Police in central Taiwan have busted three alleged telecom fraud rings and arrested 42 suspects, who were taken for questioning yesterday.
The Yunlin District Prosecutors’ Office coordinated the raids, which were carried out over the past few days. The office raided three locations in Taichung, Taoyuan and Nantou County with the help of the Criminal Investigation Bureau and police units from several jurisdictions.
The suspects are all Taiwanese, said Liu Ting-hsin (劉丁心), squadron leader of a Yunlin County police investigation unit, adding that they made telephone calls to defraud people in China by posing as Chinese judicial, police or government officials.
They allegedly deceived the victims into cooperating with “criminal investigations” and had them transfer money to accounts set up by the fraudsters, Liu said.
The fraud operation in Taoyuan was sophisticated, as police found computers and telecommunication devices along with fake Chinese police uniforms complete with fake guns and badges, which the scammers wore during video calls to deceive the victims, Liu said.
The ring in Nantou County was allegedly headed by a man surnamed Wu (巫), Liu said.
He had returned home in September last year, police said.
“We wanted to return to Taiwan to carry out our operation, because we were afraid of being sent to China for prosecution if we were caught in other countries. In China, they have very severe punishments and we could face long prison terms,” Wu was quoted as saying by the investigators.
The suspects allegedly told their victims that the authorities were investigating a case of money laundering or illegal drug trafficking and demanded their cooperation in finding unusual flows of money into their bank accounts, police said.
The investigators said that they would contact their judicial counterparts in China to verify the identities of the victims and would proceed in accordance with the Cross-Strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement (海峽兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議).
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