Police cripple syndicate, arrest 15 Nigerians

SEREMBAN (Bernama) – It was an online romance syndicate that also acted as a recruitment agency, but Negeri Sembilan police managed to cripple its activities involving RM1.55 million with the arrests of 15 Nigerians including two women.

The syndicate members aged between 25 and 43, were arrested at their rented houses in Port Dickson and Mambau in Negeri Sembilan, and Puchong, Selangor, between July 2 and July 7.

Negeri Sembilan Police Chief Datuk Mohamad Mat Yusop, said that apart from its “love scams”, the syndicate which had been operating since 2017, had in recent months resorted to deceiving its victims through job offers.

One such victim was a 38-year-old man who was promised a job as a pilot in Malaysia Airlines Berhad, through Facebook on December 28.

“The victim got to know an individual named Oliver Cheng Li who had introduced himself as a Singaporean working as a pilot in Vietnam Airlines. He then offered the victim the job asking him to attend an interview at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Negeri Sembilan Police Chief Datuk Mohamad Mat Yusop shows the syndicate members’ details. – BERNAMA

“The victim then transferred money into three accounts under different names as instructed by the suspect on January 18. The victim realised he had been duped when the suspect failed to turn up as promised at the KLIA,” Mohamad told a press conference.

He added that investigation into the three account holders led to the arrest of a 54-year-old local woman.

The woman had allowed her accounts to be used for the syndicate’s transactions and was believed to be the girlfriend of one of the syndicate members.

“The woman was arrested on July 2 and was charged under Section 424 of the Penal Code for lending her ATM card. She pleaded guilty and was fined RM10,000.”

Mohamad added that of the 15 suspects, four of them had no passports, nine had a social visit pass and two were student pass holders and enrolled at a private college.

He stressed that while the syndicate was known for duping people into online romances, it had also delved into “job recruitment”.

Police had opened 33 investigation papers against the syndicate from 2017 to May 2019 involving 14 bank accounts.

The suspects would be remanded for 14 days for further investigation, Mohamad added.