KAJANG: They lived in luxury bungalows in a gated community without anyone suspecting that they were engaged in illegal activities involving billions of ringgit.
Kajang Country Heights, where they operated, seemed the perfect guise for the syndicate since the area is home to several ministers and former Cabinet members.
As it turned out, the cover wasn’t good enough as police busted the outsource call centre yesterday for illegal betting, gambling and Internet scams believed to have been operating since last month.
Police arrested 144 people, including 54 women who were staying in four of the bungalows. They were from Taiwan and China.
The syndicate is believed to have rented six bungalows for betweeen RM15,000 and RM20,000 each.
Police, who had been staking the area for two weeks, found two of the bungalows unoccupied.
Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah said that their passports showed that those detained, all in their 20s, had entered the country on March 6.
He said police raided the houses simultaneously at about 1pm and found the suspects engrossed in their laptops and telephones in a “classroom-like atmosphere” with all the tables neatly arranged in rows. CCTV cameras were installed outside the houses.
“They even had written scripts for their members to use when speaking to the victims,” DCP Tun Hisan said.
He said that a woman broke her leg while a man fractured a hand when trying to escape through a window.
Seven others, including a woman, who had sneaked out of the bungalows were arrested hours later.
Also arrested was a local man who delivered food and other essentials to the syndicate members.
The syndicate operated as football bookies. They invited punters to place bets on matches in the ongoing European championships and told them to deposit cash into an account, DCP Tun Hisan said.
He said their Internet scams included posing as authorities and demanding payment for summonses. They would then ask for the credit card details of the victims.
Police seized RM35,800 during the raid but they estimated that the syndicate had raked in almost RM4bil.
DCP Tun Hisan said police were looking for the mastermind.
By RASHITHA A. HAMID The Star/Asia News Network