Indonesian police busts members of international credit card fraud ring

Three suspected members of an international crime syndicate have been arrested in Greater Jakarta over a series of ATM-card skimming attacks in the country totaling 3.9 billion rupiah (S$390,000).

A police investigation found that two Sri Lankan natives- identified as Vinoth and Siva, and Siva's Indonesian wife, Riska Deliawati- had installed hidden cameras and skimmers, electronic devices that read data from customers' cards, in Bank Mandiri ATMs in Jakarta and Bogor.

"The suspects cooperated with Canadian residents, Lee and Kingston, who sent several skimming devices, including computer chips, to Indonesia. The chips are essential for copying data from ATM cards," said National Police economics and special crime investigations division Brig. Gen. Kamal Razak in Jakarta on Thursday.

According to Kamal, the skimming devices were installed in ATMs at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Arion Plaza, Plaza Senayan, Senayan City and a rest area in Sentul, Bogor.

Using duplicate cards, the syndicate withdrew a total of 3.9 billion rupiah in May.

After receiving a tip-off about the unauthorized transactions from Bank Mandiri on May 14, the police launched an investigation and eventually arrested the suspects in July.

"Siva and his wife were detained at KM 19 of Jl. Raya Parung in Bogor, on July 1. A day later, we arrested Vinoth in the Tajur area, Bogor," Kamal said.

From them, the police confiscated 260 fraudulent ATM cards, two magnetic stripe writers, a spy camera, two laptops, 50 million rupiah in cash and several other skimming devices. According to the preliminary investigation, the three suspects kept a meager amount of the stolen cash, while the rest was transferred to the syndicate leaders, Kingston and Lee, in Canada.

"The three apparently used the illegal proceeds to purchase a car, two houses and a chicken farm in Bogor," Kamal said.

An official with Bank Mandiri, Siddik Badrudin, said that the bank had paid compensation to affected customers.

Aside from the three suspects, the police have also arrested two Sri Lankans, identified as Rajan and Wali, who have links to Siva.

The police found that Wali, who works at Siva's chicken farm, owns a fake Indonesian identity card.

The police's banking fraud investigations sub-division chief, Sr. Comr. Umar Sahid, suspected that Rajan, an illegal migrant, played a role in the ATM skimming. "He claims to be under the protection of the International Organisation for Migration [IOM]. However, we are investigating him because there is money flowing to him," Umar said.

Aside from the IOM, the police will also seek clarification about Rajan's status from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Indonesia.

UNHCR Indonesia public information officer Mitra Salima Suryono said that if Rajan was registered as a person of concern to the UNHCR, the office would continue to process his documents. "We will process his documents. This will not hamper the legal process against him or give him immunity," she told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.