SHAH ALAM: A young couple ended up going on a trip to police lock-up after they were arrested in Ampang for allegedly fleecing 519 people of RM611,000 with non-existent staycation and tour packages.

Among their victims were a large number of weary medical frontliners who had taken up the couple’s offer of a break after months of hectic duty at Covid-19 wards at hospitals.

In the past months, the suspects, a 27-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, had advertised the offers mainly through the social media, especially Whatsapp group accounts under a company called I&I Paradise Venture and took online payments in advance.

The holiday and hotel packages offered by the suspects ranged from a few hundred ringgit to about RM2,000.

It is learnt that the number of cases involving the couple shot up since June this year when their incensed victims lodged police reports after being given the runaround and realised they had been scammed.

Online checks showed several victims of the couple had taken their grouses to the social media weeks earlier, warning the public of the scam.

Selangor Commercial Crimes Investigations Department (CCID) chief ACP Muhammad Yazid Muhammad Yew said yesterday that the couple were arrested on Friday after being traced by a police team from the Sungai Buloh CCID.

He said Selangor police have received 69 police reports involving 519 victims to date.

More than 75% of the victims were from Kajang and Petaling Jaya.

Muhammad Yazid said the suspects are being investigated for cheating.

“We want to advice the public to be wary and not get too drawn in by offers of such cheap tour packages before checking if it is genuine with the hotels or Tourism Ministry.” he said.