KUALA LUMPUR – Police have arrested 13 African nationals in connection with an “African Scam” syndicate operating here.

Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Comm Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said they began operations to round up the syndicate members from Sept 27 and Oct 5.

“We received 35 similar reports involving losses of around RM941,700.

“Our counterparts in Singapore have told us the syndicate could be involved in cases there as well.

He said the suspects, 11 men and two women aged between 25 and 35, had claimed to be students.

“We also seized an assortment of items including 21 mobile phones, seven laptops, 19 ATM cards and a Perodua MyVi car.

“We have remanded the suspects to help with investigations into cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code,” he added.

African Scams include parcel, Internet, black money and love scams.

For the parcel scam, the suspect will meet and “fall in love” with the victim via social media before saying that he wants to send her a package as proof of his love.

Someone impersonating a Customs officer or courier company personnel will then contact the victim, demanding money as “tax” or “insurance fee” for the parcel.

The victim only realises that it is a scam when the promised parcel does not arrive and the syndicate continues to demand more money.

In the love scam, the suspect will first befriend and start a “relationship” with the victim, also over social media.

Before long, the suspect will profess his love for the victim, saying that he wants to come to Malaysia to marry her.

Upon arrival, he is “arrested” and either he or members of his syndicate will then contact the victim, demanding money for his release.

Black money scams have a completely different modus operandi.

The conman will try to convince the victim that piles of black-dyed, banknote-sized paper in a trunk or a safe has turned into money after being “washed” by a chemical solution.

The victim is then persuaded into paying for the chemical solution used to “wash” the money.