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Seven Taiwanese suspects charged with running scams overseas

2019/03/07 17:57:28

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, March 7 (CNA) Seven Taiwanese men were charged with fraud on Thursday by Taichung prosecutors who accused them of being part of an overseas-based ring that was swindling large amounts of money from people in China.

In its indictment, the Taichung District Prosecutors Office said the ringleader, surnamed Huang (黃), and six accomplices had committed fraud and other contraventions of the Organized Crime Prevention Act.

The seven men were arrested in Taichung last October and their smartphones, computers and money were seized, prosecutors said.

Law enforcement authorities also confiscated a NT$30 million (US$970,000) house in the city's Dali District owned by Huang, prosecutors said.

According to the indictment, Huang, 27, began recruiting people in 2016 to form a fraud ring and assigned a Taiwanese man surnamed Hsia (夏) to head the operations in Japan, which focused on internet fraud and targeted residents of China in the period Oct. 23, 2016 to Jan. 17, 2017.

In March 2017, at Huang's instruction, Hsia and some other Taiwanese launched another overseas operations center, this time in San Jose, Costa Rica, which also targeted people in China and netted more than NT$100 million in about 10 months, prosecutors said.

Huang set up a third fraud center in June 2018, in Japan's Nishio City, and pulled in 130,300 Chinese yuan, mainly from two Chinese citizens, according to the indictment.

The fraud ring in Japan was busted after one of the members sent an email to Taiwan police, asking for help to return home and saying that he had been banned from doing so and from seeing his girlfriend, the indictment stated.

Shortly after receiving the email, Japanese and Taiwanese police raided the operations center in Nishio but found nothing, as all the equipment had been removed and most of the ring members had returned to Taiwan, prosecutors said.

However, Huang and six accomplices were arrested in Taichung last October as they were preparing to return to Japan to resume their fraud operations there, prosecutors said.

(By Su Mu-chun and Flor Wang)