Malaysia police cripple Macau scam

Malaysia police cripple Macau scam
Well-organised: The exam hall-like set-up of the syndicate's operation centre in Equine Park, Seri Kembangan.
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

SHAH ALAM - While raking in millions from swindling victims and to keep their operations below the police radar, a "Macau scam" syndicate based its operations in a posh bungalow in an area with tight security.

However, despite the controlled access to the three-storey bungalow in Equine Park, Seri Kembangan, police managed to sniff out the syndicate's operation.

Late on Monday, a team from the Selangor Commercial Crime Investigation Department raided the high-end bungalow and arrested 21 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals.

Department head Asst Comm Mohd Sakri Arifin said those arrested were 21 men and eight women, aged between 25 and 40.

"They must have thought their operations were safe from detection because security in the area was tight.

"They wanted their operations to go undetected.

"Not even the house owner or the neighbours knew what was going on in the house," said ACP Mohd Sakri.

He said that during the raid, carried out at about 11.30pm, police seized laptops, handphones, wi-fi modem routers, a video recorder and various other electronic devices used by the syndicate members to dupe victims. A car was also seized.

ACP Mohd Sakri said that last year police received 416 reports from victims of the scam, with losses amounting to about RM15.24mil.

Another 66 reports were received from January until June this year with losses estimated at about RM2.68mil.

ACP Mohd Sakri said the syndicate members, posing as enforcement officers, would contact their victims using VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services and claim that their credit cards were blacklisted by Bank Negara due to outstanding card payments.

"They would tell their victims to transfer their money into a bank account, owned by the syndicate, to prevent the money from being impounded by Bank Negara.

"Another syndicate member would immediately withdraw the money from the account," he explained.

According to ACP Mohd Sakri, the syndicate kept a list of names of potential victims, which were chosen at random.

"Most of those who reported to us were businessmen.

"If you receive such calls, please go to the nearest bank and get confirmation before doing anything," he advised.

ACP Mohd Sakri also urged the public to be careful when shopping online.

"We received 302 reports from victims of online shopping scams until May this year," he said, adding that the losses amounted to about RM1.5mil.

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