Thu, Jan 19, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Taipei councilor warns nannies about con artist

FEMALE THIEF Several women working as child minders have lost thousands of NT dollars to a woman claiming she wants to hire a nanny

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A criminal gang has been preying on nannies throughout the Taipei area for the past five years, a Taipei city councilor said yesterday, urging police to intensify their investigations into the crimes.

Taipei City Councilor Chen Yu-mei (陳玉梅), of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), said that although each victim has only lost a few thousand dollars, the gang could have actually netted millions.

Chen said that according to figures given by nanny associations in Taipei, at least 13 nannies have fallen victim to the scams, although only one reported her case to the police.

VICTIM SPEAKS OUT

Pan Hung-yin (潘紅英), director of the Taipei Association for Community Nannies, said she had been a victim of such con artists four years ago.

Pan said a woman had come to her house allegedly seeking to hire her. The woman, using the excuse that she needed to use the bathroom, stole money out Pan's purse, which had been left in the bathroom.

"I did not report my case to the police, because I felt that it wasn't a lot of money, and it was a bit embarrassing," she said.

Another nanny, surnamed Tseng, said that a woman had come to her house and started chatting with her, saying that she was a distant cousin and that she wanted to hire a nanny.

TALKATIVE THIEF

Tseng said her guard was down after chatting for such a long time, and when the woman said she forgot her wallet but needed money for a dinner event she was attending that night, Tseng agreed to lend her NT$30,000 (US$937).

The woman had promised to return the money the next day when she brought her child to Tseng to look after.

Tseng reported the case when the woman did not return.

Chen said the female suspect in all the cases was presumably the same woman.

SUSPECT DESCRIBED

Police officials described the suspect as short, around 150cm, and tanned, with a long scar across her neck.

The nannies present at the conference said that when asked about the scar, the woman had told them that she had attempted suicide, an apparent bid to win pity from the nannies.

Police officials added that they had no specific leads in the case, but will search police data bases for more information on the suspect.

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