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Police detain 24 in international phone scam

2012/05/18 22:29:05

Taipei, May 18 (CNA) Police said Friday that 24 suspects allegedly involved in a telephone scam ring based in Malaysia were referred to the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office and detained pending a further investigation after being deported from the Southeast Asian country a day earlier.

Hsinchu County police worked with Malaysian authorities to launch two raids against the ring in early April.

They found that the ring had 239 members -- 151 Taiwanese, 81 Chinese and seven Malaysians -- and that it had defrauded its victims of tens of millions of Taiwan dollars between September 2011 and April 2012.

Callers from the ring, which operated out of eight hidden locations in Malaysia, pretended to be prosecutors and got victims to transfer their money to accounts controlled by the ring under a number of pretexts.

They told their victims that they were suspected of a crime and could have their assets frozen, or conversely that their credit was being used by others, and suggested that they move their money to another account for safe keeping.

The group also recruited Chinese women to gain the trust and friendship of Taiwanese men by calling them repeatedly and then persuade them to transfer money to dummy accounts to help the women with a family illness or take care of bills.

Following the deportation of the first group of 24 suspects, the other suspects are expected to be deported to their home countries in the near future.

(By Lin Jui-yi and Maia Huang)