Malaysia arrest 11 Sri Lankans in ATM fraud

Malaysian authorities have arrested 11 Sri Lankans in an ATM and Credit Card fraud, the Malay Mail reported today.

The report said that the police busted the international syndicate specialising in ATM card and credit card fraud after detaining 25 suspects, including Canadians, following several raids in the city from Feb 20 to 22.

The activities of the syndicate was exposed through an exchange of information between Malaysian police, Canadian police and Interpol who came across fraudulent withdrawals carried out at foreign banks in Malaysia using foreign ATM and credit cards, since August last year.

Bukit Aman Commercial Crimes Director Datuk Syed Ismail Syed Azizan told reporters at a media conference that the syndicate members comprising 11 Sri Lankans, nine Canadians, an Indian and four locals, including a woman, were between 23 and 54 years old.

Syed Ismail said nine of the syndicate members were detained at two banks in Jalan Ampang and Jalan Sultan Ismail, here, while carrying out transactions at about 9.30pm.

Following the detention of the nine, police arrested another 14 suspects comprising Sri Lankans, an Indian and locals, at a number of hotels and houses in the Klang Valley in a follow up operation while two suspects who tried to escape to another country were detained in Kulim, Kedah on Feb 22.

Syed Ismail said police also seized 533 fake ATM and credit cards plus RM74,703, USD4,182 (RM12,975), Canada 4,185 (RM 12,674) in cash plus currency from a few other countries.

Police also seized jewellery, four lap top computers and two magnetic stripe card reader/writer machines, he said.

Through the modus operandi, the syndicate, believed to be headed by a Canadian citizen whose country of origin was Sri Lanka, would send the falsified ATM and credit cards to Malaysia via courier service from Canada.

The supervisor responsible for operations in Malaysia would distribute 60 cards to each group, made up of three members, to withdraw money from identified ATM machines of foreign banks.

“Before distributing the card, the supervisor will insert data of account holders through the magnetic stripe card reader/writer machine. Each card can only be used once while the syndicate can draw up to RM20,000 a day,” he said.

Once the withdrawals are made, the groups will submit the cash to the supervisor who will then pay them 10 per cent of their ‘collection.

Syed Ismail said to avoid raising suspicion and to fool the authorities, the syndicate would keep changing members who carry out withdrawals and such members would only be in the country for about three months after coming in with social visit pass.

He added that police were tracking down the leader of the syndicate who is believed to be still in Malaysia.

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