Malaysian scammer jailed by Australian court

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — A Malaysian man was yesterday sentenced to seven months’ jail by the Melbourne magistrate’s court in Australia for using a fake credit card to cheat retailers.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that Kee Liang Yaw, 36, was an “integral” part of a Malaysian-based syndicate whose members took “shoppers” on daily trips across Melbourne that targeted major retail chains.

Joint federal and Victoria police investigation found Malaysian-produced and imported blank cards, similar to those of Australian financial institutions, embossed and encoded with stolen details from banking customers.

The annual illegal purchases included at least A$5 million (RM15.5 million) in-store gift cards from Myer, Woolworths and Coles.

Kee, who was last year caught using a fake credit card and deported for living illegally in Australia, returned under a false name four months later in October to resume work for the syndicate.

Prosecutors said following Kee’s deportation, he had changed his name in Malaysia, obtained a new passport and was granted an Australian student visa.

Last month, Kee was arrested by federal police and was found to have 43 fake cards, a credit card reader and the addresses of shopping centres and retails stores in his rented room.

He pleaded guilty to four charges, including two of dishonestly obtaining or dealing in personal financial information and one of possessing a false document.

Defence lawyer Andrew Sim said Kee, who spoke no English and had no family in Australia, had no prior convictions and was at the lower end of the syndicate.

However, magistrate Gerard Lethbridge told Kee he was “integral” to the syndicate and that the community needed protection “from people like you who come to this country and use these sophisticated methods to steal very, very substantial amounts of property and money”.



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