Malaysia arrests 7 Japanese men suspected of phone scam operation


Malaysian police said on Monday they arrested seven Japanese men suspected of operating a phone scam that targeted citizens in their home country after raiding a condominium in Kuala Lumpur.

The men, aged between 23 and 41, were arrested and immediately charged with violating immigration law.

The police said they raided a flat in the Malaysian capital and apprehended the suspects, seizing their phones and other items, after being tipped off by the Japanese Embassy.
Investigations showed that “the syndicate was operating a phone scam” targeting Japanese nationals using the Skype call and messaging application to contact their victims, Commercial Crime Investigation Department head Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf said.

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The syndicate members allegedly impersonated banking staff and told victims there were problems with their accounts, requesting that they transfer funds to another account provided by the scammers.

The suspects are being held by immigration authorities pending further investigation.

Crime syndicates involving Japanese nationals have been reported in other parts of Southeast Asia recently.

Earlier this month, Japanese police arrested 25 Japanese men suspected of running a phone scam out of Phnom Penh after they were deported from Cambodia.
In Thailand, police also apprehended two Japanese citizens this month for conducting similar scams from Bangkok.

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It has also become a problem domestically in Japan, where local authorities are considering restricting retirees’ ability to access cash machines in an effort to halt the worsening problem of scammers fooling elderly people into parting with large amounts of money.

Concerned at the growing number of phone scams, Japan’s National Police Agency has proposed that the banking industry introduce new safeguards. Under the proposal, anyone who is over the age of 65 and has not used their bank card to access their account for more than a year would have it suspended.

While the scope of the proposal is relatively limited, some older Japanese have raised concerns that it may prevent them from accessing their bank accounts, and fear additional restrictions could be imposed if it does not prove effective in halting the scams.


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