Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fourth suspect held, RM1.1m cash stashed in apartment

KOTA KINABALU - Immigration officials have remanded a 46-year-old local woman in connection with the discovery of the RM13 million cash haul suspected to be from vice earnings during a raid in the city last week.

Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the woman was wife of one of three suspects arrested earlier in a prostitution syndicate sting, adding that his men found RM1.1 million in cash stashed in several boxes all over the apartment where she was arrested.

“After further investigation from the current suspects, we went to her house to arrest her.

“But we also found RM1.1 million in cash all over the apartment in boxes,” he told reporters here today.

Mustafar said that they have yet to find out the woman’s exact role in the case which is expected to be far reaching in terms of offences.

“We were just as surprised to find such huge amounts of money when we raided the spa premises,” he said.

Mustafar said the authorities believe the sheer size of the cash stash could not have come from regular business activities, but added they were investigating the sources.

“Looking at the case now, there are wide possibilities of where the money came from.

“We are looking at all kinds of aspects, from money laundering to human trafficking, prostitution, tax evasion and even illegal building renovations,” he said.

He also said the addition of partitions at the spa would be investigated.

In the November 24 predawn raid on a spa attached to a popular business hotel in downtown Kota Kinabalu, immigration authorities found 17 women of Filipino and Chinese nationalities believed to be offering sex services. The officials also raided a hotel room that was leased to the spa.

There, they unexpectedly found bundles of cash in denominations of RM50 and RM100 lying openly on the bed as well as stuffed into drawers and in boxes and big trash bags. The amount seized was RM13,563,227.60.

“When we raided, we were expecting to bust prostitution and foreigner visit pass abuse and we were surprised to find these huge amounts of money left out everywhere in the room,” Mustafar said.

Subsequently, three men ― two locals and a Filipino ― were arrested. They have been under a seven-day remand since last Friday.

Mustafar said that they were also looking into whether the hotel owners knew about what kind of activities went on in the premises leased to the spa operators.

He expressed scepticism that the hotel owners may be clueless when the lease was long-term.

“There was some remodeling done to the spa. There was a jacuzzi and there was jelly and condoms for sexual use, you know the activities go beyond normal spa services,” he said, using the “jelly” euphemism for lubricant.

“What we know is that they have been licensed to operate since 1999. How long they have been running illegal prostitution services or anything else, we do not know yet.

“But we have found records of business transactions since 2008, and we believe this money has been stashed over the years,” he said.

Mustafar said that an elite team, with the help of other relevant authorities will be looking into the various possibilities of offences and is expecting to find out more in the near future.

No comments:

Post a Comment