PETALING JAYA, Nov 8 — Police have uncovered a local syndicate based in China involved in the infamous “Macau scam” which preyed on Malaysian victims.
Previously, Malaysia was used as a base by international syndicates from China and Taiwan to dupe their citizens.
However, this year Federal police discovered a syndicate from Malaysia had set up base in China to scam locals there.
Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department Cyber and Multimedia Crimes assistant director ACP Kamaruddin Din said 34 Malaysians were arrested last month by Chinese police.
“We initiated an investigation following a high number of reports lodged. The victims would receive calls from suspects posing as law enforcement and bank officers who informed them over the phone that criminals had accessed their bank accounts.”
Kamaruddin said the victims were asked to transfer money to a foreign-based bank account to ensure they do not lose their savings.
“We found out the calls were made via the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology instead of a normal telephone network.”
The cyber unit tracked down the calls that were made from China.
Kamaruddin said they informed their counterparts in China and Chinese police then raided an office building which operated as a full fledged call centre.
“A total of 34 Malaysians were arrested by the Chinese police during the raid. Investigations showed most victims were Malaysians. There were also Chinese victims involved.”
The exact amount of losses have yet to be establish but it is believed to be in the region of hundreds of thousands of ringgit.
“We sent an investigation team to assist (Chinese) police in recording statements. Further action will be taken by the Chinese police.”
In the past three years, more than RM83 million in losses have been reported by Malaysian victims over various phone scams.
Despite advice and repeat warnings from police, many are still being duped by syndicates which approach their victims by claiming they were officers from Bank Negara or even police officers.
They fool victims into transferring money into a bank account on the pretext their accounts had been compromised.
Bukit Aman Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) director Datuk Hamza Taib last week said the department will intensify their awareness on various scams and cybercrime through talks and online fliers via the media and related government agencies.