Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) officials yesterday said they have arrested nine people on suspicion of human trafficking, and rescued nine Taiwanese.
The suspects are being accused of luring Taiwanese to Cambodia with lucrative job offers, before forcing them to work in their fraud operations.
The criminal ring was allegedly led by Lee Chen-hao (李振豪), who is suspected of being a boss of a Taipei chapter of the Bamboo Union triad, the officials said.
Photo: Chiu Chun-fu, Taipei Times
Lee and two men working for him have been placed under judicial detention pending further investigation, they said.
The CIB, with support from the National Police Agency, on Tuesday raided a business run by alleged members of the gang on Linsen N Road in Taipei and detained six suspected members of the ring.
Police also found modified handguns, bullets, computers, money ledgers, employment contracts and other documents linking the suspects to the trafficking operation.
Lee and other members of the ring are facing charges of fraud, illegal confinement and organized crime, CIB officials said.
The CIB’s investigation of the criminal ring began in May, when it received a call from a person being held hostage by the criminals. Police raided a hotel in Taipei and found three people confined to a room waiting to be transported to Cambodia.
Police at the time arrested three suspects, led by a man surnamed Lin (林), who allegedly worked with Lee in the human trafficking operation.
A follow-up investigation led to this week’s arrests, while police are cooperating with Cambodian authorities to track down other Taiwanese who might be linked to the case.
“Lee in November last year linked up with ‘snakeheads’ in Cambodia to set up conduits for human trafficking. He and members of his gang then put advertisements on social media platforms, offering up to NT$50,000 to NT$60,000 a month to work in Cambodia,” the CIB said.
The jobs offered included working in casinos, lending money and acting in adult films, it said.
However, the job applicants were confined to hotel rooms and had their identification cards confiscated before being forced to sign employment contracts. They were then taken to Cambodia, where local criminals and colluding Taiwanese took them to a place where they were forced to work in a telecom scam headed by Taiwanese, it said.
Victims who refused to cooperate were beaten and even tortured with electricity, the CIB said.
The profits generated by the criminal operation were split evenly between the Taiwanese and Cambodian groups, it said.
Eighty-two Taiwanese have been taken to Cambodia this way and nine have been rescued so far, the CIB said, adding that efforts are ongoing to find and repatriate the remaining victims.
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