KUALA LUMPUR — An 18-year-old Malaysian teen was scammed into parting with RM309,000 (S$89,175) in savings after being told that the police were coming after him over an illegal parcel registered under his name.
Using a modus operandi similar to many other parcel scams, the Malaysian police said that the syndicate had convinced the teen to believe that there was a parcel for him, which turned out to contain drugs.
The caller had told the victim that he must pay the so-called policeman if he did not want to get in trouble with the police.
By this time, the teen had already transferred a total of RM309,000 to the scammers.
This happened over a few days until he finally ran out of fund on Oct 3.
The scammers then continued their ploy, saying that he must go into hiding because the police were after him.
Not knowing what to do, the teen booked a homestay and hid himself inside it for two days, before he was rescued by the police on Oct 5.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (CID) director Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said that so far two suspects have been arrested in Penang and Kedah to facilitate investigations into the case.
“We first received a report from the victim’s mother on Oct 3, when the scammers called her demanding for ransom.
“In the call, the caller had admitted to kidnapping the victim and demanded RM300,000 for his release,” he said, adding that the complainant attempted to contact her son but was unsuccessful.
He said a police team from the City Special Crime Investigation Division and Cheras District Police Headquarters acted on the report before locating the victim in a condominium unit at Section 7, Shah Alam.
“Police investigation revealed that the victim had received a phone call from a man who posed as an employee of Pos Laju Malaysia (a Malaysian courier company), alleging that there was a package in the victim’s name that violated the law.
Subsequently, the victim was instructed to speak with another man who claimed to be a senior police officer.
“This man accused the victim of being involved in illegal money laundering and drug distribution activities. The victim was then directed to speak with yet another man who posed as a high-ranking police officer to make an appeal,” he told reporters at a press conference in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday (Oct 11).
Mr Shuhaily said that the deceived victim was instructed to make several payments through a bank account provided by the suspect.
“Then he was also directed by the suspect to go into hiding and was forbidden from contacting anyone, including family members. While the victim was hiding, the suspect contacted the victim’s family for more money,” he said, adding that the victim was in a traumatised state when rescued.
Mr Shuhaily said police investigation then led to the arrest of a 32-year-old middleman in Penang on Oct 7 and a 24-year-old mule account owner in Kedah on Oct 9, suspected to be involved in the case.
“Both suspects have been remanded until Oct 14, 2023.”
Mr Shuhaily advised the public to always be cautious and not easily trust any phone calls they received from individuals or government and private agencies regarding any alleged offenses.
“We have said this over and over again, yet there are still people falling victim to these scams. The public must always remember that we (the police) do not deal cases over the phone,” he said, warning the public to be extra careful with the calls they answer. NEW STRAITS TIMES