Nigerians caught in KL to face charges here over love scams

Two Nigerian nationals are expected to be charged in court for their alleged involvement in transnational Internet love scams.

This is the first time foreign-based suspects involved in such scams have been arrested and sent to Singapore for prosecution, the police said in a statement yesterday.

The two men, aged 34 and 37, are believed to be part of an African Internet love scam syndicate.

They had allegedly recruited two Singaporean women as money mules to receive criminal proceeds linked to Internet love scams in Singapore between 2017 and last year.

The women had allegedly received at least $85,000 from victims in Singapore and laundered the money by handing the cash to syndicate members in Malaysia, the police said.

Investigators from Singapore police's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) conducted a joint investigation with their Malaysian counterpart, the Commercial Crime Investigation Department, and identified the two men.

Malaysian police then arrested the duo in Kuala Lumpur in an operation on April 16. The men were brought to Singapore yesterday.

The two men, aged 34 and 37, are believed to be part of an African Internet love scam syndicate. They had allegedly recruited two Singaporean women as money mules to receive criminal proceeds linked to Internet love scams in Singapore between 2017 and last year.

They are to be charged with abetting others to dishonestly receive stolen property.

If convicted, they may be jailed for up to five years and fined.

Police said that there were 660 reported cases last year of cross-border Internet love scams, where victims in Singapore were cheated of at least $27.5 million.

Singapore police and their Malaysian counterparts will continue joint efforts to take down such scam syndicates, said the police statement.

Said CAD director David Chew: "This joint investigation shows our common resolve to send a strong deterrent message to criminals who are minded to prey on our citizens from the safety of national boundaries - that we can and will work with our foreign counterparts to identify, arrest and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."

Goh Yan Han

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2019, with the headline 'Nigerians caught in KL to face charges here over love scams'. Print Edition | Subscribe