Twenty-six Taiwanese nationals allegedly involved in telecom fraud operations targeting Chinese citizens were charged with aggravated fraud Friday.
The 19 male and seven female suspects, led by a 28-year-old man surnamed Liu, were arrested in June and were now officially indicted by prosecutors in the northern port city of Keelung.
The fraud ring is a "fairly large" one and has defrauded at least 44 victims and accumulated illegal gains of over NT$11.23 million (US$356,985), said Wang Ya-chiao (???), spokesman of the Keelung District Prosecutors' Office.
The prosecutors found the accused "totally unrepentant" and were not cooperative with the investigators. The prosecution therefore asked the court to give Liu and four other defendants a relatively lenghty sentence of 10 years in prison and force them to work during their jail terms.
The ring based its telecom facilities in Taiwan and had its members send voice messages to mobile phone users in China's Shanghai, Fujian Province and Jiangsu Province, telling victims that their medical insurance cards were not functioning normally, according to the Keelung prosecutors.
When victims called back, the suspects pretended to be medical insurance personnel, police and prosecutors, and told victims that their cards have been misused by others to illegally claim insurance money and that their bank accounts had been misused by criminal groups to launder money.
The suspects then asked victims to wire "judicial security deposits" to designated accounts so that authorities could verify the sources of their money, prosecutors said.
The fraud ring changed the location of its telecom facilities every three months and banned its members from leaving the telecom control room for fear that they would expose their whereabouts, prosecutors said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel