News of another investment scheme unmasked as a scam is no longer shocking. Victims, however, are outraged that no culprits have paid for their crimes yet and some are even still freely operating.
The latest in a long list of dodgy investment schemes that started collapsing like dominos since three months ago is a company that duped more than 100 Singaporeans of S$5 million.
One of the victims, Karen Siau, claimed she had first heard of the company in 2012.
She said she was later introduced to the company’s lottery and insurance investment schemes and invested after hearing she would receive returns of between 2.3% and 4% a month.
However, she declined to reveal the amount she invested.
“For the first five months, I received the promised returns, then they stopped paying me,” she said, adding that she had tried contacting the company to no avail.
She then lodged a police report in Singapore where the case is still being investigated.
Siau was among five Singaporeans who lodged a complaint with Bank Negara today. She said she hopes authorities will take action against the company which she claimed is still operating along Jalan Kuchai Lama.
The company’s branch in Geylang, Singapore, has since closed down.
“We hope that no more people will be cheated of their hard-earned savings like we were,” Siau added.
She said the company had alleged that the money they got from the victims was used for charity.
“We want to tell the public not to be deceived by them,” she said.
The Singaporeans were accompanied by DAP’s Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng.
Last month, Lim had also highlighted the plight of a large group of local investors who had been duped by the same company.
According to Lim, from JJPTR to a lot more, Malaysia appears to have become a safe haven for investment schemes which are allegedly a cover for scams because of weak enforcement by the authorities.
On Jun 17, Lim accompanied a group of investors, who claimed to have invested in a scheme allegedly operated by Century Dynasty to the company’s building in Kuala Lumpur.
Lim said that more than 100 police reports have been lodged since early last year against the company and its chairman, Datuk Seri Stanley Goh Teik Keng, but no action has been taken.
One of the alleged victims, Khor Guat Hoon, told the media that she and her family had invested with the company after being promised a 3.2% return every month, for three years.
The company, she said, claimed to be investing in paddy fields and coal mine projects, among others, in Indonesia and Cambodia.
“We were impressed by what the company had to offer and we trusted them because they showed us the paddy fields and the coal mines, and a lot of Datuks were also investing with the company,” Khor said.
But after investing over RM600,000 in 2014, Khor said she received only one payment of RM9,600 in August the same year.
For almost two years she tried to get her money back from the company but failed. In February 2016, she decided to lodge a police report against Goh and his company.
“No action has been taken against him or the company and this frustrates us. Especially since he’s still allowed to go in and out of the country freely,” Khor said, adding that she had asked Lim and other DAP MPs to help her file a civil suit against Goh.
Lee Siew Chow, another alleged victim, met Goh in 2014. He said Goh had claimed to own 1,000 hectares of paddy fields in Cambodia and urged him to invest in them.
Like Khor, Lee received only one payment, which was made in September the same year.
“A friend who introduced us showed me a magazine article which listed Goh as one of the top 50 businessmen in the world. So I trusted him and invested RM100,000 in the company,” Lee said.
He added that after repeated attempts to get his money back, Goh, in 2014, promised to return his capital, but had yet to do so.
“In February 2016, a group of us lodged a police report against him.
“We then went to the commercial crime department at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman and was told by a deputy superintendent of police that he will take over the case.
“But we’ve received no updates so far,” Lee said.
Genie Yee, also an alleged victim, met with Bukit Aman’s commercial crime department last year.
She, however, claimed that an officer she met there told her that based on their checks, none of the cases reported was actually pursued.
According to Yee, checks by her and other victims found that there were reports lodged against Goh and Century Dynasty in other countries, including Singapore and Brunei.
Seputeh MP Teresa Kok and Selangor DAP committee member Ronnie Liu, who were also with the investors on Jun 17 said it was high time the authorities take serious note of the various investment scams in the country.
“I see news of this every day. I believe if the authorities want to do something about it, they can,” Kok said.
“We will bring this matter up in the next Dewan Rakyat sitting, and I hope the government can show that they’ve done something to address this problem,” she added.
Liu said that Goh was also a director of another investment company, alleging that it was also a scam.
“If the authorities don’t stop him now, he will open more companies and continue to scam the public. It’s not about the victims being greedy.
“But with the economic pressure today, they are of course looking for other ways to make an income.
“And the duty of the government is to protect the interests of the people,” Liu said.