18 online loan scammers arrested in Penang

GEORGE TOWN: Eighteen people, including a teenage school dropout, have been arrested over an online loan scam that caused RM3mil in losses.

Penang Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Asst Comm Mohd Rosni Mohd Lazim said the group members, aged between 16 and 23, were arrested in two raids in Batu Ferringhi on July 15.

“During the raid on a house in Jalan Sungai Emas Satu at 1am, we arrested 12 people, including two women. Preliminary investigations show that one of the suspects is a tenant of the house while the underaged boy is a dropout.

“We seized 34 mobile phones, two laptops and 14 ATM cards,” he told reporters at the Penang police contingent headquarters here yesterday.ACP Mohd Rosni said following the first raid, one of the suspects led police to another house in Solok Sungai Emas, Batu Ferringhi, on the same day, which led to the further arrest of five men and a woman.

“During the second raid, we seized 10 mobile phones, a laptop and 11 ATM cards,” he said.

The syndicate’s modus operandi is to offer loans on social media.

“Victims will be asked to give their personal information and the loan amount required.

“The syndicate members will then contact the victims and ask them to make various payments as processing fees before the loan is approved. After the victims have made the payment, their calls will be blocked,” he said.

At the same press conference, Penang Narcotics Crime Investigation Department chief Asst Comm Mustafa Kamal Gani Abdullah said a drug-trafficking syndicate doubling as a coconut delivery service had been detected with the arrest of four men and the seizure of 23.85kg of heroin worth RM265,000.

“Police stopped a lorry at a roadblock along the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway at 10.05am on Sunday. A search inside the vehicle led to the discovery of 53 packets of heroin. The driver and two co-drivers, aged between 26 and 32, were detained,” he said.

Following the trio’s arrest, police picked up a fourth man, a 35-year-old lorry driver, in Rungkup, Bagan Datuk, at 4pm the same day.

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