KUALA LUMPUR: Several “internet love scam” syndicates were crippled in a recent cross-border operation conducted by the Malaysian police's Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) and the Singapore Police Force's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).
CCID director Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said 27 suspects, believed to be from at least four different syndicates, were arrested in the joint-operation known as 'Ops Tiong Global1/17', which was conducted between Feb 6 and Feb 10.
The suspects, aged between 22 and 67, include 13 Nigerians who are believed to be involved in 108 cases of internet love scams reported by victims in both Malaysia and Singapore, with losses amounting to approximately RM21.6 million.
Also arrested were 14 female suspects, comprising 13 Malaysian women and one Indonesian.
With the arrests, Malaysian police say they have solved four cases referred to them by their Singaporean counterpart, and 54 cases in Malaysia.
During the operation, 13 laptops, 26 ATM cards, 39 mobile phones, RM19,690 in cash, two gold chains and seven vehicles were seized from the suspects.
Police also froze money in two bank accounts amounting to RM135,000.
"This marks the first successful joint investigation between the two departments against elusive criminals involved in syndicated internet love scams.
"During the course of the joint investigation, CAD provided timely information to CCID, allowing CCID investigators to establish the identities of the suspects behind the scams," Acryl Sani said during a joint press conference this morning with CAD director David Chew.
He said all the syndicates were masterminded by the Nigerians who had entered Malaysia on student visas.
He did not rule out the possibility that the syndicates had also been targeting victims from other neighbouring countries.
The case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code (Act 574), Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA), Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA).