SHAH ALAM - A fly-by-night syndicate preying on wholesalers of lubricant oil and car spare parts has finally been busted after operating for 16 years.
In a raid at a warehouse at the Puchong Industrial Park at about 4.30pm on Wednesday, police arrested five people, including a 64-year-old man believed to be the mastermind who has been on the run from the police since 1998.
Police also seized items worth RM51,000 including 150 barrels of lubricant oil, 10 bearing clutches and six lorry tyres at the premises registered to Hock Chee Trading. It is believed the syndicate also used the name Hock Chee Hardware Trading.
The syndicate, which has been in operation since 1998, would acquire items, including lubricant oil, spare parts, mobile phone and laptop computers, from wholesalers by obtaining a three-month credit line.
It is learnt the syndicate would issue the suppliers post-dated cheques, which would later be returned when the wholesalers banked them.
Selangor Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Asst Comm Chong Mun Phing said the syndicate would then sell the items to consumers at a 30 per cent discount.
"The syndicate would register its companies under different names every three months.
"We believe they have been cheating people since 1998, when the mastermind was first tracked down for a similar scam in Kota Tinggi," she told reporters yesterday.
She added that the syndicate has been active in Johor, Malacca, Perak and Selangor.
ACP Chong said police also received 21 reports on a company operating under the name Zin Guan Trading, which had allegedly caused more than RM900,000 in losses among its victims.
"Its modus operandi is similar to the Puchong company, so we are investigating whether it is the same syndicate.
"We hope more suppliers and wholesalers can come forward if they have been victims of such syndicates," she said.
ACP Chong said police were still tracking down two men - Lau Hock Chee and Lee Koh Oon - to assist in the investigations.