Malaysian police said Monday they arrested seven Japanese men suspected of operating a phone scam that targeted citizens in their home country after raiding a condominium in Kuala Lumpur.

The men, aged between 23 and 41, were arrested and immediately charged with violating immigration law.

The police said they raided the apartment in the Malaysian capital and apprehended the suspects, seizing their phones and other items, after being tipped off by the Japanese Embassy.

A Malaysian police executive speaks at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 20, 2023, about the arrest of seven Japanese men. (Photo courtesy of the Malaysian Police Department)(Kyodo)

Investigations showed that "the syndicate was operating a phone scam" targeting Japanese nationals using the Skype call and messaging application to contact their victims, Commercial Crime Investigation Department head Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf said.

The syndicate members allegedly impersonated banking staff and told victims there were problems with their accounts, requesting that they transfer funds to another account provided by the scammers.

The suspects are being held by immigration authorities pending further investigation.

Crime syndicates involving Japanese nationals have been reported in other parts of Southeast Asia recently.

Earlier this month, Japanese police arrested 25 Japanese men suspected of running a phone scam out of Phnom Penh after they were deported from Cambodia.

In Thailand, police also apprehended two Japanese citizens this month for conducting similar scams from Bangkok.

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