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Police bust Southeast Asian-targeting fraud ring

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taichung City Police Department yesterday announced that it recently busted a large fraud ring involving eight Vietnamese workers on the run, leading to 21 arrests.

The police said given that the government has been working to crack down on cross-strait crimes over the past few years, they discovered that many fraud rings had gradually shifted their focus to Southeast Asian countries.

The Taichung police in April, 2013 received a report regarding the fraud ring and spent over eight months monitoring the suspects and collecting evidence.

The suspects allegedly pretended to be telecom company staff and told the victims, mostly located in Southeast Asia, that they had overdue phone bills; the suspects would then ask the victims to wire a sum of money into a designated account, police said.

If the victims do not fall into the trap, another scammer would call the victim a second time and pose as a police officer. The scammers would threaten victims with arrest if they did not transfer money to the account, police said, noting that most of the victims bought the story.

Police noted that they believe the criminal ring had already collected over NT$10 million.

Under the orders of the Taichung District Prosecutors Office and in collaboration with the Criminal Investigation Bureau, police on Thursday searched several areas in Taichung and Changhua, and arrested 21 suspects including the alleged ringleader, surnamed Chang.

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