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CIB busts scam ring targeting mainland Chinese victims

TAIPEI - The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) raided the call centers of a scam ring in Taichung in a joint operation with Taichung Police Department and the Railway Police on Aug. 31.

The CIB's Sixth Investigation Corp and the Second Precinct of the Taichung Police Department received reports of a fraud organization operating in the central city run by a man surnamed Lee. Since early this year, Lee has allegedly rented two rooms in two luxury residential apartment buildings for NT$25,000 per month as call centers, where scammer would call mainland Chinese landline numbers in random and in order to con them.

Prosecutor Huang Jhih-wei at the Taichung District Prosecutors Office directed the CIB Sixth Investigation Corp, the Second Precinct and Dajia Precinct of the Taichung Police Department as well as the Taichung Branch of the Railway Police to form a taskforce to investigate the alleged crime.

The task force found that the main suspect Lee, who also allegedly funded the criminal operation, hired 14 people to pose as employees of Chinese telecom companies, police officers and prosecutors, etc. to committee phone fraud on mainland victims. According to the CIB, the fraudsters sent group scam text messages to random cellphones in China. When potential victims dialed the number listed in the messages, the scammers posing as telecom employees would tell the victims that their phone numbers have been compromised and used in crimes such as fraud and money laundry. The victims would then be directed to the second line of scammers - who would pretend to be police officers - and later to the third line scammers (posing as prosecutors), who would threaten to freeze the victims' assets and trick them into wiring money to designated accounts.

Under the lead of Prosecutor Huang Jhih-wei, the task force raided the two apartments on Aug. 31 and arrested all 15 scam suspects. Law enforcers also seized a score card listing the performances of the scam callers, wire transfer documents, "rules of engagement" booklets, a shredder, a laptop, an iPad, cell phones, wireless intercoms, internet connection sharing devices, flash drives and other items of evidence.

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