93 Chinese, 6 Malaysians arrested for alleged phone swindle

Police said Friday that 93 Chinese citizens and six Malaysians have been detained on suspicion of being involved in swindling money from people in China through a telephone scam.

The arrests, the largest in recent months, were made Wednesday during a police raid at a call center in a high-end office area in Kuala Lumpur, said commercial crime investigation chief Amar Singh. He said those detained included a 14-year-old Malaysian.

Police also confiscated 169 mobile phones and 114 laptops from the syndicate that is believed to be making millions of ringgit a month.

Malaysian police are working with their Chinese counterparts to determine the exact amount of losses and on how to deal with the scammers as all their victims were Chinese, Singh said. In previous cases, Malaysia deported Chinese scammers back to their own country for prosecution.

More such call centers are emerging in Malaysia, with police busting two other similar syndicates in southern Johor state in recent weeks, he said.

Singh said his officials met recently with their counterparts in Singapore and Hong Kong to clamp down on such cybercrimes. Authorities in Hong Kong reported one single case involving losses of 95 million ringgit ($23 million) to Nigerian phone scammers based in Malaysia, he said.