JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Johor state police are hot on the heels of a Malaysian businessman called Tedy Teow who is believed to have fled the country for being involved in a slew of scams.
Johor police chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the 55-year-old is believed to be in hiding in Danok, Thailand.
He added that Teow's two sons, who acted as proxies for the syndicate, were still in Malaysia.
"We received information that the sons may surrender themselves to the police, and we are awaiting updates, " he said, adding that there was no place for them to run.
He was asked about updates on the search for Teow and his two sons, who have been linked to an elaborate web of scams through the setting up of shell companies using drug addicts as directors to launder ill-gotten gains before investing them in high-end properties in Malaysia and Thailand.
The Star had earlier reported that Teow, who has now been dubbed Jho Low 2, was in hiding in Thailand after he fled the country in January last year.
He founded MBI Group International in 2009 and was a key figure in the Island Red Café franchise between 2008 and 2010.
It is learnt that two of his other companies, run by his two sons in their 30s, his sister and a proxy, have purchased 100 units of high-end condominiums in Penang and a mall there.
On Jan 3, the police smashed a syndicate involved in a Macau scam linked to Teow, which was believed to have used its ill-gotten gains to purchase properties and invest in cryptocurrencies totalling more than RM336 million (S$110.5 million).
At least 12 suspects, comprising nine men and three women, have been arrested including several company directors who were nabbed in a series of raids in Penang and Kuala Lumpur last month.
Separately, Datuk Ayob Khan said the police have arrested 17 locals, including two women, for operating a call centre for a Macau scam syndicate.
He said the suspects, who are between 22 and 33 years old, were arrested during a raid at a house in Bandar Penawar, Kota Tinggi, at about 10.35am on Tuesday.
"The house has been turned into a call centre where the suspects would call victims and trick them into giving their money.
"They would pretend to be Pos Laju officers, claiming that the victim has a parcel that is under custody for containing illegal items.
"They would then connect the victim to another line where another person would pretend to be a police officer offering to help the victim lodge a police report to escape being arrested or have legal action taken against them.
"They would then give instructions for the victims to transfer a sum of money to a bank account, " he said in a press conference at the Johor police headquarters on Wednesday.
He said the call centre has been active for about a year and the house where the activity was being conducted was a homestay unit.
"The suspects would receive commissions of about 3 per cent to 5 per cent for each successful transaction, averaging between RM2,000 and RM5,000 on a monthly basis, " he added.
Ayob Khan said the case was being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating, and the suspects would be remanded for four days until Feb 6.
"We are still looking for the mastermind behind the syndicate as well as other suspects involved, " he said, adding that 57 cellphones, two modems and one computer were also seized in the raid.