KUALA LUMPUR: Bukit Aman will track down the mastermind behind the scam syndicate, who recruited the 43 Malaysians rescued in Peru, says Tan Sri Razarudin Husain.
The Inspector-General of Police said Bukit Aman CID's Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Atipsom) division (D3) would interview the victims once they are back to Malaysia.
"Police will record their statements. We expect them to give us their full cooperation.
"We aim to track down the syndicate responsible including identifying and detaining the recruiters," he told a press conference in Bukit Aman on Tuesday (Oct 10).
Razarudin said the 43 Malaysians - 26 women and 17 men - arrived in Peru on Sept 29, before they were rescued on Oct 7.
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"We believe this is the first incident involving Malaysians being duped to work for scam syndicates in South America.
"Usually such cases occur in South-East Asian countries such as Laos and Myanmar," he said.
Checks revealed the 43 Malaysians left the country legally, he said.
"We will check further with the Immigration Department and Wisma Putra on the matter," he added.
The IGP said the police would not relent in their efforts to educate the public on scams.
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"On top of enforcement operations, we will step up efforts to create more awareness on scams.
"There are still many who fall victim to scams, especially investment scams.
"We hope the public will use various mediums, especially the National Scam Response Centre (NSRC) 997 hotline to report and get more information on scams," he said.
It was reported that 43 Malaysians were rescued by police in Peru after they fell victim to a human trafficking syndicate operating a telecommunication fraud.
The Malaysians were involved in the so-called “Macau scam” that reportedly originates from crime syndicates in Taiwan and China, in which scammers impersonate banks or a public official to trick a person into disclosing their personal banking details or transfer money into a third-party account.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Peruvian police found the 43 Malaysians after raiding a house in La Molina in the capital city of Lima on Oct 7.
It said the Malaysian Embassy in Lima had visited them and found them in good condition.
“All victims have also undergone an investigation process and will be repatriated to Malaysia” soon, it said. No further details were provided on how the Malaysians were ensnared by the syndicate or how they ended up in Peru.
Activists and government officials say hundreds of Malaysians have been lured by lucrative job offers in South-East Asian nations such as Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, only to end up being made to defraud online users with Internet romances and cryptocurrency schemes.