Malaysia arrests 680 Chinese nationals during online scam syndicate bust

Around 150 immigration officers launched an early morning raid on sixth-floor office premises in the town of Cyberjaya, in Selangor. (Getty Images)
Updated 22 November 2019

Malaysia arrests 680 Chinese nationals during online scam syndicate bust

  • Immigration officers track escaped suspects, seize thousands of electronic devices after huge sting operation
  • Operators would send a code to certain websites in mandarin and scam their victims’ money through WeChat services and banks in China

KUALA LUMPUR: At least 680 Chinese nationals have been arrested and hundreds more are being tracked down after Malaysian immigration authorities busted an online scam syndicate.

Around 150 immigration officers on Wednesday launched an early morning raid on sixth-floor office premises in the town of Cyberjaya, in Selangor, as part of a carefully planned sting operation.

Immigration director general, Khairul Dzaimee Daud, told Arab News that investigations were still underway into the alleged scamming activities of the 603 men and 77 women, aged between 19 and 35, arrested during the bust.

The scam is believed to have targeted Chinese citizens by offering fast profits in return for investments through the popular social media platform WeChat Pay.

Working from the syndicate’s Cyberjaya base, operators would send a code to certain websites in mandarin and scam their victims’ money through WeChat services and banks in China.

Following tip-offs from members of the public, Malaysian authorities conducted a month-long surveillance of the building before mounting the raid during which officers seized thousands of items of electronic equipment, including 8,230 handphones, 787 computers and 174 laptops.

Daud said on Thursday that those arrested had violated Malaysia’s immigration laws by entering the country on social visit passes with some overstaying their visa time limits.

“All of the Chinese nationals could not produce their passports or travel documents after being arrested, and no representative could produce valid documents on behalf of them,” the immigration chief added.

A number of immigration officers required treatment for injuries after scuffles broke out during the bust, and up to 150 Chinese nationals are thought to have escaped from the building.

Aerial videos showing suspects jumping from windows and fleeing the building quickly went viral on social media.

“The immigration department will continue to be on the lookout for individuals involved in the scam activities and is working closely with the Malaysian central bank and the police,” added Daud.


India celebrates Republic Day with military parade

Updated 26 January 2020

India celebrates Republic Day with military parade

  • Schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi’s parade route

NEW DELHI: Thousands of Indians converged on a ceremonial boulevard in the capital amid tight security to celebrate the Republic Day on Sunday, which marks the 1950 anniversary of the country’s democratic constitution.
During the celebrations, schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi’s parade route, followed by a military hardware display.
Beyond the show of military power, the parade also included ornate floats highlighting India’s cultural diversity as men, women and children in colorful dresses performed traditional dances, drawing applause from the spectators.
The 90-minute event, broadcast live, was watched by millions of Indians on their television sets across the country.
Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the chief guest for this year’s celebrations.
He was accorded the ceremonial Guard of Honor by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the sprawling presidential palace.
Bolsonaro joined the two Indian leaders as the military parade marched through a central avenue near the Presidential Palace.
At the parade, Bolsonaro watched keenly as mechanized columns of Indian tanks, rocket launchers, locally made nuclear-capable missile systems and other hardware rolled down the parade route and air force jets sped by overhead.
Apart from attending the Republic Day celebrations, Bolsonaro’s visit was also aimed at strengthening trade and investment ties across a range of fields between the two countries.
On Saturday, Modi and Bolsonaro reached an agreement to promote investment in each other’s country.
Before the parade, Modi paid homage to fallen soldiers at the newly built National War Memorial in New Delhi as the national capital was put under tight security cover.
Smaller parades were also held in the state capitals.
Police said five grenades were lobbed in the eastern Assam state by separatist militants who have routinely boycotted the Republic Day celebrations. No one was injured, police said.
Sunday’s blasts also come at a time when Assam has been witnessing continuous protests against the new citizenship law that have spread to many Indian states.
The law approved in December provides a fast-track to naturalization for persecuted religious minorities from some neighboring Islamic countries, but excludes Muslims.
Nationwide protests have brought tens of thousands of people from different faiths and backgrounds together, in part because the law is seen by critics as part of a larger threat to the secular fabric of Indian society.