Prosecute scammers as criminals as civil cases not effective, says NGO

KUALA LUMPUR: The authorities must prosecute online scammers under criminal and not civil law, says a non-governmental organisation.

Malaysian International Humanitarian Organisation (MHO) secretary-general Datuk Hishamuddin Hashim commended the police for taking cases like the Zutello online investment scheme and similar matters seriously.

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"(However), we have observed a trend where such cases of fraud or scams are classified as civil cases.

"We hope criminal prosecution action will be taken instead of classifying them as civil cases.

"We see civil suits against these fraudulent companies as being ineffective," he told reporters outside the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department here on Tuesday (Feb 7).

He said from a legal standpoint, those filing the suits would probably win but the respondents may not have fixed assets and could avoid paying compensation or even being declared bankrupt.

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Malaysian Community Crime Concern Organisation (MCCC) president Tan Sri Musa Hassan said prosecuting scammers as criminals would restore the community's confidence.

He said his organisation often received complaints that no investigation was carried out in reports they lodged against scammers.

"Cases like these need swift action to be taken as we don't want the public to think that scammers are protected.

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"Police need to find these people so that they can be brought to justice. That way, the image of the force can be maintained, and will not be disparaged especially by the community," he explained.

Musa, a former inspector-general of police, also said that more information on scammers' methods must be circulated to the people so they know what to look out for.

"They must be aware of these criminals' tricks so that they can avoid them," he said.

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