Immigration Dept detains 164 online scammers operating from holiday resorts

Immigration Dept detains 164 online scammers operating from holiday resorts

LANGKAWI: A total of 164 foreigners and locals believed to be part of an online scam syndicate were arrested by the Immigration Department (JIM) at three holiday resorts in Langkawi today.

A total of 27 Chinese nationals, two Thais, one Myanmar national and 134 Malaysians aged between 18 and 35 were arrested during the noon raid.

JIM director-general Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud said the raid was mounted by the Putrajaya Intelligence and Special Operations Division following information channelled by the local community.

“As a result of six months of intelligence, JIM managed to detect the activities of the syndicate operating in resorts that have not yet been opened to the public after the Movement Control Order (MCO) period ended.

“The syndicate, which is believed to have been active since about a year ago, turned the resorts into operation centres and venues to train new members as operators,“ he told reporters near here today.

He said the syndicate, believed to be masterminded by Chinese nationals, also recruited Malaysians to carry out their illegal activities, adding that they would operate at a site for up to a month before moving on to other locations to avoid being detected by the authorities.

“The syndicate’s operating costs are estimated at RM800,000 per month involving monthly salaries, accommodation, rent and various other facilities. The investigation also found that the Malaysian suspects were paid RM3,000 per month and a commission of RM15 for each person they managed to recruit,“ he said.

Khairul Dzaimee said JIM also confiscated 756 units of mobile phones, 150 units of computers and laptops as well as various other electronic equipment used by the syndicate to carry out its activities, in addition to 17 Chinese passports.

Checks revealed that the suspects used new passports that had no travel records and medical treatment passes while the rest did not have valid travel documents, he said.

He said all Chinese nationals detained during the raid were being investigated under the Immigration Act 1959/63 and the Passport Act 1966 while the Malaysian suspects were being detained for further investigation, adding that JIM would also investigate owners of all three resorts involved in this case. – Bernama