July 15, 2024

Nearly 600 Arrested in Asian Swindling Ring

Roughly two-thirds of the 598 people arrested were Taiwanese citizens, they said, and most of the victims appeared to live in Taiwan or mainland China. The inquiry was led by investigators in Taiwan and China, and was code-named “0310” after the date on which the two governments’ police agencies agreed to join forces under an earlier crime-fighting agreement, Liu Chong-Xin, a spokesman for the Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau, said in an interview.

The arrests prove that the agreement “is not just an empty promise,” Mr. Liu said. “Instead, it is embodied by real action.”

Authorities in Taipei called it the largest single roundup of criminals in the region’s history. Mr. Liu called the architects of the scheme a “multinational fraud organization” managed by at least three different Taiwanese crime gangs. The extent to which the frauds were coordinated was not yet clear, he said.

The sweep was reported to have shut down 161 boiler-room operations in Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand, each employing sophisticated frauds. The Associated Press quoted Thai authorities as saying that fraudsters there had posed as bank officials and duped citizens into transferring money from their accounts. In Malaysia, the news agency reported, people were tricked into sending money to invalidate nonexistent traffic fines and court orders.

Elsewhere, the service reported, the criminals led online shoppers to order and pay for goods that were never delivered.

Mr. Liu said that more than 1,000 investigators, including 865 Taiwanese police officers, worked more than three months on the inquiry. The arrested included 410 Taiwanese and 181 Chinese, many of whom were working in other countries and were deported to China and Taiwan on Friday evening. Others who were arrested were citizens of Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea and Thailand.

It was not clear what charges will be pressed against those taken into custody, The A.P. reported, in part because laws against Internet crimes are unclear, and transnational crimes are frequently difficult to prosecute.

Catherine Lu contributed reporting from Taipei, Taiwan.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/11/world/asia/11taiwan.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Speak Your Mind