by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA
GEORGE TOWN – Penang police have crippled a foreign investment fraud syndicate following the arrest of 21 people, including eight Chinese nationals, in a raid on two luxury homes in Batu Feringghi two days ago.
Penang police chief Datuk Sahabudin Abd Manan said the raid was carried out after detaining a Honda City car with a local man and a male Chinese national in it at an Ops COVID-19 roadblock at Jalan Batu Feringghi, here at 7 pm after they were spotted behaving suspiciously.
“Following the arrest, the police raided two luxury houses, namely a three-storey terrace house in Batu Feringghi and arrested 10 local men and a woman as well as five men and three women Chinese nationals, all aged between 23 and 37 years.
“Police also seized 453 mobile phones, nine laptops, five computer cables and an Ipad believed to be used by the syndicate to carry out the fraudulent activities. We also confiscated two cars,” he told a press conference here today.
He said based on the investigation, the syndicate’s modus operandi was to offer online stock investments suspected to be non-existent to investors in China and they interacted with investors or victims using the WeChat application for investment offers, investment updates and payment arrangements.
Sahabudin said investigations found that the syndicate had been operating for about two months in Penang by renting the houses and they were also believed to have networks in several other states by carrying out the same modus operandi.
He said all those arrested received payments or salaries between RM2,000 and RM4,000 every month to carry out the fraudulent activities.
“The syndicate operates in Malaysia to avoid being detected and punished according to the law in China as the victims are Chinese. Investigation also found that they (those detained) acted as operators to advertise stock investments as well as to contact victims to offer non-existent investment scheme by tricking the victims into making payments to the syndicate,” he said.
He said the syndicate used bank accounts in China for each transaction and police were conducting further investigations into the losses incurred by the victims including tracing the mastermind.
Four of the Chinese nationals detained did not have any identity documents while the documents of the rest had expired and the police were conducting further checks with the Immigration Department.
“All of them have been remanded for further investigations and the case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating while the eight Chinese nationals are also being investigated under Section 6 (3) of the Immigration Act 1959/63,” he said.