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.
VOTERS’ CHOICE: The DPP’s Chen and independent candidate Huang conceded defeat before 7:20pm, with Chiang pledging to remain humble and do his best Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) yesterday won the Taipei mayoral election, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate defeating the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) pick, former minister of health and welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), and former Taipei deputy mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), an independent. After polling stations closed at 4pm, the Taipei Election Commission issued a preliminary estimate that voter turnout in the city was about 64 percent, slightly lower than in 2018. Chiang, 43, is to be the youngest Taipei mayor ever, with the KMT regaining the capital after eight years. Chen had an exceptionally high national approval rating when he was head
A naval landing craft on Thursday sank near Kinmen County after wet weather and rough seas flooded its cabin, the Naval Fleet Command said. The vessel, called Landing Craft Mechanized 1326, had completed transport and replenishment missions in the county and was returning to Taiwan proper when surging waves flooded the cabin, the navy said in a statement. The craft’s five crew members tried to bail out the water to no avail, the Navy said. The landing craft eventually sank off Kinmen’s Liaoluo Bay (料羅灣) at 5:18pm, although all crew members rescued, it said, adding that the precise cause of the sinking
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Chiang was effective in running a cautious campaign to avoid making mistakes, waiting for other candidates to slip up, an analyst said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei Mayor-elect Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) stood out among his rivals due to his energy, his die-hard supporters and his relative openness to discuss issues such as same-sex marriage, a political analyst said yesterday. Chiang’s campaign was also aided by his family’s background in politics, which helped him garner greater support in Taipei where there is a large KMT base, said the analyst, who chose to remain anonymous. “Chiang is also not a typical KMT member when it comes to certain issues, such as gay marriage, and his more open stance widened his support base — particularly among young
TOURIST HOTSPOT: The air charter services would drastically cut travel time to the world-renowned beach with its service to Caticlan, instead of Kalibo Royal Air Philippines is to launch next month direct flights between Taiwan and the Philippine city of Caticlan, a closer entry point to tourist hotspot Boracay. The airline will initially offer six charter flights between Dec. 26 and Jan. 15, with the flight frequency increasing to one per day during the Lunar New Year and winter holidays from Jan. 19 to Feb. 8, it announced at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. The charter flight services will drastically cut travel time to Boracay to about two hours and 45 minutes. Before the new route is launched, travelers from Taiwan who