KUALA LUMPUR, April 13, 2015:

There is no such thing as free money and a 54-year-old Singaporean found this out the hard way.

This after he was scammed out of US$70,000 (RM252,000) in an attempt to purchase a particular liquid to wash “black money” .

The black money scam occurs when people are conned out of their money after being told that large piles of cash were dyed black to avoid detection by authorities and placed at a site. The victims are then persuaded to pay for the chemicals to “wash” the money, with the promise the sum would be shared.

According to Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief Datuk Law Hong Soon, the businessman made a report on April 7 after he met the suspects at a hotel in the city.

“He wanted to buy the liquid and the suspects asked him for US$70,000. They showed the businessman how to wash the black money using the liquid.

“The next day, he met the suspects at the same hotel again and agreed to pay US$70,000 to them.

“The suspects took the money and then told him to wait in the hotel room as they wanted to get the liquid for him. But they never came back.”

According to Law, the suspects later called the businessman and told him to leave the hotel room immediately, claiming that the police were alerted to their activities.

“The victim failed to find the suspects or contact them ever since or get the liquid as he was promised.”

The Commercial Crime Investigation Department, however, managed to arrest the three suspects on April 10 while they were returning a rented car. They were brought to the Dang Wangi police station.

“Following the arrests, we raided three apartment units in Ampang and found stashes of fake ringgits, Singapore dollars and US dollars, along with equipment and printers to print the fake money.” Law said they found more than RM1 million in counterfeit money and the three suspects, two of them from Guatemala and another from Cameroon, were being detained at the Dang Wangi lock-up until April 14.

When asked whether the suspects were travelling illegally into the country, Law said they had proper documents and entered the country legally, but police would continue to investigate their entry here.

“The victim will be investigated as well on the ground he wanted to purchase the liquid.”

According to Law, this is the second case reported so far this year involving fake money.

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