GEORGE TOWN: A man who made away with nearly RM1 million from 49 people around the country by pretending to be a top government officer was caught at a hotel in Prai last Thursday, police said.
The 47-year-old suspect from Kuala Nerang, Kedah, pretended to be a high-ranking officer from either the Road Transport Department (Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan) or Tabung Haji, offering cheap impounded cars and haj packages at reduced rates.
He targeted his victims by calling them and offering them a “good deal”. He would then meet them in person to collect a deposit and a photocopy of the victim’s MyKad. Sometimes, he would SMS his banking details to collect a deposit.
Police said to avoid detection from the authorities, he would also make friends with hotel staff and use their bank account numbers to receive his ill-gotten gains.
He would tell the hotel staff that his wallet had gone missing and that his son would bank in some money for him. He would then ask the hotel staff to help withdraw the money banked in by his victims and pass it to him.
Southwest district police chief Supt Anuar Omar said the conman would target his victims by first calling “random telephone numbers” and offer his services.
Anuar said following information, police kept a close watch on the man’s activities for two weeks on mainland Penang.
Police followed him to his hotel room on Thursday, where they found a cache of items used to dupe people.
He said a “black book” containing his victims’ details, phone numbers, eight mobile phone SIM cards, cash withdrawal receipts, two passports, two debit cards and copies of the victims’ MyKads with the words “Untuk kegunaan JPJ” (“For RTD use”) were found as well.
Anuar said the losses by the victims were estimated close to RM800,000.
He believed the losses would increase once more victims had lodged police reports.
Anuar said further checks revealed the suspect had 17 prior criminal records.
The case is being investigated for cheating under the Penal Code. FMT