KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Perak-based SEA Gamer Mall confirmed today that the gaming store is currently going through the indictment papers issued by the US Department of Justice (DoJ), which has charged two of its senior executives for their part in a global hacking operation over at least the past six years.
The two have been identified as Wong Ong Hua and Ling Yang Ching, according to a report by The Star.
"All I can say is that we are looking at the indictment papers. Our lawyers are working on it. Have no other comments," its chief operating officer Tommy Chieng told the news outlet.
The DoJ charged Wong, 46, and Ling, 32, with 23 counts of racketeering, conspiracy, identity theft, aggravated identity theft, access device fraud, money laundering, violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and falsely registering domain names.
The US DoJ report stated that Wong and Ling were arrested on September 14 through cooperation with local enforcement authorities and are now facing extradition proceedings.
According to the company website, Wong is the founder and chief executive office of SEA Gamer Mall, which is based in Sitiawan, Perak while Ling is listed as a partner and chief product officer.
US Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen in a statement earlier announced charges against five Chinese nationals and two Malaysians who ran global hacking operations to steal identities and video game technology, plant ransomware, and spy on Hong Kong activists.
He said the Chinese defendants targeted well over 100 victims worldwide in a variety of industries and sectors.
He added that the hackers used a sophisticated technique referred to as a ‘supply chain attack’, in which the Chinese hackers compromised software providers around the world, and modified the providers’ code to install backdoors that enabled further hacks against the software providers’ customers.
The DoJ said Wong and Ling operated through SEA Gamer Mall.
“As an additional method of making money, several of the Chinese defendants compromised the networks of video game companies worldwide (a billion-dollar industry) and defrauded them of in-game resources.
“Two of the Chinese defendants stand accused, with two Malaysian defendants, of selling those resources on the black market, through their illicit website,” the deputy Attorney-general had said.
Gaming analytics company Newzoo reported that 20.1 million gamers in Malaysia spent RM2.7 billion on games in 2019, making it one of the biggest gaming markets in South-east Asia.
It stated that the majority of gamers spent money on in-game items or virtual goods with the most common being power-ups or additional abilities for a game avatar.
SEA Gamer Mall was established in 2007 with offices in China, Thailand and Indonesia.
On its website, the company claimed that it has 1.9 million registered.
Wong had previously said that most of the website's sales came from prepaid top-up cards and online game virtual items.