KUALA LUMPUR – Police in Malaysia have arrested 60 foreigners during a mass raid on an Internet love scam syndicate in Kepong yesterday.
The operation, codenamed Ops Tiong, was carried out on an apartment complex by officers from federal police Commercial Crime Department (CCD) and four agencies.
CCD deputy director 2 Datuk Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof said the operation was to cripple the syndicate, which had been using the apartment units there as its base.
He said there were 332 Internet scam cases reported from January to April, involving losses of RM51.3 million (16 Million US).
Last year, there were 967 cases with RM40.9 million losses(12Million US).
“The cases involving Africans here are rampant. We are increasing our efforts to stop them.”
The three-hour raid at 2am saw police arresting 52 men and eight women from Nigeria (49 men, three women), South Africa (three men), the Philippines (three women), Uganda (one woman) and Thailand (one woman).
Five of them tested positive for drug abuse, while 28 did not have travel documents when arrested.
The raiding party seized 30 laptops and 68 cellular phones.
Rodwan said the syndicate’s modus operandi was to court women through social media, before promising to shower them with expensive gifts as proof of their love.
“The syndicate members will tell their victims that the items sent were seized by the Customs Department, and that they needed money to release them.
“The victims will be coaxed into transferring money several times.”
During the raid, several suspects had jumped from the apartment units, while some hid under their beds, in closets and in the ceiling.
There were even those who tried to fool officers into believing that they were not in the units, forcing the raiding party to break open the doors.
The operation saw officers from the CCD, Immigration Department, General Operations Force, Religious Department officers and Higher Education Ministry divided into 20 teams to allow a simultaneous raid on the apartment units.