Taipei, A telephone fraud ring that defrauded more than 30 people in China out of NT$51.27 million (US$1.6 million) has been smashed with 19 individuals arrested as part of a joint police operation, Taiwan authorities said on Tuesday.
The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said at a press conference that police arrested 18 suspects in two separate raids in Taoyuan and Hsinchu counties on Jan. 16.
During the raids, law enforcement officers seized laptops, cell phones, bank cards and wireless sharing devices.
The fraud ring leader, surnamed Yang was arrested on April 25, CIB said.
According to the CIB, police were informed in September 2018 that a female bank teller in China had been cheated out of 5.91 million Chinese yuan (US$873,485) by individuals claiming to be police officers and civil servants from the Prosecutor General's Office in China.
The bank teller said she was told by people she believed to be from the authorities that she was suspected of being involved in a major money laundering case.
The police said starting in April 2018, the fraud ring, headed by Yang, called Chinese nationals from their operation room in Taoyuan and pretended to be police officers or civil servants from the Prosecutor General's Office investigating money laundering cases.
According to police, the group asked the victims for their bank account information in order to "confirm they were not involved in the money laundering cases."
The group then transferred money from the victims' accounts into proxy accounts. A 25-year-old man surnamed Su was responsible for collecting the money from those accounts, the police said.
The first floor of the building where the operation rooms were located was piled high with empty cardboard boxes so as to not attract the attention of the police. The fraud gang also used vehicles decorated with a logo that identified them as belonging to an "engineering company," according to the police.
There were five operation rooms on the second and third floors, with one to two ring members operating in each room, the police said.
The 19 suspects are to be indicted on charges of fraud as well as violations of the Money Laundering Control Act and Organized Crime Prevention Act.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel