M’sia-Thai police raid in Penang cripples ‘Macau Scam’ syndicate

BANGKOK: A joint Malaysian-Thai police operation   in   Penang Wednesday night delivered a ‘double whammy’ for the underworld when it not only crippled a Taiwanese-led ‘Macau Scam’ syndicate but also uncovered name lists of high-ranking Thai officials.

In the raid on a hillside bungalow in the island state, police officers from Malaysia’s Commercial Crime Department and Thailand’s Tourist Police nabbed two suspected Taiwanese masterminds and 10 Thais, comprising   five men and five women.

“The raid uncovered name lists   of   high-ranking Thai officials   from the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB), Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) and the court,” Thailand’s Tourist Police deputy chief, Maj Gen Surachet   Hakpal   said yesterday, but stopped short of revealing more details.

According to him, the joint operation   was launched following information   that the bungalow had   been used as a base for an international phone scamming syndicate, with the two Taiwanese men   at the helm of the syndicate’s   operations.

The Thai suspects who were arrested in the raid, he said,   came from the Songkla and Sukhothai   provinces.

“They claimed they were duped by the syndicate into working for its members and   were   forced to call their counterparts in Thailand to swindle their money,” said Surachet.

He said last month, the   Thais managed to cheat their victims into transferring about 400,000 Baht (RM51,000) in favour of the syndicate.

This was the third joint operation   launched by the two police forces in Malaysia to uproot the ‘Macau Scam’   or phone fraud   activities involving Thai citizens, he said, adding that the Thai police received good cooperation from their Malaysian counterparts.

The latest joint raid also saw the seizure of communication equipment,   including mobile phones, computers and bank account books.

Surachet   suspected the latest syndicate   was part of a larger operation involving Taiwanese fugitive, Chen Yuen Kai, who was detained in an earlier operation but managed to flee to an undisclosed country after jumping bail. – Bernama