Gold scam by 'Datuk Seri' leaves victims in Malaysia poorer by $5 million

KUALA LUMPUR - A gold investment scam by a supposed "Datuk Seri" has left more than 100 investors poorer by about RM15 million (S$5 million), several of the victims claim.

Nine of the victims, who lost about RM1.5 million in total, have come forward to tell their story to the public with the help of the Malaysian Chinese Association's (MCA) Public Services Bureau.

They said they were initially persuaded to sell their gold to the man's company, which would accumulate it in "Bank Negara" and then sell it to China after amassing 20 tonnes.

They were also offered a 1.5 per cent to 1.8 per cent dividend each month for a year, depending on the amount of gold they invested.

One of the investors, who gave her name only as Mrs Ng, said she learnt of the investment opportunity after getting phone calls from people claiming to be the company's marketing representatives.

Not knowing how they got her number, she went to the company to find out more and found that it seemed credible.

"I was given seven cheques in exchange for the 1.64kg of gold that I sold them," she told a press conference at Wisma MCA on Wednesday (Apr11).

The 67-year-old said she then signed an agreement with the company and all went well for about eight months.

She said: "I received RM73,000 through the 1.5 per cent monthly dividend from March until October last year. However, in November, the company's dividend cheque bounced."

Mrs Ng said the amount was almost RM37,000.

She went to the company's office in Wisma Central only to learn that it closed about a week earlier.

She also tried texting the "Datuk Seri", but did not get any reply.

Federal Territory MCA Public Service Bureau chairman Banie Chin said the scheme started taking gold deposits from January last year (2017).

"According to the information we got from the victims, more than 100 people in Peninsular Malaysia were involved with the company," he said.

"The amount of losses is estimated at more than RM15 million."

Mr Chin said the bureau will work with the police to track down the perpetrator.

Lawyer Michael Wong added that the case also involved a possible breach of the Personal Data Protection Act 2010.

"How did the company get the victims' phone numbers and how did they know they had gold in their possession?" he said.

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