Ahsmon: Kuching police tracking down suspect in recent bank scam case

Ahsmon points to a white board showing the modus operandi of scammers after the press conference. Also seen is Merbin (right). – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (March 2): The district police here are still tracking down the suspect involved in the recent bank scam case which involved a sum of RM1.03 million.

Kuching police chief ACP Ahsmon Bajah told a press conference today that police are also investigating the account where the money was transferred to.

“We know it’s under the name of a telco company, but we still need to verify the legitimacy of the account,” he said, adding that more details will be made public once police have finished their investigation.

Ahsmon said the suspect managed to transfer RM1 million from the victim’s savings account and RM30,000 from his credit card on Feb 26.

Prior to the transaction, the victim received a phone call from a suspect who claimed to be working for Poslaju.

The suspect demanded the victim to provide him with a one-time-password (OTP) number that was sent to his phone via SMS.

“The victim did not comply. He however received a second phone call from the suspect who told him to check his savings account. That was when the victim realised that his savings were gone,” said Ahsmon.

He added that the victim then immediately lodged a police report and called the bank.

Ahsmon also revealed that the district police together with Bukit Aman, which has a special team in place to deal with such cases, immediately sprang into action and began to trace down the transaction.

“It was then discovered that the money, which was transferred by the suspect, was still pending at the bank. That is why we managed to recover the victim’s money quickly,” he added.

For other cases with similar modus operandi, the victims, he said, would only realise that their money has been siphoned out of their savings account maybe weeks or months later.

“That is why it is very important to immediately call the National Scam Response Centre at 997. Make the call first and then immediately lodge a report at the nearest police station for swift action,” said Ahsmon.

He gave his assurance that the police are working closely with banks when it comes to scam cases.

On another note, the Kuching police in 2022 has recorded a total of six Macau scam cases involving RM77,328.96 while between Jan 1 and Feb 28 this year, they have recorded five Macau scam cases involving RM1,136,842.

Ahsmon also reminded the public to be aware of any suspicious phone calls or messages especially the ones where the caller is asking to provide them for the OTP or a transaction authorisation code (TAC) number under the guise that they need the number to update a bank account or to deliver a package.

“The best way is just to ignore these calls or messages,” he stressed.

Since 2022, the Kuching police have charged six individuals in court involved in scam cases under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating.

All six have been found guilty and fined RM1,000 for offence under Section 37(1) of the Sarawak Minor Offence Ordinance 1958 for unlawful possession of money.

Also present at the press conference was Kuching police deputy chief Supt Merbin Lisa.