A married couple in Kuala Lumpur has been detained by the police over suspicion of running a luxury hotel accommodation scam targeting frontliners
According to Bernama, Sungai Buloh district police chief Supt Shafa'aton Abu Bakar said that the husband and wife, aged 26 and 27, were nabbed in a raid of a homestay in Ampang on Thursday, 24 September.
The suspects have been accused of tricking victims by offering them discounted vacation packages as a sign of appreciation for battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Shafa'aton, the police have received over 30 reports from a group of victims that lost a total of RM26,193 as a result of falling for the scam
"Investigations found that the suspects have been active since last September using the company name, I&I Paradise Venture, where most of the victims are frontliners," the police chief said.
Besides frontliners, Berita Harian reported that the couple conned a total of 514 others with their luxury hotel accommodation scam that has been ongoing since last year.
According to Harian Metro, their Hari Kebangsaan package in August alone this year has led to over 40 police reports from people falling victim.
The latest report lodged was from a government hospital nurse who informed the police of the scam on 13 September
Shafa'aton said that the victim learned about the hotel promotions through an advertisement in a WhatsApp group and was interested in a package at a famous hotel in Port Dickson priced between RM88 and RM499 per night.
"The victim then contacted the suspects' company and was offered to become an agent with a commission of 10% by distributing package advertisements to her colleagues," she said.
The victim managed to convince her colleagues and made 26 bookings with the company. She made payment of over RM7,000 to the company's bank account and was issued receipts for open booking at the hotel for any time.
The victim only realise she was duped after personally checking with the hotel involved if her bookings were made
She told the police that the there were no accommodation bookings made by the company.
Many other victims realised that they were scammed only after arriving at the hotel and trying to check-in with fake booking ID numbers.
The unemployed couple will be remanded until today, 29 September, to aid in investigations
"We have also confiscated four handphones and two laptops to aid in the investigation," said Shafa'aton in a press conference on Monday, 28 September.
She added that the suspects have never applied or registered for a licence to operate their travel agency business, nor has their company been appointed as an agent by any of the hotels that they were promoting.