Project Manager Arrested over Sabah Property Investment Scam

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Police have uncovered a multimillion ringgit ‘tourism centre project’ scam targeting China, Hong Kong and Taiwanese nationals.

  • Police seized trading licences bearing the names Sky World Holdings, Sky World Global and Sky World City Sdn Bhd
  • Alleged project located near water catchment area where no development is allowed
  • Boasts of replicas of world landmarks as part of project
  • Staged project launch and joint-venture signing ceremony at sports complex, attended by 2,000 mostly Chinese nationals
  • Hosted lavish gala dinner at five-star hotel, ferrying guests in luxury vehicles such as Rolls-Royce
Aaron Lee/NST

 The scam came to light after a senior officer of the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) lodged a police report that the company set up by the syndicate had no approval to undertake and market the project.

A 43-year-old man from Kedah was detained on Oct 17 at the state police headquarters (IPK) in Kepayan after he was called in to provide a statement.

According to Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din, the suspect has a record for gang robbery and kidnapping.

“We had also raided an office at Jalan Tuaran and confiscated numerous documents, international receipts, computers and business licenses,” Ramli told reporters at a press conference at IPK.

The seized documents included piles of bank payment slips from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Aaron Lee/NST

Based on receipts of transactions found, the syndicate is said to have collected millions of ringgit from “investors” from the three countries.

Also seized were files and copies of trading licences bearing the names Sky World Holdings, Sky World Global and Sky World City Sdn Bhd.

Ramli said that the company was set up to lure people to invest in a ‘tourism centre project’ located on an 84-hectare piece of land at Karambunai.

The land in question was located on a hill near a water catchment area where no development is allowed.

“We do not rule out the possibility that fraud is involved. I urge those who may have been victimised to come forward to assist the investigation,” Ramli said.

The company, registered early this year, boasted of replicas of world landmarks, including the Petronas Twin Towers, Eiffel Tower, Burj Al Khalifa, Taipei 101 and Tokyo Tower as part of its development.

On Oct 15, three owners of the affected pieces of land in Karambunai lodged police reports over trespassing of their land by the company.

The next day, however, the company staged a project launch and joint-venture signing ceremony at the Likas Sport Complex, which was attended by more than 2,000 guests, mostly Chinese nationals.

The event was also “live streamed.”

Ramli said the company also hosted a lavish gala dinner on the same day at a five-star resort in Kota Kinabalu.

“The company used luxury vehicles, including a Rolls Royce to transport some the guests,” Ramli said.

He said police would also investigate the purpose of the events, where luxury vehicles such as BMWs and Audis were also displayed at the venues.

The case is being investigated under Section 420 and Section 511 of the Penal Code for cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, and attempting to commit offence respectively.