Online sales scam syndicate busted, 23 Taiwan nationals arrested

BUKIT MERTAJAM: A total of 23 people, including six women, were arrested during an operation against an online sales scam syndicate at Batu Ferringhi.

Penang police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said the suspects, believed to be Taiwanese nationals aged between 19 and 48, were nabbed during a raid at a three-storey luxury bungalow house in Batu Ferringhi on Saturday (June 25) evening.

"During the 6.30pm raid, a team from the state and George Town police headquarters Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) seized several items in the house.

"The item that were confiscated were 46 mobile phones, 14 units of laptops of various brands, eight Ipads, six walkie-talkies, 12 prepaid cards, two units of card readers, two thumb drives, a portable WiFi unit and a WiFi router," he said during a press conference at the Central Seberang Prai police headquarters Monday (June 27).

He said investigations found that the syndicate had been operating at the premises since the middle of May this year.

Comm Mohd Shuhaily said the suspects were attracted to the job opportunity by the syndicate that offered a monthly salary as high as RM7,000.

He added that interogrations of the suspects found none of them were paid that high, with the highest paid receiving about RM5,000 per month.

On the modus operandi of the syndicate, Comm Mohd Shuhaily said the syndicate advertised branded items to be sold online to Taiwan nationals.

"Victims who have been duped by the advertisements will be asked to make a payment through an online platform where the syndicate will provide the link to the customer," he said.

Comm Mohd Shuhaily said investigations also found that no local bank accounts were involved in the transactions.

He said so far, only Taiwanese nationals have become victims of the syndicate, but police are still investigating whether any Malaysian has fallen victim.

He said police are still investigating the mastermind of the syndicate and the total losses from the syndicate activities.

He advised the public to use the webpage to cross reference the account details of sellers.

"The public must always be careful when purchasing things online and do not make any transactions or transfer money to unknown accounts," he said.

He said the system and application will enable the public to check any suspicious bank account or phone number.

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

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