Luxury condos, bungalows used by foreigners as gaming call centres

KUALA LUMPUR: Luxury condominiums, bungalows and commercial offices are being used as call centres for international gambling syndicates, say police.

Criminal Investigations Department director Huzir Mohamed said the syndicates mostly masterminded by Chinese and Indonesian nationals were making Malaysia a hub for online gaming.

He said as af last year, 1,228 individuals were detained in 75 raids over their involvement in international gambling syndicates.

Police also seized 4,683 units of gambling equipment as well as RM42,628 and Yuen 6,000 (RM3,611.73) in cash.

“Luxury condominiums, bungalows and commercial offices are being used as call centres to attract gamblers in their respective countries through gambling websites or apps,” he told a special CID press conference in Bukit Aman yesterday.

Huzir said confiscated computers and mobile phones showed the gambling activities were conducted in China and Indonesia using e-wallet facilities like WeChat and internet banking in their countries.

No local players and bank accounts were detected.

He called on the public to report suspicious foreigners to the police.

Meanwhile, 55 vice syndicates have been identified mainly in Penang, Selangor, Perak, Johor and Kuala Lumpur.

“Action has been taken against 31 individuals under the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) 1959 from April 2014 until June this year,” he said.

Huzir said drastic action would be taken including the use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) and Anti-Money Laundering Act, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA) if syndicates were found to be involved in organised crime.

He said 2,537 raids were conducted in early January to May this year compared to 2,246 in the same period last year.

“Operations are focused in the contingents of Johor, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur and most of those arrested are foreigners such as Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese nationals who are abusing the social visit pass for illegal purposes.

“Stern action including the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrant Act (ATIPSOM) will be used,” Huzir said.