Malaysian financial firm says it was hacked, $162m lost

A controversial Malaysian financial scheme offered by JJPTR, which promised returns of 20 per cent, collapsed after it claimed to have lost $161.5 million when its account was hacked. But JJPTR has rolled out a new scheme promising 35 per cent return
A controversial Malaysian financial scheme offered by JJPTR, which promised returns of 20 per cent, collapsed after it claimed to have lost $161.5 million when its account was hacked. But JJPTR has rolled out a new scheme promising 35 per cent returns. However, no customers have been seen at the company's offices.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Company behind controversial investment launches new plan promising better returns

PETALING JAYA • A controversial Malaysian financial scheme promising investors returns of 20 per cent has raised alarm after it said its account was hacked and RM500 million (S$161.5 million) stolen.

The company, JJPTR, said it has lost a total of US$400 million (S$558 million) but gave no details.

But instead of folding up, the Penang-based JJPTR has rolled out another scheme, promising 35 per cent returns. And there are people who are continuing to invest.

JJPTR stands for Jie Jiu Pu Tong Ren, Mandarin for salvation for the common people.

The media has highlighted several such schemes involving foreign exchange in recent weeks, showing how thousands of Malaysian Chinese are attracted by the promise of high returns, despite the risk of losing their money.

One scheme called Bai Le Men went bust after just two weeks, with losses of RM4 million.

The media has highlighted several such schemes involving foreign exchange in recent weeks, showing how thousands of Malaysian Chinese are attracted by the high returns, despite the risk of losing their money.

The operator of the JJPTR scheme, Mr Johnson Lee, 28, is offering special lucky draws to get investors for his new scheme, with prizes such as a car, motorcycles and smartphones.

What the company did not say is how Mr Lee plans to address the US$400 million in losses he claims to have suffered, or how it would repay those who lost their money in the earlier scheme.

Mr Lee has uploaded a 11/2- minute video explaining his new plan, claiming that anyone who invests US$1,000 will receive US$1,350 by the end of each 10-day round of the scheme.

A woman in her 50s said if the company reimbursed her money from the failed first scheme, she would reinvest it in the new scheme. "Although I have not gotten my capital back, Johnson promised that the older members will receive their payment," she said at the JJPTR main office in Penang on Tuesday.

Attempts to contact Mr Lee were futile and the number listed on the JJPTR Facebook page is out of service.

A visit to the company's offices in Penang showed that investors were no longer lining up for answers. Instead, the staff, who preferred not to be photographed, were sitting at empty counters.

JJPTR came under the spotlight in recent weeks after investors complained they did not get their scheduled payment last month.

JJPTR, JJ Poor to Rich and JJ Global Network are among the entities listed as unauthorised companies under Bank Negara Malaysia's Financial Consumer Alert.

Records from the Companies Commission of Malaysia show JJ Global Network is a "RM2 company" owned by Mr Lee and his former girlfriend Tan Kai Lee, 24. Each holds a single share.

Mr Lee's father Thean Chye, 58, and Ms Tan are also directors of another company called JJ Global Network Holdings.

The elder Mr Lee, who was an assistant professor at Southern University College in Johor, resigned last week after the JJPTR losses came to light.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2017, with the headline 'Malaysian financial firm says it was hacked, $162m lost'. Print Edition | Subscribe