Police arrest 23 Taiwanese over online shopping scam

Penang police say 23 Taiwanese employees of an online shopping scam syndicate were arrested in a raid on a luxury bungalow in Batu Ferringhi on Saturday. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 27, 2022.

POLICE busted a foreign online shopping scam ring after detaining 23 Taiwanese in a raid on a luxury bungalow in the Batu Ferringhi area in Penang on Saturday.

Penang police chief Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said a team from the state Commercial Crime Investigation Department raided the three-storey bungalow at 6.30pm following a public tip-off.

“We arrested 17 men and six women, all Taiwanese aged 19 to 48, in the bungalow, and initial investigation showed they were employees of a syndicate and entered Malaysia legally last month,” he told a press conference in Bukit Mertajam today.

He said the ring had been operating in the bungalow since last month and its modus operandi was to advertise branded items such as handbags, clothes and watches online at low prices targeted at Taiwanese buyers.

Shuhaily said unsuspecting Taiwanese were deceived by advertisements and made payments through the platform from the ring’s link but were never sent the goods. 

He said no local bank account was involved in the transactions while all the detainees claimed that they were lured by lucrative salaries of RM7,000 advertised by the gang on social media in Taiwan, but were only paid RM5,000.

Police also confiscated 46 mobile phones, 14 laptops, 12 prepaid cards, eight iPads, six walkie talkies, mobile wifi and a wifi router, while the Taiwanese were remanded for six days to assist in the investigation under section 420 of the penal code for fraud.

In another development, Shuhaily said police had recorded the testimonies of the organisers of a flash mob and seven people, who were demanding for cheaper goods at a gathering near the Seberang Jaya roundabout in Bukit Mertajam at 5pm on Friday.

He said some 30 people attended the gathering, which was carried out without a police permit, but which took place peacefully and ended an hour later.

“The group’s action to hold a rally near the roundabout is not only dangerous to them but also road users because it is congested with vehicles,” he added. – Bernama, June 27, 2022.

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