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‘Macau Scam’ suspects sent to immigration detention center
The 84 foreign suspects caught in the so-called ‘Macau Scam’ bust have been sent to an immigration detention center following the end of their remand order. The suspects from mainland China and Taiwan were arrested earlier this month in Malaysia, allegedly involved in an international scam syndicate which raked in over RM 4 billion from multiple victims. According to the Malaysian press, authorities believe the syndicate originated in Macau and that this was the first time the group had used Kuching, in Malaysia, as a base.
After months of investigation the police was able to arrest a group of 55 Taiwan citizens and 29 Chinese nationals, along with 3 locals, in two detached houses in the Kuching region.
The group turned both places into ‘call centers’ deceiving multiple victims in China, Taiwan and Macau. They posed as court officials, law enforcement and bank officers telling victims over the phone that criminals had used their bank accounts. Those who fell into the ‘trap’ were asked to transfer their money to another bank account. When they realized they had been duped, it was too late: the money was gone.
The calls were made through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which is transported by an IP network, instead of a public switched telephone network.
The police have been investigating the case for months and believe that the group was able to con thousands of victims in China since January, targeting mainly rich families in Suzhou, a city located 80km from Shanghai.
In cooperation with the Malaysian network brand, the authorities were able to trace the source of the calls: two addresses in Bukit Damansara and Petaling Jaya. These two bungalows, carefully prepared by the group, served as secure bases for their activities. The police told the Malaysian press that the syndicate used polystyrene foam boards and mattresses to cover the windows in an attempt to avoid curious looks from neighbors. Moreover, the group would change their base from time to time, hoping to avoid capture.
This was the third arrest, following previous raids in George Town, Penang and Seri Kembangan, also in Malaysia.
The suspects will remain at the immigration detention depot, in Semuja, awaiting deportation to their home countries. They have been under a remand order since the arrest on May 9. The three Malaysian citizens arrested were released last week, following the end of their remand period. According to Malaysian press, they claimed to be in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time,’ as two of them were only there to deliver food and the other one was a broker. CP
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