KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s Immigration Department said Thursday it has broken up a China-based online investment scam syndicate with the arrest of 680 suspected Chinese citizens after storming a building where they were operating, but another 100 managed to flee.
Immigration Director-General Khairul Dzaimee Daud said officers raided the building used as the syndicate’s call center in Cyberjaya town in central Selangor state on Wednesday after a month of surveillance and caught the scammers in action.
He said 603 men and 77 women were detained but about 100 others escaped after charging through a security barricade and attacking officers. He said the detainees, aged between 19 and 35, entered the country using social visit passes and couldn’t produce their passports, but are believed to be Chinese nationals.
He said some immigration officials and suspected scammers were injured during scuffles. Local media said online video showed some people jumping from a building ledge onto a tree and sliding down while dozens ran across a road.
Khairul said 8,230 cellphones, 174 laptops and 787 desktop computers were also seized.
He said the syndicate has been operating for six months, targeting victims in China with promises of quick returns and using Chinese banks and Wechat mobile payments for their transactions.
Malaysian authorities have made similar arrests before to shut down telephone scams targeting victims in mainland China, but this was believed to be one of the biggest operations in the country.