Taipei, June 8 (CNA) Forty-five Taiwanese nationals suspected of taking part in two Philippines-based telephone fraud rings were deported from the country and sent back to Taiwan on Friday after being caught in mid-April.
The suspects, who were arrested immediately after arriving at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, will be subject to a criminal investigation.
The 45 were among 72 Taiwanese nationals and 6 Chinese suspects who were arrested in Davao on April 18 after Taiwanese and Filipino police raided three of their suspected operating bases.
An initial investigation showed that members of the rings, led by two Taiwanese surnamed Lu and Huang, posed as judicial personnel, local officials or call center employees to coax or intimidate victims into wiring money into the swindlers' accounts.
Police from Taiwan and the Philippines wanted the suspects, mostly between the ages of 20 and 30, to be charged with illegally using communication devices, violating an e-commerce law and illegally possessing guns after they seized guns, computers, and communications devices at their hideouts.
Davao prosecutors decided not to indict them, however, citing insufficient evidence, and it was decided in mid-May that the 72 Taiwanese nationals would be deported back to Taiwan.
According to Philippine law, foreign suspects can only be deported once they have been cleared of all legal proceedings within the country.
The remaining 27 Taiwanese nationals are expected to be deported at a later date after raising enough money to cover their travel expenses, said a liaison officer with Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau based in the Philippines.
(By Emerson T. Lin, Johnson Sun and Scully Hsiao)