'Macau scam' ring busted in Malaysia

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUALA LUMPUR - The Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) has crippled a Klang Valley-based Macau Scam syndicate with the arrest of 44 Taiwanese and Chinese nationals.

Bukit Aman CCID (Cyber and Multimedia Crimes) officer Deputy Supt Hong Ken Hock said the syndicate had cheated more than 100 Chinese citizens living in the Jiangsu Province with losses amounting to approximately 3.5 million yuan (S$760,000).

"We carried out simultaneous raids around the Klang Valley after receiving a tip-off from authorities in the Jiangsu Province recently.

"We raided a three-storey bungalow in Taman Duta at 2pm Friday and arrested 22 Chinese nationals and 22 Taiwanese nationals," he explained.

Those arrested comprised seven male Chinese nationals, 15 female Chinese nationals, 16 male Taiwanese nationals and six female Taiwanese nationals.

They were aged between 20 and 40 years old.

DSP Hong said the syndicate, who preyed specifically on Chinese citizens, had been operating from the bungalow for the past three months.

"Initial investigations revealed that they would pose as officers from the national bank in China and instruct their victims to settle their so-called debts with the bank.

"In some cases, the victims would even receive letters from the "Court"," he related.

According to DSP Hong, the suspects would sometimes befriend their victims on social media and offer them "gifts".

"They would ask their victims to claim the gifts. However, their victims were required to pay certain Customs tax and duty for the gifts.

"This scam has caused dispute among the victims' family members. One person was even cheated of 1 million yuan," he noted.

DSP Hong said police are still investigating whether local syndicates or individuals were involved in the scam.