SINGAPORE, Aug 16 — A joint operation by Singapore’s police and their Malaysian counterparts involving simultaneous raids in both countries has crippled two transnational scam syndicates which allegedly targeted South-east Asian victims.
In all, 13 people aged between 18 and 49 were arrested — nine in Malaysia and four in Singapore.
In a news release today, the police here said that the raids against the suspected money laundering activities were carried out in Kuala Lumpur, Johor, as well as in Singapore.
Officers from the Commercial Affairs Department worked with their counterpart at the Commercial Crime Investigation Department of the Royal Malaysia Police in simultaneous raids conducted in Kuala Lumpur and Johor.
Since last month, the two police forces have shared “critical information” based on the findings from reported scam cases.
Through close collaboration and joint investigations with the Malaysian authorities, the syndicates were identified to be based in Kuala Lumpur and Johor.
A team of 12 officers from Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department — together with the Malaysian police — conducted raids at two apartment complexes in Kuala Lumpur and Johor at the same time on August 10.
Nine people — two women and seven men aged between 19 and 39 — were arrested there for their suspected involvement in cross border money laundering activities.
The police said that the scam syndicates are believed to be linked to cases involving more than 60 victims. These victims had made reports for a wide range of scams — ranging from sexual services scams to government official impersonation scams as well as loan scams.
The police noted that for the scams reported in Singapore, losses had amounted to more than S$1.3 million (RM4.2 million).
Initial investigations found that the two syndicates are believed to have targeted Singaporean, Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian victims, with the criminal proceeds laundered in Malaysia.
In Singapore, the police arrested two men and two women — aged between 18 and 49 — for their allegedly involvement in aiding the money laundering syndicate by handing over their personal bank accounts or relinquishing their Singpass accounts.
The arrests were made simultaneously as those in Malaysia on August 10.
Another 24 people are assisting the police here with their investigations.
Investigations into the four arrested suspects here are ongoing, the police said.
If found guilty of facilitating the unauthorised access to computer material, they may be jailed a maximum of two years, fined, or both.
Those who are found guilty of unauthorised disclosure of access code for any wrongful gain or unlawful purpose can be jailed for up to three years, fined, or both.
David Chew, the director of the Commercial Affairs Department, urges the public to “stay away from the lure of easy money by responding to jobs that involve the abuse of your Singpass or bank accounts”.
“It is a criminal offence to abuse your Singpass and banking facilities at the behest of such criminals.
“We will take firm action against the money mules in Singapore, who sell their bank accounts and Singpass details to these syndicates or knowingly participate in the laundering of their proceeds of crime,” he said.
He also thanked his Malaysian counterpart, Commissioner Mohd Kamarudin Md Din, and added that the police will continue to collaborate with foreign law enforcement agencies to detect and deter such transnational syndicates. — TODAY