Money Changer Quizzed Over ATM Hacker Link

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JOHOR BARU, Oct 3 – POLICE yesterday picked up a money changer they believed had “helped” a man fitting the description of one of the Latin American ATM-hacking gang members to convert a suspiciously high amount of the ringgit. The owner of the money changer, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said his staff could have served the suspect and converted some RM500,000 for him.

Investigators who recorded the statement are also going through through the premises’ closed-circuit television recordings in the investigations that are now handled by the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman. The money changer, an intermediate unit of a shoplot is located 9km from the bank, which was hit by the Latin American syndicate.

A source close to the investigations told the New Straits Times that there were three other money changers here who had conducted transactions with members of the syndicate. Of the 17 cases of ATM hacking that took place over the weekend, four were in Johor. “The suspect had asked for the stacks of ringgit he had to be converted into American dollars, bearing the latest serial numbers.

“Legal money changers are required to alert the police for security reasons if customers, especially those who are not their regulars, ask for huge amounts of money to be changed. “This one didn’t,” said the source. The owner of the money changer also told the NST that he never stored large sums of money and that it would take two days for them two finish RM500,000.

This, he said, led him to believe that the suspects had also had transactions with other money changers. It is learnt that police took from the money changer RM548,000 believed to be from the suspect. The gang had from Saturday also struck ATMs in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Malacca and carted away more than RM3 million. Initial police investigations revealed that the group might have local accomplices as they would have needed assistance to carry out the swift and well-planned jobs.

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