Taiwanese and Malaysian police cracked an international phone-scam ring during the Lunar New Year holidays, arresting 36 people from three countries who were based in Penang, Malaysia, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) reported yesterday.
The ring was allegedly run by a Taiwanese man surnamed Huang (黃), who was arrested at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Jan. 21, two weeks after raids were carried out in Penang on Jan. 6, the bureau said. The other alleged members of the group were nine Taiwanese, 24 Chinese and two Malaysians, the bureau said.
Police estimate that the ring, allegedly formed by Huang in 2010, had swindled more than NT$400 million (US$13.46 million), mostly from Chinese nationals.
Gang members posed as bank workers, police or prosecutors in telephone calls, convincing people to transfer funds to accounts operated by the fraud ring, police said.
Members of the group were reportedly recruited by Huang through newspaper and Internet commercials, supposedly to work in Malaysia as telephone salespeople, police said.
On Jan. 6, Taiwanese and Malaysian police raided two locations in Penang, finding telecommunications equipment and electronic devices, a police news release said.
Nine Taiwanese were arrested during the raids and deported to Taiwan on Jan. 19, police said.
Huang was picked up on Jan. 21 as he got off a flight from China’s Xiamen at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, police said.
Seven of the 10 Taiwanese have been remanded in custody by the Yilan District Court, while the other three have been released on bail, police said.
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Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease