KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Immigration Department on Wednesday (Jan 1) detained 87 China nationals in a series of raids in Puchong, Selangor, who were believed to be involved in scams.
Five residential and nine office units in Puchong were raided, said Immigration director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud.Eight of those arrested were women.
He said six desktop computers, 33 laptops and 203 mobile phones were seized in the raids.
"The suspects were detained as they are believed to be running an investment scam. At the time of the raids, the screens were showing various investment schemes, including forex trading and cryptocurrencies," he told a news conference on Wednesday.
The raids were the first in the new year on mainland Chinese citizens, following several major raids last year with hundreds nabbed.
In November last year, the immigration department nabbed 680 suspected Chinese scammers in that year's biggest single operation.
Dozens more escaped by running helter skelter away from the six-storey building in Cyberjaya, at the southern edge of Kuala Lumpur, as seen in videos circulated online.
Datuk Khairul on Wednesday said the Puchong units raided were also believed to have been used as training centres for syndicate members.
"We discovered various scripts and manuals for the suspects to follow. They are being trained to approach customers through online applications," he said.
He said that checks of the logs of the online conversations of the suspects showed that some of their customers had been cheated and suffered losses from the investment schemes offered by the syndicate.
Mr Khairul added that the syndicate had changed their modus operandi by renting residential units instead of previously renting a big commercial building in an attempt to evade detection.
"Such units will be equipped with the internet as well as laptops. We also received information that the particular syndicate had purchased RM24,000 worth of SIM (mobile phone) cards recently," he said.
Mr Khairul said the suspects will be detained at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Depot for 14 days pending further investigations.
The operation was conducted with the cooperation of other agencies including the police, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and the central bank.