Saturday January 19, 2013
Police call out ‘Macau scam’
SHAH ALAM: A guarded neighbourhood meant to keep criminals out ironically became a haven for an international syndicate specialising in the “Macau scam”.
The syndicate, which operated out of a three-storey bungalow in Taman Ampang Utama, was crippled after police raided its hideout on Tuesday following a tipoff.
Arrested were 12 syndicate members – four men and five women from China as well as two men and one woman from Taiwan.
All the suspects aged between 19 and 36 years did not posses any identification or travel documents.
Selangor commercial crimes investigation chief Asst Comm Chong Mun Phing said the syndicate conned victims in China although it was based in Malaysia.
“The bungalow operated as a call centre where the suspects called victims posing as prosecution officers from China’s Financial Crimes Investigation Department.
“Victims are told that their bank accounts have been used for money laundering and asked to transfer their funds to an account claimed to belong to the government to prove they are not linked to illegal activities,” ACP Chong said yesterday.
The syndicate assures victims that their money will be “returned” in two hours but to ensure compliance, it warns that the government could freeze their monies and tedious court proceedings are involved to release them.
Victims are also warned that they could be prosecuted for “revealing official secrets” if they tell others about the transfers.
Police confiscated equipment including 11 notebook computers, 18 modems, 41 telephones, 21 mobile phones and hundreds of documents including dialogue scripts which syndicate members would read from when snaring victims.
Last year, police raided 10 bungalows in the Klang Valley and arrested 230 China and Taiwan nationals involved in a similar scam. Ten locals were also arrested.
ACP Chong reminded the public not to be fooled by telephone calls from individuals claiming to be from the authorities asking for a transfer of funds.