KUALA LUMPUR: Just 21 years old and he has fleeced more than two dozen people of over RM1 million in various scams.
When public concerns over the Covid-19 outbreak began in February, he decided to take advantage of it and preyed on social media users.
Posing as an importer of face masks, the unemployed man, who has a criminal record for cheating, claimed he had large stocks of face masks and marketed them at low prices. Attracted by the offer, orders began pouring in from netizens in March.
One of his victims was a 34-year-old Iraqi woman, who has been living in Malaysia for more than 10 years. She placed a large order for face masks worth RM300,000.
The woman, who is a doctorate student at a local university, had planned to send the face masks to Iraq as a donation to underprivileged communities.
While the man usually did business strictly by phone and emails with other victims, he decided to meet with the woman and her family to gain their trust.
Sources said over the weeks, he took payments from the woman and her husband, an engineer, in several meetings.
As days passed and the face masks were nowhere to be seen, the victim, who had enough of the man’s empty promises, lodged a police report.
It is learnt that the suspect had been using a fake MyKad to identify himself. He had gone into hiding after getting wind that police were after him.
However, last week the law caught up with him. After tracing the suspect, the federal police commercial crimes investigations department raided a house in Cheras, where the suspect was arrested.
Investigators learnt that the suspect was responsible for about seven cases of cheating involving the sale of face masks online. The man was also behind another dozen cheating cases over the sale of handphones in similar scams on trading websites.
Sources said the man is expected to be charged at the Duta court today for allegedly cheating the Iraqi woman.
Read this story on our iPaper: End of road for bogus face mask seller