Fri, Jan 26, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Croatia arrests 61 Taiwanese for telecom scams

Staff writer, with CNA

Sixty-one Taiwanese were arrested in Croatia last week on suspicion of telecom fraud, foreign wire services reported.

Citing Croatian officials, the reports said that the 61 Taiwanese nationals were picked up on Thursday last week by Croatian police during a raid on two separate locations near the capital, Zagreb.

Two of the suspects were also accused of “operating human trafficking networks and forcing victims into working in telecoms schemes,” the reports said.

A video clip broadcast by Croatian media showed the police breaking into an upscale residence with garden and finding several people who were allegedly being held captive there.

The landlord said the house had been rented several months ago through a broker and he had no idea what the tenants were doing.

The other 59 Taiwanese suspects were allegedly lured by money offers to engage in telecom scams and had been held captive at the two locations, manning illegal “call centers” that targeted Chinese nationals, the reports said, citing Croatian officials.

Two Croatians suspected as working as accomplices were also arrested, the reports said.

Chinese officials stationed in Croatia who were part of the initial investigation carried out by Croatian police confirmed that all the detainees were from Taiwan and that they had been running similar telecoms scams in Slovenia before moving to Croatia about a month ago, foreign news media reported.

The telecoms fraud ring had netted about 10 million yuan (US$1.58 million) in more than 20 illegal operations, Chinese police were quoted as saying.

The arrest of the 61 Taiwanese suspects was the latest in a series of similar crackdowns on Taiwanese criminal rings by police in Kenya, Malaysia, Cambodia, Armenia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Following those crackdowns, more than 200 Taiwanese fraud suspects were sent to China for trial on Beijing’s insistence.

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