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31 Taiwanese arrested in Indonesia in cybercrime crackdown

2016/04/12 21:35:09

A fraud ring busted in 2015. (CNA file photo)

Jakarta, April 12 (CNA) A total of 31 Taiwanese nationals were arrested in Indonesia on alleged involvement in cyber fraud, during a raid by Indonesian police last week.

Indonesian police and immigration officers arrested 42 suspects, including 31 Taiwanese, during a search at a hotel and a building in an upscale residential area in Balikpapan City, said Jeffri Dian, the city's police chief.

The police also seized equipment and devices that were likely being used in an operation to defraud Taiwanese and Chinese nationals, he added.

The suspects were found to have entered Indonesia on April 3 but only 12 of them had valid passports and visas, he said. The others presented only photocopies of Indonesia visas, he added.

They are suspected of using Indonesia as a base for cybercrime against Taiwanese and Chinese citizens, the police chief said.

He said Indonesian police suspected that the fraud ring was led by a Taiwanese national.

A Taiwanese official based in Indonesia said there have been many cases of Taiwanese and Chinese nationals entering Indonesia to engage in telecom fraud.

Unlike the recent incident in Kenya, however, there have been no reports of Taiwanese suspects being deported to China, the official said.

The official was referring to Kenya's recent controversial decision to hand over to China a total of 45 Taiwanese nationals who allegedly were members of various Kenya-based telecom fraud rings targeting Chinese victims.

In cooperation with Taiwanese and Chinese police, Indonesian law enforcement officers last August busted an international fraud ring based in Indonesia, arresting 82 Taiwanese suspects and seizing IDR$10 billion (US$762,994) in cash.

Many of the women arrested during the raid said that they did not know they were engaging in cyber fraud as they had answered job advertisements that gave the job description as simply taking phone calls.

Some others said that they were on holiday in Indonesia with their boyfriends.

A Taiwanese official stationed in Indonesia said there has been an increase in recent years in the number of young Taiwanese adults being recruited for telecom fraud.

Fraud rings offer high pay and provide bonuses to their most successful employees, the official said.

The members of such fraud rings usually live in upscale suburban residential areas, the official added.

(By Jay Chou and Elaine Hou)