JOB SCAM/Five suspects in Cambodia fraud ring arrested

09/16/2022 04:30 PM
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One of the men arrested by the police in Taoyuan. Photo courtesy of Tainan City Police Department
One of the men arrested by the police in Taoyuan. Photo courtesy of Tainan City Police Department

Taipei, Sept. 16 (CNA) Tainan police have arrested two men and three women suspected of being involved in a fraud ring that operated in Cambodia and recruited members in Taiwan.

The five, all of whom were in their 20s except for the 32-year-old ringleader surnamed Lin (林), were arrested in Taoyuan on Thursday, an officer of the Tainan City Police Department's Fifth Precinct told CNA.

The five suspects have been turned over to prosecutors for further investigation on suspicion of being involved in human trafficking and organized crime.

According to police, the ring the suspects belonged to was divided into business and personnel units.

The business unit was responsible for conning Chinese-speaking people in Europe and the United States into transferring money into fake virtual currency investment schemes through love scams.

The personnel unit lured people to Cambodia with the promise of a high-paying job and then forced them to work for the criminal ring upon their arrival, police said.

The victims therefore also become victimizers and were punished when they failed to hit performance targets, with men being beaten and women forced to do physical movements such as push-ups and sit-ups, police said.

The ringleader worked in Cambodia overseeing the victims' daily necessities while a woman, also surnamed Lin, was responsible for leading the recruitment of fraud victims, the police said.

As for the other three suspects, the police said they worked in Taiwan, engaging in cyber fraud and applying for passports and arranging transportation for those lured to Cambodia.

According to police, the ringleader and woman surnamed Lin returned to Taiwan in late August when tensions arose in Cambodia after three Taiwanese men were killed in Phnom Penh.

They were able to enter Taiwan by "hiding" themselves among a group of victims on the same plane and threatening the others on the plane not to rat them out.

Eventually, however, the victims provided clues related to the duo that helped the police track the suspects down and arrest them on Thursday.

(By Chang Jung-hsiang and Chao Yen-hsiang)

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