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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Selangor victims cheated of RM20.8mil by Nigerian 'students' in scams

SHAH ALAM - They entered the country as students of local higher institutions of learning. But some of these “students” were found to be members of syndicates that have cheated victims of RM20.8mil in Selangor alone. 

Selangor Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) head Asst Comm Mohd Sakri Arifin said between January and November this year, police received 554 cases of scams amounting to RM20.8mil in losses. 

He said following a 40% increase in crimes related to scams and frauds compared to last year, Selangor police decided to carry out an operation to nab the syndicates. 

ACP Sakri said the modus operandi of a “parcel scam” syndicate is to lure their victims by first befriending them on social media. 

“The suspects, disguised as British citizens, will befriend their victims on social media. 

“Once the friendship progresses, the suspects will tell their victims that they will be sending them a parcel containing branded items or foreign currencies.  

“Another accomplice, posing as a Customs or Immigration officer, will instruct the victims to pay for the customs duty and delivery fees before they are able to claim the parcel,” he said at a press conference here on Tuesday.  

ACP Sakri said if the victims disagreed to pay the money, the suspects will threaten to lodge a police report against them for money-laundering. 

“The suspects will disappear after convincing their victims to transfer money into their bank accounts.  

“The victims are both locals and foreigners,” he added.  

On Nov 16, 36 people were arrested at an entertainment outlet in SetiaWalk, Puchong, at about 11.45pm on suspicion of being members of a parcel scam syndicate. 

ACP Sakri said the suspects, both local and foreigners, were attending a “recruitment drive” disguised as a birthday party when a team of Selangor CCID officers raided the premises.  

“The birthday party is where they bring local and foreign recruits to become account holders. 

“The party was a gathering for members of the syndicate,” he said.  

Among the 36 arrested were 18 Nigerian men, three Nigerian women, three Thai women, two Filipino women, one Vietnamese woman, one Indonesian woman and eight local women. The suspects are in their 20s and 30s.  

“One of the female suspects has 13 previous records involving African scams.  

“We are tracking down a female member of the syndicate in connection with a RM2.93mil scam,” ACP Sakri said.  

He said a few of the syndicate members came to Malaysia on student visas, and were registered with private colleges or universities. 

“We found photos of them posing with their luxury cars and bungalows in their hometowns.  

“They will funnel their 'earnings' into bank accounts in their respective countries.  

“They will return home once they have earned enough in Malaysia, or when their student visa expires,” he elaborated.  

Among items seized were laptops, wifi modems, cheque books, account books, receipts, pen drives, ATM cards and bill statements. 

The case is being investigated for cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code.

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