Malaysia arrests 5 people connected to job scam syndicate targeting Singaporeans; linked to at least 40 reports, over $820k in losses

Royal Malaysia Police joint operation with Singapore Police leads to arrests in Kuala Lumpur

Exhibits seized during the raid by the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) of the Royal Malaysia Police
Exhibits seized during the raid by the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) of the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP). (PHOTO: CCID RMP)

SINGAPORE — Five individuals, believed to be part of a syndicate targeting Singaporeans with job scams, were arrested in a joint operation between the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) in Kuala Lumpur last week.

The syndicate is believed to be linked to at least 40 Singapore police reports, involving losses totalling more than $820,000, the Singapore police said in a media release on Wednesday (27 March).

The police "carried out extensive investigative probes and shared information with the RMP in order to detect and dismantle job scam crime syndicates targeting Singaporeans".

"The efforts paid off when the Malaysian criminal syndicate that was operating in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was located," the Singapore police added.

Officers from the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) of the RMP conducted a raid at an apartment complex in Kuala Lumpur on 20 March.

Three men and two women aged between 23 and 28 were arrested for suspected involvement in laundering proceeds from scams, including job scams, aimed at Singaporeans.

"Preliminary investigations revealed that the syndicate started their scam operations early this year," said the Singapore police, adding that the RMP had remanded the five Malaysians for further investigation.

Between 1 October 2023 and 31 January this year, over 3,000 individuals fell victim to job scams, resulting in losses totalling at least $45.7 million.

Rising threat of job scams

David Chew, director of SPF's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), highlighted that job scams ranked as the top scam type of the cases reported in 2023 and the second in terms of losses to victims.

He also said the number of cases involving such scams has continued to rise in 2024 and is "a crime of serious concern".

"To counter this transnational scam threat, the SPF works closely with the RMP to detect and deter these transnational syndicates who target our citizens," Chew added, thanking Malaysia's CCID team for their support in tackling the syndicate.

"We will continue to take tough action to afford these criminals no safe haven. Working with our foreign counterparts, we will detect, disable and bring to justice criminal syndicates wherever they choose to operate," he added.

The Singapore police said that public vigilance is the best defence against the persistent threat of job scams.

It reminded members of the public to be wary of proposals on dating apps or social media platforms. These proposals may offer easy commissions for tasks such as boosting products on e-commerce platforms, completing surveys or generating traction on social media.

"You should never pay money into unknown bank accounts to earn a commission for your work," the Singapore police said, at the same time reminding the public never to relinquish Singpass credentials as part of a job application.

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