Over $35,000 withdrawn from missing Malaysia Flight 370 passengers' bank accounts
Malaysian officials announced Thursday that over 111,000 Malaysian ringgit, or more than $35,000 U.S. dollars, has been stolen from bank accounts of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 passengers.
The money was taken in early July from three passengers who used the same bank. The funds were transferred to a fourth passenger's account, and then to a Pakistani man's account. The name of the bank has not been revealed.
Kuala Lumpur Commercial Crime Investigation Department Chief Assistant Commissioner Izany Abdul Ghany said that the bank reported the crimes on August 2.
"The money was taken via ATM and internet bank transfer to a third party," Izany said in a statement. "We are investigating this case."
Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 while travelling from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China. No debris or evidence of a crash site have been found, and 239 persons were on board.
The news of the bank fraud has been devastating for the families of the missing passengers.
"Do they realise some of those missing passengers are the sole breadwinners of their families and that they need that money?" Lokman Mustafa asked. Lokman's sister was on Flight 370. "I am angry to hear this news.
"People are still suffering. Some are still hoping for the plane to be found. They have not gotten over the tragedy.
"People should leave them alone to pick up the pieces and carry on with their lives."
Chief Assistant Commissioner Izany also criticised the theft.
"Whoever did this is taking advantage of the situation and adding to the suffering of the victims' families," he said.
Police announced Friday that two people in Malaysia have been arrested in connection with the crimes.
One of the suspects is a bank employee, and the second suspect is the employee's husband. The Pakistani man, identified as Ali Farran, is believed to have fled the country.
The families of other MH370 passengers were urged to check their family members' bank accounts for any fraudulent activity.