Saturday, August 20

RM750,000 scam: Bomoh, male accomplice arrested


KUCHING: A bomoh and his male accomplice suspected to be involved in a RM750,000 scam were arrested on Friday in swift action by the police from the Commercial Crime Investigation Department.

TOOL OF THE TRADE: The coffin said to be able to cure illnesses.

TOOL OF THE TRADE: The coffin said to be able to cure illnesses.

The mode of operation of the duo was to ask their victim to ‘deposit’ some  money into a small coffin, to supposedly enable any sickness or disease to be cured.

The suspects, aged 35 and 47, were picked up at their homes at   11th Mile and 3rd Mile here respectively after an investigation led by Kuching Commercial Crime head ASP Dzulkarnain Hazmi.

In a press conference at the Sg Maong Police Station yesterday, Sarawak Commercial Crime head Supt Mohd Firdaus Abdullah said the police had acted on a Jan 21 report lodged by an elderly couple.

This woman and her husband, in their 60s, alleged they were duped by a man who claimed to be a bomoh.

According to Firdaus, the woman was told by the bomoh that he could treat her husband who contracted a mysterious illness in the middle of 2009.

“After ‘treatment’, the bomoh requested the elderly couple to put an amount of RM750,000 in cash into a small coffin.

“He instructed that all the money be in RM50 notes.

“The bomoh then warned the couple not to open the coffin for three years or else the husband would not be cured of his illness.

“After six months of no improvement to the husband’s condition, the couple became wary and suspected that something was amiss. It was not only until last Thursday that the couple decided to lodge a police report,” he said.

According to him, the RM750,000 ‘deposited’ by the couple were their life savings.

During the press conference, the coffin in question was also displayed to the members of the media.

Firdaus stated that further questioning of the suspects led the police to the coffin which was hidden at a temple located at 12th mile here.

The money, however, was not found and only a Pajero four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicle was recovered from the suspects.

Firdaus added that the suspects would be remanded for another seven days to assist in the investigation.

“Both the bomoh and his accomplice will be charged with cheating. If found guilty, they will face a mandatory jail sentence of between one and 10 years with whipping or be fined,” Firdaus said.

In another case, Firdaus mentioned about a case where a local woman, 40, cheated three Swinburne University students of RM62,000 in total.

In the report that was filed last month, the students, aged between 18 and 20, stated that the woman contacted them in the middle of 2009 claiming to be a representative of the university.

The woman managed to convince the students into believing that she was authorised to collect payment for their semester fees.

Without hesitation, the three students handed her their cheques at her home at Green Road.

It was not until the students checked with the university’s administration that they realised that they had been cheated.

The students immediately reported the matter to the police.

The students told the police that the woman acted alone.

According to them, the cheques that were handed to the woman were for RM27,000, RM20,000 and another,   between RM13,000 and  RM15,000 respectively.

“Upon receiving the report, the police carried out three separate investigations and we were able to nab the suspect on Dec 31. The suspect was charged two weeks later,” Firdaus explained.

The suspect was produced in court for case hearing yesterday.

Firdaus advised the public to be very careful and not to entertain any suspicious deals or promises.

He reminded all higher learning institute students to always deal with the administrative office directly especially if it involves money and registration.