicious culture of sexual harassment and exploitation present in the company, all under the direction of Werdy Kasim, who has been fired for sexual misconduct elsewhere.
But even more than sexual exploitation, this is a company which is about ripping off people’s money. We have heard from numerous staff and teachers who are ex-employees. They have said that salaries are always paid late to the teachers and even the cleaners. In some cases they were not paid at all. There are broken promises on a daily basis about everything from class sizes to facilities to refunds. The schedule changes without consultation and people are not getting a fraction of the study hours they were promised. And of course, the biggest broken promise of all is yet to come. Soon enough, ILC will suddenly close its doors, just like as already happened at its sister school, Global Bahasa, and several thousand students will be cheated out of the 12 months’ education that they paid for.
These scoundrels have just opened a booth at Plaza Semanggi in Central Jakarta. Buyer beware.