27 nabbed as Malaysia, Singapore act against love scam syndicates

SINGAPORE, Feb 14 — Twenty-seven suspects were arrested in various Malaysian states in a cross-border operation against syndicates running love scams on the Internet, the police said in a press release yesterday.

They include 13 Nigerian nationals, who are believed to be involved in 108 cases of such scams reported by victims in both Singapore and Malaysia, where the losses amounted to about RM21.6 million.

Police also seized telecommunication devices, computers and ATM cards from the suspects.

The operation was jointly conducted between Feb 6 and 8 by Malaysia’s Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) and Singapore’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

The police said in their statement that this is “the first successful joint investigation between the two departments against elusive criminals involved in syndicated Internet love scams”.

They added that CAD gave timely information to CCID, allowing investigators to establish the suspects’ identities, and while arrest operations were going on in Malaysia, CAD coordinated concurrent investigations against six female suspects in Singapore for transferring criminal proceeds to Malaysia-based suspects.

Last Friday, at its annual crime statistics briefing, the police said that the trend of online cheating scams still remain a concern in Singapore.

The number continues to rise, almost doubling from 385 cases in 2015 to 636 cases in 2016.

Money cheated from such scams also doubled, with S$24 million (RM74.9 million) reported last year — the largest amount being S$1.7 million.

To prevent falling victim to these love scams, the police advised the public to be cautious when making friends online, and not to send money to people they barely know.

“Be in control of your emotions and meet all requests for money with a cool head, knowing that it may be a scam,” the police said. — TODAY

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