Padawan police foils China shaman scam with five arrests

DSP Merbin holds up some currency notes found during the search of the suspects' house.​​

PADAWAN, Dec 15: A 58-year-old woman learned her lesson the hard way not to give in to superstitious belief after being conned out of some RM13,092 worth of cash and jewelry here.

However thanks the Padawan police’s swift action, they managed to catch the suspects the same day she reported the incident to them, and her valuables recovered.

Padawan deputy police chief DSP Merbin Lisa said the infamous “Chinese Shaman Scam” happened to the victim on Dec 11 at around 9.10am when the victim was on her way home from the Siburan market on foot.

She was approached by a Chinese lady asking for the whereabout of a man. Then two more Chinese ladies approached the victim asking the same thing. They told the victim that something unfortunate would befall one of the victim’s family members, claiming that they had a premonition one of the victim’s children would be met with a horrible traffic accident as exactly 12 midnight that night.

“The suspects then offered to help the victim, claiming that they could perform a ritual to prevent the accident from happening. However it would come at a cost.

“Shortly later, a red Perodua Alza driven by a man wearing a baseball cap and shades came to pick up the female suspects and the victim and drove to the victim’s house so that the victim could make a RM1,000 down payment for the ritual, which was placed inside a plastic bag,” DSP Merbin told a press conference at the Padawan District Police headquarters here today.

He said the suspects then brought the victim to a bank to withdraw cash from her fixed deposit account amounting to RM4,091 for the rest of the payment, together with some of her jewelry which was handed over to the suspects. All cash and jewelries estimated to be valued at about RM13,092 were placed into the same plastic bag.

Without the victim’s knowledge, the plastic bag was then swapped with an identical one, and upon handing the supposedly first bag back to her, the victim then was told not to open it for three days, said DSP Merbin.

After three days on Dec 13, DSP Merbin added, the victim opened the plastic bag only to discover that her cash and jewelry were missing. Instead, the bag contained two bottles of mineral water and an old newspaper.

“The victim promptly went to the Padawan District Police station to lodge a report. Thanks to the efforts of our investigation team, we managed to track down the suspects the same day the report was made, to a house in Taman Stampin Tengah in Kuching.

“We apprehended two males from China and Indonesia respectively, and three women — two from China one from Indonesia, aged between 27 and 50, at the house,” he said.

DSP Merbin revealed that the police searched the house and manage to find some Malaysian and foreign currencies — Malaysian Ringgit amounting to RM6,618, 1,760,000 Indonesian Rupiah, 610 Hong Kong Dollars, 1,150 Chinese Yuan and two Brunei Dollars. Other items found included the suspects’ passports, eight mobile phones, and some jewelry.

A rented Perodua Alza was also seized.

DSP Merbin shows jewelry and other items seized during the search of the suspects’ house.

DSP Merbin said the 58-year-old victim’s valuables were also recovered even after the suspects made an effort to hide them under a cupboard drawer.

“The suspects have been remanded since Dec 14 till 18 while the case is being investigated. They were charged under Section 420 of the Penal Code which provides for imprisonment of one year to 10 years with whipping and/or a fine,” said DSP Merbin.

He revealed that upon checking the suspects’ passports, it was discovered they have been frequently entering and exiting the country since as early as 2015. Police are investigating if the case is related to a similar one reported two days ago here, where a 60-year-old businessman was allegedly conned by two Chinese shamans and lost almost RM1 million since November. — DayakDaily