Sat, Jan 21, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Telecom fraud suspects arrested

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Suspects in a telecom fraud case are escorted by Criminal Investigation Bureau officials in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Authorities have arrested 23 people nationwide in raids targeting an alleged telecommunications fraud ring that preyed upon people in China, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said yesterday.

The raids were conducted in Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, as well as Nantou and Pingtung counties, over the past week, the bureau said.

“The ring was headed by two main suspects, surnamed Hsu (許), 32, and Huang (黃), 28. They established a base with computers and telcommunications equipment in Uganda, which was staffed by Taiwanese,” said Wu Tung-wen (吳東文), vice captain of the CIB’s 7th Investigation Unit, which is in charge of investigating the case.

Wu said law enforcement agencies in China sought the bureau’s help in cracking down on the ring after a number of Chinese said they were defrauded via ATM transfers, with most of the transfers and money collection found to have taken place in Taiwan.

“The victims in China reported that they have received telephone calls in which the callers said they were either bank officials, police officers or prosecutors,” Wu said.

“The victims were told that their identities had been stolen and used in serious criminal cases,” Wu said. “The scammers said checks were needed on their bank deposits and other accounts, and the targets were led to transfer money to designated accounts, which belonged to members of the criminal ring.”

The suspects were taken to Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office for questioning and were charged with fraud.

“It was difficult at first. The telecommunications facilities were in Uganda and the suspects laundered money in other overseas locations. However, by cooperating with Chinese law enforcement agencies, we received more information to work on, and through big data analysis and detailed investigative work, we traced the calls and determined the identity of the suspects, as well as their movement,” Wu said.

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security also investigated the ring, which reportedly has members in China, where authorities arrested 62 Chinese on suspected involvement, Wu said.

“Hsu was in Uganda to run the operation and directed the money through bank accounts, but after defrauding a Chinese official out of a large sum of money, he fled to Taiwan because Chinese authorities were about to find his base in Uganda,” Wu said.

An official at China’s Guizhou Province Economic Development Bureau was defrauded out of 117 million yuan (US$17 million), which was reportedly the largest single money transfer in China at the directions of a telecom fraud ring.

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