Recently, a local graphic designer Shahrul Ashraf Sallehuddin got scammed when shopping online, but he managed to track down the scammer and recover his loss, as well as those of the 9 other victims.
Shahrul was grateful to be able to get his money back, but he also wished that the police will take a more proactive action when he lodged a police report to curb this kind of crime.
In response to this matter, a senior police officer told FMT that it is not the police’s responsibility to help scam victims recover their money.
The senior officer, who heads a district commercial crime investigation department, explained that the law does not empower policemen to do so, adding that police’s duty is to “arrest, investigate and charge the suspects after receiving instruction from the deputy public prosecutor.”
“I understand that victims want their stolen money back. If I were a victim, I would want my money back, too. But we have to follow the law.” said the officer.
He also complaint how victims often blame the police when they could not recover their money.
He said that the public was often confused between account mules and scammers, where account mules are people who let others use their accounts and doing so is against the law.
“Those who cheat are not necessarily scammers. They could be just account mules. They let other people use their accounts and this is clearly against the law.” he explained.
“Scammers are not so stupid as to use their own bank accounts. That means when one perpetrator is arrested, it is likely that the scammer is still at large.” he added.
Nonetheless, Muslim consumer group (PPIM) activist Nadzim Johan said the police should improve the way they dealt with scams.
“There’s a need for a change in the attitude of some investigating officers when dealing with such cases,” he said.
“They have to show that they are concerned and go all out to investigate.”
He also said that the group has helped dozens of victims who had reached a dead end after seeking help from the authorities. “This shows that the cases can be solved,” said Nadzim.
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