KUALA LUMPUR - A group of Chinese nationals had been making multiple "visits" to Malaysia from 2015, but they had sinister intentions.
Believing that the authorities in China would not detect them, the eight men and one woman set up a Macau scam syndicate, targeted victims in their homeland and were believed to have raked in nearly RM3 million (S$958,000) from their con.
The city police, however, got wind of their activities and were monitoring the group's movement for about a month before arresting the syndicate members.
City Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) chief Asst Comm Mohd Luthfi Ismail Abdullah said a team from the Sentul CCID raided an apartment at Bandar Baru Sri Petaling on July 17.
"We arrested eight men and a woman from China during the raid and seized items that included 52 mobile phones, a laptop, 176 ATM cards, four notebooks and two modems.
"We also arrested a Malaysian man who works as the syndicate's transport provider," he told reporters at the city police headquarters yesterday. ACP Mohd Luthfi said the suspects, in their 20s and 50s, entered Malaysia on social visit passes and student visas.
"Based on our investigations, they have been conducting these activities since April.
"We are looking into their modus operandi, but we believe the same syndicate also conned a local victim by pretending to be a police personnel from Penang," he said, adding that the suspects had been remanded until July 22.
ACP Mohd Luthfi said his investigators would liase with Bukit Aman and their counterparts in China on the case.
"I also want to advise the public to be cautious when dealing with anyone claiming to be a policeman or banking employee, or from any other enforcement agency over the phone.
"If anyone asks you for personal information over the phone, do not give it and head straight to the nearest bank for clarification," he said, adding that it was not standard operating procedure for banks to get account numbers or online account details via phone calls.
He said those with information on such cases must contact the police hotline at 03-2115 9999 or visit the nearest police station immediately.