Police cripple 'Ho Michael' scam syndicate in Johor

Johor police have successfully busted a 'Macau Scam' fraud syndicate known as Ho Michael (H.M), last Tuesday.

Ayob Khan said, police also confiscated four laptops, 40 mobile phones, a central processing unit, a monitor, two printers, a paper shredder and 40 victim information documents used for fraudulent activities. - Pic BERNAMA | Astro Awani
Johor police have successfully busted a 'Macau Scam' fraud syndicate known as Ho Michael (H.M), last Tuesday, which is the first syndicate in the country to use the sophisticated technology system 'Got Further 62400'.

Johor police chief, Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said, the raid at about 9.30 am at a premises in Mount Austin, here, arrested eight local men and four local women aged between 20 and 45, believed to be members of the syndicate.

"The premises was identified as a call centre for the activity. All 12 of them comprised a supervisor and an IT communications system technical expert while the rest were telephone operators,” he told reporters after the Johor Police Contingent Headquarters Monthly Assembly here today.

He said, apart from the arrests, he said police also confiscated four laptops, 40 mobile phones, a central processing unit (CPU), a monitor, two printers, a paper shredder and 40 victim information documents used for fraudulent activities.

He said the syndicate carried out the most sophisticated telecommunication fraud activities by targeting victims from among Malaysian, where the syndicate used telecommunication configuration systems using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) applications.

"In a call, the victim is randomly contacted by the system using an IVR (Robo-Call). Voice recordings, namely, from police officers, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), immigration, customs, the Inland Revenue Board (IRB), the court and Pos Malaysia will be played and the victim will be asked to dial the number on the phone to speak with an enforcement agency or customer service officer," he said.

According to Ayob Khan, the victim would then be connected to the operator at a call centre disguised as an enforcement officer and the victim would be deceived into believing that he or she had committed an illegal offense.

He said the syndicate used an illegal database system that could check the victim's information such as phone number, identity card and home address to convince the victim until he or she was deceived into believing he or she was involved in money laundering.

The victim would be instructed to download an application to get all the information on the victim’s phone especially the Transaction Authorisation Code (TAC) of the victim's bank account that would be used to transfer money from the victim's account.

"This is the first time the Johor Police have uncovered a Macau syndicate 'calling centre' syndicate disguised as officers from enforcement agencies and government agencies involving Malaysian citizens.

Apart from Malaysia, the syndicate's activities are also concentrated in other countries including Cambodia, Thailand, Australia, Japan. and Vietnam," he said.

Ayob Khan said the police had identified at least 12 cases involving the syndicate with a total loss of RM595,299.

He said, in this regard, the police was currently hunting for two local men to complete the investigation into the activities of the syndicate, namely, Ho Kim Long, or his nickname, Er Ker or Pui Kia, 31, and Cham Tian Cher or his nickname Michael or Mike, 36, believed to be members of a secret society, Five Colors gang.

He added that the salary earned by an operator in the syndicate was around RM3,000 to RM5,000 with a commission of between three per cent and seven per cent of the proceeds from cheating and the case is currently being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for fraud. - BERNAMA