Twenty-six young people were arrested on Monday after authorities raided a house in Taoyuan, from which an alleged telecoms fraud operation was targeting Chinese.
The suspects were in custody awaiting questioning at the Keelung District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday.
The National Police Agency announced the arrests yesterday, saying the operation was led by a man surnamed Liu (劉), who hired young people to make calls to China.
Criminal Investigation Bureau officials said they had a three-story house in Taoyuan’s Lujhu District (蘆竹) under surveillance for some time.
Apart from Liu and a few others, officials said the people arrested were young — under 25 years old — with the exception of a 60-year-old man, who told investigators he was hired to cook three meals a day for everyone in the house.
Officials said Liu ran a tight operation with military-style discipline.
The young workers were not allowed to go out for three-month periods, which is why a cook was brought in to prepare meals, officials said.
When the authorities entered the house, Liu and others tried to destroy evidence by burning telephone conversation guidebooks and other documents in a wok, but officers doused the flames with water and retrieved most of the material, the bureau said.
Authorities said that documents seized from the house indicated at least five people in China had been targeted, who had been defrauded of about NT$10 million (US$309,224) among them.
They said the group had a database of potential targets in Xiamen, Shanghai, Suzhou and other Chinese cities.
Officials quoted Liu as saying: “Getting caught in China was a big concern; we would get a heavy punishment, so we transferred operations from China to Taiwan. It is safer for us here.”
The young people were taught to speak with Chinese accents, impersonating Chinese medical insurance, law enforcement or state prosecutor officials to threaten people with state investigation and instructing them to transfer money via ATMs, the bureau said.
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