GEORGE TOWN: There are more than 40 money game operators in the country with at least one-third based in Penang, according to an insider.
Many operators pick Penang as a base because of the strong demand here, which has a big Chinese population whom the insider claimed are willing to take investment risks.
The insider, who is well versed in such schemes and has invested in several, also claimed that six out of 10 adult Chinese in Penang that he knows have invested in such schemes.
“Out of the six, one is usually the agent. Two are hardcore believers while the remaining three will invest following the trend,” he said yesterday.
He added that many of them were involved in more than one scheme that offered high returns.
Tens of thousands of people from all walks of live – from professionals to retirees and housewives, and even college and university students – are believed to have invested in these money games.
They join for various reasons. Some want to earn extra money for their families while others feel it is a way to get easy money.
A businessman, who is vocal in opposing money games through a Chinese language Facebook page called Yuan Lai Shi Zhe Yang (so, this is the reality) which he manages, said some of the money game operators were listed in the “alert list” by Bank Negara Malaysia for years but no action has been taken against them.
“Money game operators are trying to change the mindset of young people, telling them that working hard to earn a living is no longer the trend.
“This is something very dangerous and will have a very negative impact on society. We don’t want our future generation to be lazy,” he said, stressing that there was “no such thing as a free lunch”.
He added that investors should ask themselves how long a company would survive if it kept giving out high returns to investors.
A money game player said the agents of get-rich-quick schemes and money games have a “complete package” to convince potential investors.
She said official documents, such as Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) licence and contracts, would usually be shown to the potential investors to gain their trust.
“Agents will also tell their clients that the high returns which the companies promised are workable since the companies are involved in huge businesses and even working with overseas companies.
“They will then further increase the confidence level of investors by telling them that the ‘big boss’ behind the company is someone powerful, or a specialist in certain fields such as finance or forex trading.
“The agents will also tell their clients that many other people had already invested in their schemes, and will show profiles of ‘successful investors’ with luxury cars or having a luxury lifestyle,” she said.
She said the companies usually gave out the promised returns on time during the initial stage, and also gave out attractive commissions to encourage members to rope in more investors.
“After a certain period of time, the investment bubble will burst and investors will lose their money,” she added.