JOHOR BARU: An international syndicate duping victims with fake investment and job opportunities abroad is believed to have rented a golf resort in a remote area, hoping its “call centre” in the middle of an oil palm plantation will go unnoticed.
Over the past few weeks, the syndicate is believed to have raked in a substantial amount of money from victims in the United States and China.
The victims were duped into fake cryptocurrency transactions as well as job scams.
Sources said the victims were promised high returns while others were asked to pay a processing fee to land high-paying jobs which were fake.
However, their operation was busted when Johor police raided the resort and arrested 50 people, including locals and foreigners, in a series of raids over the last few days.
Sources said most of those held were Chinese nationals.
Police also arrested Cambodians, Mexicans and Singaporeans during the blitz.
All the suspects, including women, have been remanded to assist in investigations.
Johor police chief Comm Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat confirmed the arrests but declined to elaborate.
It is learnt that officers from the Johor Commercial Crime Investigations Department have also seized dozens of computers, mobile phones, modems and other electronic devices during the raids.
“Some of the locals held have police records for fraud,” the sources said, adding that this was the first time a syndicate hid in a golf resort to avoid detection.
Sources said all the suspects stayed at the resort and had their meals there.
It is learnt that the suspects were all well paid, with some earning almost RM10,000 from the monthly commission.
Their prime targets were all people living abroad.
“These people follow a script to dupe the victims into banking money into bank accounts abroad. In addition, each person must make dozens of calls daily via Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).
“There could be more people involved in this syndicate as the payments are deposited into accounts abroad,” the sources said, adding that police would need to work with Interpol.
The resort is hidden away in an oil palm plantation. The main entrance to the resort lobby is slightly over a kilometre away and the road to the resort is wide but winding.
A worker said many staffers have not returned to work since the raids.
The facilities of the vast resort are not fully operational as some of the furniture is covered with plastic sheets, and there are only a few people at work.
Asked if there are guests or golfers around, the staff said the resort is open but there is nobody around at the moment.