Selangor Journal

Umrah package fraud: Nearly 400 police reports lodged

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Police have confirmed receiving 399 reports concerning alleged Umrah package frauds by a local company between January 1 and yesterday, involving 1,614 pilgrims nationwide and causing over RM14 million in losses.

Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf said 21 investigations have been initiated so far with over RM500,000 in losses, and the company manager has been called in for questioning.

“The company is owned by a married couple, who are also the directors. They own RM1 million shares in the company, registered in 2015, to carry out various businesses, including tourism.

“Based on information from the Tourism, Arts, and Culture Ministry (Motac), in early 2023, the Saudi Arabian government increased the Umrah and Haj costs, which is inclusive of accommodation, transport, and food, making the company’s packages no longer viable,” he said at a special press conference today.

To offset the increase in costs, the company used the money collected from pilgrims as turnover capital for different Umrah groups.

Ramli said the company’s licence to operate was suspended from July 10 this year to January 9, 2024, under Section 8(1)(d) of the Tourism Industry Act 1992, and the company, as well as its directors, were blacklisted by the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) on October 5, under Section 17 of the SSM Act 2001.

229 police reports on the company have been referred to Motac and the Tribunal for Consumer Claims, while five reports have been referred to the Magistrate’s Court for a civil suit.

“A total of 165 cases have been classified as “No Further Action”, while the Tribunal has awarded RM3,355,548.60 to 133 claimants out of the 177 cases referred to it,” he said.

On a separate matter, the police crippled a job scam syndicate and detained 65 local individuals aged 16 to 50 during four raids in Kuching, Sarawak, on Monday (November 27).

Ramli said the syndicate targeted Australian and South American nationals via the Monday app to prey on users who entered their data for part-time jobs.

The victims were asked to evaluate and promote flight tickets on a provided link to earn a commission. However, they were required to make a payment first.

— Bernama

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