Bilateral law enforcement cooperation with Croatia and Slovenia has resulted in the repatriation of 91 Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said yesterday.
Taiwanese officials in January tipped off Croatian and Slovene authorities, who raided several telecom fraud rings targeting Chinese and arrested 97 Taiwanese suspects, CIB Deputy Director Lu Chun-chang (呂春長) said.
“Many Taiwanese have over the past few years been engaged in telecom fraud overseas, severely tarnishing Taiwan’s international image,” Lu said. “Our police have set up a digital platform to track suspects overseas and inform authorities in other nations.”
“Although Taiwan does not have official diplomatic relations with Croatia and Slovenia, we succeeded in repatriating 91 of the suspects thanks to the efforts of officials at the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said.
The six remaining Taiwanese suspects are standing trial in the two former Yugoslav republics, officials said.
In a related case, police earlier this week raided seven locations in Taichung and apprehended five suspects, including 38-year-old Tsai Chia-wei (蔡嘉偉), who is believed to be the mastermind behind the Taiwanese telecom fraud rings in Croatia and Slovenia, CIB International Criminal Affairs Division Director Kan Yen-min (甘炎民) said.
An investigation found that Tsai’s groups, with help from two Croatians, obtained more than NT$100 million (US$3.4 million) over three months through wire transfers from more than 100 Chinese victims, he said.
Most of the 91 repatriated suspects have been detained for follow-up processing by prosecutors in Miaoli County, he added.
“Telecom fraud rings have taken advantage of visa-free entry to the EU by Republic of China passport holders,” Kan said. “Group leaders take Taiwanese recruits to Europe, where they stay in one country for a few months before moving to another country to establish a new operation.”
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