KUALA LUMPUR: A 73-year-old woman claims she lost some RM87,000 (S$27,800) in cash and jewellery after being hypnotised by members of a syndicate headed by a medium.
Police said the syndicate comprised three female foreigners, believed to be Chinese nationals.
In the incident, the victim was on her way to the market in Sri Petaling when she was approached by one of the suspects, who stopped her on the pretext of asking about an aloe vera remedy.
While they were talking, a second suspect came up from behind and tapped the victim on her shoulder, causing her to go into a trance-like state.
"The woman was told she had brought a curse upon her family, which would cause her son's death in three days.
"After the 'warning', the two suspects took the victim to the third suspect, a medium," City Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Asst Comm Mohd Luthfi Ismail Abdullah told a press conference yesterday.
The medium instructed the victim to hand over her cash and jewellery and in a daze, the victim complied.
"She drove home to take some jewellery and to banks in Sri Petaling to withdraw money while being accompanied by one of the suspects.
"The victim then took a taxi bearing registration number HW 5599 to a bank in Petaling Jaya to take some more jewellery before wrapping the cash and jewellery in a newspaper and putting them in a plastic bag," he said.
When she returned to the syndicate's hideout, the victim handed the plastic bag to the medium, who instructed the victim to turn around," added ACP Mohd Luthfi.
With the victim's back to the medium, the medium then performed a ritual which ended with her hitting a car window and shouting the name of the victim's son.
"She returned the plastic bag to the victim before asking her to leave," he said.
The victim only realised she was duped when she returned home and discovered the plastic bag was filled with two bottles of water and a few bars of soap.
ACP Mohd Luthfi said initial investigations revealed that the suspects, aged between 30 and 40, often targeted senior citizens near wet markets.
"We also discovered the taxi used by the syndicate has a fake registration number.
"We hope the public will be more careful and keep a lookout for the syndicate members," he said.
Anyone with information can contact City police hotline at 03-2115 9999 or its operation centre at 03-2146 0522, or the investigating officer Insp J. Kanakarajah at 03-9051 6282 or 013-277 5639.