KUALA LUMPUR: As fugitive Datuk Seri Nicky Liow Soon Hee remains in hiding, police crushed his billion ringgit scam network in a massive operation with the arrest of 68 suspects including two Datuk Seri and six Datuk.
One of the Datuk Seri who was arrested was Liow’s younger brother.
The Macau scam syndicate that was involved in loan shark activities, non-existent investment schemes and fraudulent online sales was exposed after police uncovered scam cases and mule bank accounts linked to Liow’s company called the Winner Dynasty Group.
Five other companies run by Liow’s younger brother and several of his friends that were in alliance with the Winner Dynasty Group and laundered money were also identified by police.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said 34 officers from enforcement agencies, including the police force, who were conspirators of the syndicate have also been identified and are being investigated for their involvement in the scam activities.
He said other high-ranking government officials involved was a former deputy public prosecutor who was arrested last week.
Abdul Hamid said the ex-court official was the “conduit” who recruited senior officials of enforcement agencies to cooperate with the syndicate.
“Our investigations show that Liow has a nett worth of about RM1 billion. Liow is still in the country and is being hunted. Anyone who harbours him will also face action as it is an offence.
“He had managed to transfer a large quantity of cash to international accounts after getting wind that police are after him. We suspect this happened because the information was leaked by a mole in the police force. This is an act of betrayal by police personnel and we will take stern action. Not disciplinary action which is secondary but action in accordance with the law,“ he said in a press conference at Bukit Aman today.
Abdul Hamid said though there were Malaysians who had also fallen victim to the scams, the syndicate mainly targeted victims in China by offering investment schemes and promising high returns.
He said payments deposited by the victims were later channelled to online gambling websites and cryptocurrency to ease withdrawals.
He said Liow is also suspected to to have connections with an international organised crime fugitive from Macau who is known as Wan Kouk Koi@Broken Tooth.
Abdul Hamid said Broken Tooth who is wanted by the US and Australian authorities also has links with international drug kingpin Tse Chi Lop who was arrested in the Netherlands in January.
He said the operation codenamed Ops Pelican 3.0 involved 220 police personnel from the Johor CID, Johor commercial crimes investigations department (CCID) and the General Operations Force (GOF).
It was launched in Selangor and the Klang Valley on March 20 and ended on Sunday.
Abdul Hamid said 70 raids were conducted and police arrested 68 suspects out of 118 people who were checked.
He said 48 suspects comprising 42 men and six women are in detention under laws of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).
Abdul Hamid said 18 of them are Chinese nationals.
He said also held were two men who had the Datuk Seri title and six others including a woman who hold Datukships.
Abdul Hamid said another 20 suspects including 11 Chinese nationals and a Myanmar woman were held either under immigration laws or after testing positive for drug abuse.
He said one of the suspects also tested positive for Covid-19.
Naming the syndicate as the “Nicky Gang”, he said police also seized over RM773,000 in local and foreign currency and eight luxury cars including a Bentley and Rolls Royce worth a total of RM6.67 million.
He said a Glock 17 pistol with nine rounds of ammunition was also seized from a suspect.
Abdul Hamid said 41 bank accounts with over RM4 million were frozen and 35 cars worth RM8.86 million were impounded under provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
He said the bank accounts and cars were linked to 21 individuals and 16 entities including the Winner Emperor Worldwide Foundation and Nicky Liow Integrity Organisation.
“The syndicate is vicious and violent. Any of its members who attempt to break away from it are dealt with violently.This is just stage one of the operation. We are now in stage two where we are tracing other assets of the syndicate such as land, houses and buildings,” he said.
Liow who has 12 past criminal records for crimes and drug-related offences was in the news in October 2017 after he assaulted two Rela members who were on duty at a function at a Chinese temple in Ampang.