The Nigerians, aged between 27 and 31, were arrested on Friday in Nilai by police following several months of intelligence gathering and investigations, Malaysia’s New Straits Times has reported online.
According to the report, the country’s Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Datuk Syed Ismail Syed Azizan said the syndicate was believed to have cheated various victims abroad of RM1.86 million.
The syndicate’s modus operandi had been to advertise the sale of surgical gloves on the Internet using the masthead of a well-known Malaysian firm, which had a global reputation in the industry.
“The syndicate had altered the contact details to differ from that of the original company as they planned to cash in on the firm’s reputation and standing in the global glove making industry,” said Syed Ismail.
“The surgical gloves offered by the syndicate were significantly cheaper than the current market prices.
Victims from countries like Libya, Romania, Bulgaria and Kazakhstan were intrigued by the discounted prices.”
It is understood that contact between the victims and syndicate members were through the phone or emails.
Once an order had been placed, a down payment of between 10 and 30 per cent of the total value was required.
“The money was transferred into local bank accounts here and withdrawn immediately by the syndicate members.
However, the order never reached the victims abroad, prompting them to lodge reports at Malaysian embassies and commissions,” said Syed Ismail.
Before long, Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, known also as Wisma Putra, was inundated with complaints from their embassies abroad.
It is learnt that as of Nov 12, police had a total of 49 complaints from individuals and corporate firms abroad.
Investigations revealed that the five men had entered Malaysia on student visas.
When they were arrested, police seized numerous mobile phones, laptops and modems in the raid.
The five have been remanded until Nov 20 to facilitate investigations.