Internet Love Scam Syndicate Crippled In Joint International Operation
Since early 2018, officers from the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force, Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) of the Royal Malaysia Police and Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau (CSTCB) of the Hong Kong Police Force have been sharing information on internet love scams investigated by the three departments. Through ground enquiries, the syndicate was believed to be operating from Malaysia.
In a joint international operation in Malaysia from 19 to 21 October 2018, officers from CAD, CCID and CSTCB arrested 16 Malaysians (15 women and 1 man), 2 Nigerian men and 1 woman from China for their involvement in internet love scams reported in Singapore, Malaysia or Hong Kong. The suspects were aged between 29 and 60 years old. In Singapore, two Malaysian women, aged 40 and 48, are assisting with investigations as they are believed to have assisted to transfer criminal proceeds linked to the internet love scams. Several telecommunication devices, laptops and ATM cards were also seized in the operation.
The suspects are believed to be responsible for at least 146 cases of internet love scams reported in Singapore, Malaysia or Hong Kong. The total amount involved in these internet love scams amount to about S$19.45 million dollars. Eight internet love scam cases reported in Singapore, involving at least S$450,000 dollars, have been solved as a result of the joint operation.
Director CAD, Mr David Chew said, The fact that victims in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore fell prey to the same scammers shows that the criminal networks behind the scams are sophisticated and transnational. To tackle these syndicates, international cooperation among law enforcement agencies is extremely critical. I would like to thank our counterparts from the Royal Malaysia Police and Hong Kong Police Force for their strong support and commitment in fighting cross-jurisdictional internet-facilitated scams, and ensuring the success of this unprecedented joint operation.
To avoid falling prey to these scams, members of the public should be careful when befriending strangers online. They should also be wary when being asked to send money to people whom they do not know. For more information on scams, members of the public can visit scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police hotline at 1800-255 0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.
Source: Singapore Police Force