M'sian man allegedly scams S$29,000 in donations by claiming 14 relatives died of Covid-19

He has since been arrested by the police.

Jean Chien Tay | September 08, 2021, 02:41 PM

A Malaysian man in Johor has been arrested by the police for allegedly scamming his colleagues and the public for over RM91,000 (S$29,444).

The man claimed that 14 of his family members died from Covid-19 to gain sympathy, Bernama reported.

The suspect even allegedly held a virtual "wake" to keep up the appearances, with some of his colleague present at the "wake" as well, World of Buzz reported.

According to the press release from the police, the 45-year-old had shared his sob story on Facebook and WhatsApp, and directed people to donate to a bank account.

How did it happen?

Circulating screenshots of the WhatsApp messages said that relatives of a "Petronas staff" β€” referred to as "Encik Zahazan" β€” had passed away due to Covid-19.

Petronas is a Malaysian oil and gas company owned by the government.

The message claimed that Zahazan lost his wife and three children to Covid-19 in June and July.

It further claimed that subsequently on Sep. 2, his five children, his mother, sister, brother-in-law, and two of his sister's children all passed away due to the virus.

Bank account details were provided for people to make donations.

The message also stated that "the info is true" and has been "confirmed by him (Zahazan) and the HR (department)" of the Petronas branch in Pengerang, where he worked.

Petronas comments on the incident

On Sep. 4, Petronas has since responded to the news, confirming that the suspect is indeed under the employment of a Petronas contractor, and has been detained.

The statement added that their company is cooperating with the police in the investigations.

In a subsequent tweet, Khairul shared another screenshot purportedly sharing comments from Petronas, believed to be sent to staff.

The message in the screenshot said that that Zahazan's sob story was nothing but a "scam to seek donations from the public."

It also expressed "great regret", saying that they would have to "correct the earlier messages" regarding the incident.

Netizens furious with suspected scammer

Netizens expressed their anger over the suspect's alleged scam, and how "easy" it was for it to succeed.

One Fdaus Ahmad, who appears to be a colleague of Zahazan, took to Facebook to express his anger at the alleged scam.

"(The story) was even referred to the authorised department, which circulated email to express condolences," he wrote. He also stated that Zahazan held a "wake" for his supposedly deceased family.

Another netizen tweeted, "I hope the scammers realise they have stolen other people's rights. Donations that were supposed to go to people in need ended up with this scammer instead".

Meanwhile, additional accusations of Zahazan allegedly committing fraud in the past have also surfaced on Twitter.

Top image via Clint Patterson/Unsplash & DG Hisham/Facebook