PBM: Stiffer penalties against Macau scammers

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On Friday (June 10), the KL Magistrate’s court sentenced 10 men to a fine of RM1,000 each for failing to explain how RM3.14 million from a victim of a Macau scam went into their bank accounts.

While PBM respects the court’s decision, we also take note of the chatter among many Malaysians who find that the penalties do not commensurate with the gravity of the crime. Cumulatively, the 10 men were only fined RM10,000 while the amount lost by the scam’s victim ran into millions.

Those convicted of the crime cannot claim ignorance that their bank accounts have been misused, especially when unusually huge sums of money were transacted through them. In Macau scams, usually the only traceable link between the syndicates and the victims are the bank accounts operated on behalf of the former.

In relation to this, PBM calls on the Government to introduce stiffer penalties against not just the masterminds of such scams, but those who are accessory to the crime, such as those who allow their bank accounts to be used for criminal intent, whether knowingly or otherwise.

When such laws are in place, bank account holders would think twice about allowing money from scam victims to pass through them. Moreover, Malaysians would then be forced to be more vigilant about transactions involving their bank accounts. They cannot claim ignorance before the law anymore.

Ultimately, we believe Macau scam syndicates will have problems accessing bank accounts to ply their heinous trade and this will go some way to reduce the crime, if not eradicate them altogether.

Macau scam is a serious problem in Malaysia. Based on news reports, Bukit Aman’s commercial crimes department has revealed that a total of 1,585 Macau Scam cases were reported last year with losses totalling RM560mil.

In this respect, PBM calls on the public to be extra vigilant when receiving offers that are too good to be true. When in doubt they should always check with the authorities and should not allow greed to cloud their judgements.

Media statement by PBM Penang Chairman, Alan Oh.