JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia police have arrested two men suspected to behind a syndicate that sells fake Datuk and Datuk Seri titles involving millions of ringgit.
The duo were arrested in Johor Baru on Oct 30.
Johor police chief Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said victims would pay between RM180,000 (S$58,400) and RM280,000 to get their titles.
They would pay an additional RM10,000 to become a member of an "exclusive" club.
"These two suspects are aged 40 and 57 and are quite active in an unregistered non-governmental organisation based in Batu Pahat where they offer titles such as Datuk and Datuk Seri for monetary profits," said Khalil.
Such titles are eagerly sought by some in Malaysia as they are seen as helping to open doors in business and political circles.
These titles are annually awarded by Malaysia's nine royal Malay houses and by the Malaysian King to those who have performed important services for the state and country.
Police say that in the Johor case, they have also seized items such as medals and appointment letters used by the suspects to dupe their victims into believing their actions were legal.
Mr Mohd Khalil said 13 police reports have been lodged against the syndicate involving losses of more than RM1.34 million and 40 individuals, including by members of the organisation.
He called on those who have been cheated to come forward. "I would like the individuals to come forward as we know who they are and where they live," he said.