Police busted a syndicate of fake documents

GEORGETOWN: The Penang police uncovered a foreign document forgery syndicate masterminded by the Rohingya ethnic group.

The syndicate was busted through raids carried out by a police team from the Criminal Investigation Department (JSJ) and Penang Special Branch through 16 raids around Bukit Mertajam, Butterworth and Arau, Perlis.

Penang Deputy Police Chief, Datuk Mohamed Usuf Jan Mohamad, said through the Mega Operation, his party arrested 14 individuals consisting of 11 ethnic Rohingya and three local citizens aged 18 to 63.

He said, preliminary investigations found that the syndicate had been active for the past two years in the manufacture and sale of fake documents worth between RM150 to RM1,000.

The mastermind of the syndicate is a 63 year old Rohingya man who is believed to have settled in this country more than 10 years ago.

The modus operandi of the syndicate is to create various fake documents including UNHCR cards, CIDB cards and Myanmar national passports before giving them to agents to be sold to customers of the same ethnicity through the WhatsApp application.

“The review also found that so far the syndicate has sold about 700 UNHCR cards with an estimated monthly profit of up to RM30,000,” he said at a press conference at the Penang Police Contingent Headquarters (IPK) today.

Also confiscated in the raid were various fake documents including 20 pieces of UNHCR cards, i-Kad, CIDB cards, Myanmar passports (13), Malaysian driving licenses (4) and 11 vehicles including eight motorcycles.

It is understood that the main mastermind resides in Bukit Mertajam and uses a flat in Butterworth to process all the fake documents.

Commenting further, Mohamed Usuf said, the investigation found that two local men who were arrested acted as middlemen for the syndicate to register vehicles in their names.

A total of 477 vehicles were registered in the name of a 57 year old suspect while another 247 were registered in the name of a 63 year old suspect.

The review found that most of the vehicles, including the motorcycles, were bought in cash before being sold or leased to a syndicate for the use of foreigners around the north of the country.

“We do not rule out the possibility of the various facilities provided with the help of local people attracting illegal immigrants to come here,” he added.

According to Mohamed Usuf, all those arrested were remanded for 28 days in accordance with the Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act 2012. The investigation was also carried out in accordance with Section 26A of the Anti Trafficking in Persons and Anti Smuggling of Migrants Act (ATIPSOM).

“In addition, we are also hunting for an agent of the syndicate known as Sara Moghul Husin to help with the investigation,” he said.

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