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Malaysian police dismantle fraudulent investment scheme targeting Singaporeans, all 20 suspects plead guilty in court

In a raid on September 5, Malaysian police dismantled a fraudulent investment scheme in Genting Highlands, predominantly targeting Singaporeans.

Investigations show the syndicate started operating in August, using mobile dating apps to lure victims into non-existent investment schemes.

15 Malaysian suspects confessed earlier, while 5 Chinese suspects pleaded guilty in court on Monday.

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MALAYSIA: The Malaysian police have made progress in the investigation of a fraud syndicate targeting Singaporeans, with 20 individuals involved.

Out of the syndicate members, 15 Malaysian suspects were charged and had confessed to their crimes two weeks prior, while the remaining five Chinese suspects were brought to court on Monday (October 23) and also pleaded guilty.

On October 10, Pahang police chief Datuk Seri Yahaya Othman revealed in a press conference that a raid was conducted on September 5 at a residential unit in the Genting Highlands region, resulting in the successful dismantling of a fraudulent investment scheme that primarily preyed on Singaporeans.

During the operation, 20 suspects were arrested on the spot, including 15 Malaysians and five Chinese nationals.

On October 11, the police charged the 15 Malaysian suspects in the Bentong Magistrate’s Court.

The charges indicated that on October 5, between 12:00 PM and 6:30 PM, at a unit in Genting Highlands, Pahang, they colluded to deceive investors through a fabricated investment scheme, contravening Section 120B(2) of the Penal Code on criminal conspiracy.

On Monday (23rd), the police brought the five Chinese suspects to the Bentong Magistrate’s Court and charged them with the same accusations.

With the assistance of a female translator, the charges were articulated in Mandarin, following which the prosecution displayed images of confiscated items and tools obtained during the arrest.

Each suspect admitted guilt individually.

The ages of the five individuals ranged from 27 to 40, and they entered Malaysia in stages between 2021 and October of the current year.

Subsequently, after the suspects pleaded guilty, the magistrate imposed a fine of RM 10,000 (approximately US$2,086) on each of them or sentenced them to three months in prison.

One of the suspects was additionally fined RM15,000 or sentenced to eight months in prison for overstaying.

Syndicates motivate themselves with inspirational stickers

According to the police investigation, some of the suspects had prior criminal records linked to fraud and drug-related cases.

Yahaya disclosed that initial investigations revealed the syndicate had commenced its operations around August of the current year, utilizing random targeting through mobile dating applications.

“After befriending the victims, they coerced them into participating in non-existent investment schemes, directing them to invest through a website provided by the syndicate. ”

“Subsequently, other members of the syndicate would persuade the victims to make the payments.”

During the raid, the police confiscated 19 laptops, 69 mobile phones, a passport, and a keycard.

Notably, on the screens of the confiscated computers, motivational stickers with phrases such as “60w (thousand) keep going (60w(万)加油)”, “persevere (坚持不懈)”, “12w (thousand) work hard for customer flow (12w努力引流)”, “work hard and don’t relax (努力不要放松)”, and “stay focused and make money (心沉下来,好好赚钱)” were visible.

1,160 individuals detained for suspected involvement in call center activities from January to September this year

According to the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) of the Malaysian police, the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) conducted a total of 148 raids from January to September 2023 to suppress call center fraud operations detected throughout Malaysia.

Of these 148 raids, 19 were related to online gambling, 39 to online purchase fraud, 46 to investment fraud, 23 to phone scams, 5 to non-existent loans, 1 to a love scam, 15 to unlicensed money lending syndicates (referred to locally as “Ah Long”), and 1 to a SIM card supplier.

In total, 1,160 individuals have been successfully detained due to suspected involvement in call center activities.

According to a statement issued by the CCID last Friday (20 Oct), upon examination of these 1,160 individuals, 791 were Malaysian citizens, while the rest were citizens of various other countries, including 300 from China, 20 from Indonesia, 13 from Taiwan, 8 from Bangladesh, and others from Vietnam, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, India, the United Kingdom, France, Nigeria, Nepal, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Jordan, and Iran.

Out of this total number, 501 detained individuals have been brought to court on various charges. The remaining 659 are still under investigation, with some released on police bail.

13 call centers targeted Singaporean victims

Investigations have revealed that out of the 148 raids, 69 targeted victims within the Malaysian population, while the rest targeted victims from around the world, including various countries such as China (38 call centers), Singapore (13 call centers), the United Kingdom (5 call centers), the Philippines (4 call centers), Hong Kong (3 call centers), Bangladesh (3 call centers), Taiwan (2 call centers), South Korea (2 call centers), and one call center each from Hong Kong/Denmark/Australia, Thailand, Sweden, Nepal, Mexico, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Australia.

“These call centers utilized specific applications to communicate in the intermediary language used in the targeted country in order to deceive victims from foreign countries, ” said CCID in the statement.

The Malaysian CCID emphasized their active collaboration with authorities from different foreign countries, including the United States, Singapore, and Australia, in their efforts to eradicate cross-border fraud crimes.

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