EDIT: This may not be a scam after all. See new post here!
Here’s a public service announcement of sorts. I don’t know how many of you who come by here are actually Malaysians or close thereofs, but if you are, consider what I’m about to say carefully. I came by a poster (above) today at a “Rock Corner” music store outlet advertising an anime con called Anime Fiesta Kuala Lumpur (web site here, as shown above), apparently to be held 31st March to 1st April at KLCC and even involving a Hatsune Miku live. The catch however is that this thing is, believe it or not, almost certainly a scam. After smelling something fishy while looking this up online, I did some reading around, and have a summary of evidences listed below:
- By multiple accounts (by people who claimed to have called up or visited the event venue, eg here) and by the schedule page of the location itself, nothing remotely related to anime is happening there at the announced con date. The halls that are supposed to house the event are also, apparently, already booked, by other parties. Various groups have also claimed that they were approached by the organisers selling their booths while acting extremely unprofessionally and making incredulous claims about the scale of the event.
- Someone apparently emailed Crypton Future Media Inc. inquiring about a Hatsune Miku concert in Malaysia and screenshot and posted the email conversation. The response was a negative. There are also many people voicing suspicions regarding the pricing of the Hatsune Miku concert tickets, who are apparently significantly more exorbitant than comparable concerts in the past.
- Some thorough, transparent (and Linux-assisted!) sleuthing, summarised in this post, revealed that not only is the event’s web page (and its many iterations!) suspiciously badly conceived and full of blatant plagiarisms, they are also self hosted under dyndns via a streamyx connection, and is in fact squatting together with the website of the claimed organizing company, which, as it turns out, is a mobile phone store in Ampang. Beyond suspicious for the webbie of an apparently highly ambitious project involving a Hatsune Miku live.
- There is no official response from the organizers regarding the avalanche of accusations levelled at them. Not even an appeal for time or a promise that everything will be cleared up. Take a look at (one of!) the event’s facebook page. Basically, they are simply ignoring the accusations (and, from bits and pieces here and there, apparently also deleting and banning them), only responding indifferently to price and time enquiries.
In short, taken collectively, I consider the evidence virtually incontrovertible. This is almost certainly a scam, do NOT fork out any money to these people! Unfortunately I was able to find little advice for people who might already have purchased something from these folks. This post recommends reporting the scam to the National Consumer Complaints Center/Pusat Khidmat Aduan Pengguna Nasional. There is also an “Official video response” of sorts apparently by the local community regarding the situation, in which victims are invited to “contact us immediately in the comment section below & it’ll further assist in the police investigation”.
I hope there aren’t many victims :( I was surprised at the terrible taste this left in my mouth, considering I had only had a passing interest in the possibility of going to the “event”. I can only imagine how it would feel to be brutally cheated of your money and your anticipation and excitement. Various parties claim to be taking action against these guys, I wish them the greatest success. If someone knows what else can be done about these conmen, please drop me a note at the comments.
Edit: links fixed. /palmface