MACC leads joint operation to bust scam syndicate that raked in millions

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 22 Feb 2023

The suspect was injured after jumping from the 14th to the 11th floor. He was stretchered off after the raid.

PETALING JAYA: A joint operation led by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has taken down a scam syndicate that had raked in millions since 2019.

The raid, which was conducted simultaneously in Kuala Lumpur and Penang on Tuesday (Feb 21), was a joint operation involving the Immigration Department, Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) and Tenaga Nasional, among others.

Dubbed Op Tropicana, 24 premises were raided simultaneously including three call centres or "boiler rooms", offices and homes of syndicate members.

"The raids were conducted after 'intelligence-based investigations', financial investigations as well as covert, undercover operations.

"Surveillance was also obtained from MACC's partners in Australia and other foreign countries, as well as the MACC's AMLA (Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities) division," MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki told Sinar Harian on Tuesday.

Syndicate members included those from Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and the Philippines.

"It is believed that they targeted victims in Australia and the United Kingdom with fake investment schemes.

"The scammers are believed to have reaped in around A$60mil (RM181.9mil) from victims since 2019.

"This operation is a part of a larger international syndicate that is believed to have cheated victims worldwide of around RM1bil," he said.

Azam added that the syndicate is also believed to have bribed authorities to carry out their operations here.

MACC's AMLA director Datuk Mohamad Zamri Zainul Abidin, told Sinar Harian that 11 suspects were arrested by the MACC and another 70 arrests by the Immigration Department.

He added that RM11mill in 74 bank accounts belonging to business and individuals were frozen.

During the raid at a call centre here, a New Zealand national tried to escape but was injured after he jumped the 14th floor and landed on the 11th floor in an attempt to escape arrest. The suspect broke his hand and leg in the fall.

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