Escaped Macau scam suspect catches attention

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 17): The recent incident where a suspect of money laundering case escaped by climbing over the fence at the back of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) building, has not only caught the attention of the public but also left them baffled by the question as to how it was even possible.

Most of them felt that the man, who is the main suspect of the case which allegedly involved local celebrities and senior police officers, could not possibly escape from the well-fenced MACC area.

Many were also angry that such an incident occurred, especially when the Macau Scam or money laundering activities masterminded by local individuals had stolen millions of ringgits from their victims.

The suspect, a 32-year-old man, was among the nine people arrested for investigation and was just released on MACC bail on Sunday before he escaped, while eight others were handed over to Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for further investigation under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 after the case was classified as a syndicated crime.

Five days after the incident, Bukit Aman CID revealed the picture of the suspect, saying that he was also wanted for investigation under Section 4(1)(C) of the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953  for alleged involvement in organising online gambling in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

Although incidents of suspects escaping from the authorities had been reported before, the Macau Scam case, however, was considered a high-profile case as it involved 730 accounts of the syndicates with assets amounting to RM80 million being frozen.

The MACC had also seized cash of RM5 million and 23 luxury cars including (Ford) Mustang, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari and Porshe, as well as high-powered bikes, believed to be bought by members of the syndicate using proceeds of illegal activities.

Another question that lingers is why didn’t the MACC hand over the suspect straight away to the police?

Surely the escape incident could have been avoided if the two enforcement agencies paid a little more attention to cases involving suspects who were to be released by one agency and re-arrested immediately by the other.

Netizens nationwide could not help but voice out their opinions and theories over the incident - some made it a joke, while others openly claimed that it was a well-planned escape.

Various illustrations on how the suspect escaped from the building were widely circulated on social media.

The image and reputation of the police and the MACC had somehow been tarnished by their failure in ensuring a smooth process of handing-over of suspect for investigation.

Without a doubt, the standard operating procedure for the process need to be improved and cooperation between the two agencies needs to be enhanced.

Amid the uncertain political scene and the spike of Covid-19 cases, all the relevant authorities should not turn a blind eye on the suspect’s escape incident as extra and serious attention is vital to ensure that such an incident will not recur.