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Suspect held over dubious Karambunai project
Published on: Friday, October 20, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Police here arrested a 43-year-old Chinese man from Kedah to help in investigations into a development project at Lot CL.045091174 in Karambunai.

State Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din said the arrest was made following a report lodged by one of Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) City Planning Department directors that the so-called project had no approval from DBKK or other relevant departments and agencies.

Ramli said police carried out a raid at a premises and seized few items from the company's office such as computers, documents along with transactions receipt. The suspect was brought to the police headquarters and detained on Tuesday.

"Police seized few computers including receipts of transactions but it is from foreign banks, maybe it was banked in from China or Hong Kong and we need some time to clarify this," he said at State Police Headquarters, Thursday.

He added that initial investigations showed that the company, which was registered early this year, has not carried out any work on the site but has been doing promotions to attract investors.

"They even carried out live streaming to showcase the project at Likas Stadium on Monday which was attended by around 2,000 mostly Chinese and Taiwanese nationals. On the same night they organised Gala Dinner Award Night in Kota Kinabalu," he said.

Quoting DBKK, Ramli said the 210 acres is known as "Bukit Tadahan" or hill catchment and under no circumstances should there be any development work or construction without the approval of DBKK and a number of other agencies.

He urged the public to assist in the investigation and for those who may have been involved to report to the police to prevent or avoid any more losses.

He added that the ongoing investigation will be under Section 420 and 511 of the Penal Code.

On Sept. 30, City Hall's Department of City Planning confirmed the existence of a company promoting a non-existent property development project in Karambunai as revealed by Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda).

Its Director Stanley Chong said the department received numerous complaints from the public about a so-called development project on some parts of a piece of land registered as Lot CL045091174 in Karambunai by a company.

He said following investigation the department discovered that there was no record of application nor approval of a development plan by City Hall in regard to the proposed project as advertised by the company.

He also confirmed public complaints about many advertisements about the so-called project being put out by the company.

Aside from that he said, the department learnt that the location of the project is in a "Ridge Conservation Area" under the Kota Kinabalu District Draft Plan Scheme.

Shareda on Sept 29 raised a fresh alarm over an alleged Ponzi scheme involving bogus property development projects in Sabah.

Its President Chew Sang Hai reportedly said the investors do not invest in actual properties but purchase shares from a so-called company.

The company's modus operandi involves putting out an attractive advertisement via social media such as Whatsapp about some development in a 1,000 acre land in Karambunai.

"The ad is fantastic. It tells about a certain project and anyone can buy its shares.

They don't buy the property. Just the shares of the company. The so-called property or property development is only a product in the scheme. So anyone can introduce the scheme to friends.

It's a multilevel marketing," Chew had said.

He also said Shareda suspected the scheme was nothing more than a scam. - Jeremy S. Zabala

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