Taipei prosecutors yesterday indicted nine people who allegedly trafficked 88 young adults to work for Cambodia-based fraud rings.
Starting in November last year, the nine people received up to US$18,000 per person recruited, who were in two separate groups, prosecutors said.
The recruiters used Facebook to target young adults who were unemployed or had financial problems, offering them high-paying jobs at casinos or gaming clubs, prosecutors said, adding that the jobs that were promised were in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
People duped by the scams were held against their will after they arrived in Sihanoukville and were forced to engage in phone scam operations, prosecutors said.
Those who did not perform satisfactorily were beaten, shocked or enslaved, they said.
They were also threatened with being buried alive, stories of people having their organs harvested or being transported to another place to face even worse conditions, the indictment said.
At least 88 people were trafficked by the two groups, including 18 who were rescued and have returned to Taiwan, prosecutors said.
The two groups received US$17,000 to US$18,000 for each person sent to Cambodia, prosecutors said.
Police arrested one group of three led by a man surnamed Lin (林) on May 5 and another group of six led by a man surnamed Lee (李) on July 5, and a court granted a request by prosecutors to detain six of them incommunicado.
The nine suspects were indicted on multiple counts of human trafficking, attempted fraud, interference with personal freedom and involvement in organized crime, prosecutors said.
In related news, two people surnamed Chen (陳) and Fu (傅) were arrested and questioned by prosecutors in New Taipei City yesterday for suspected involvement in a separate human trafficking ring.
The two suspects were originally arrested in Taipei last month on suspicion of trafficking 20 people — some of whom live in Hualien County — to Cambodia for telecom fraud operations.
The cases were investigated by Hualien prosecutors and the suspects were released on bail on Thursday.
Prosecutors in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋) said that they acquired new information on the two men after they were released and arrested them yesterday. They were still being questioned as of yesterday afternoon.
The New Taipei City case is separate from the Hualien case.
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