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7 Vietnamese arrested in Changhua fraud bust

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Changhua County Beidou Precinct (彰化北斗警察分局) yesterday said that it recently busted a fraud ring, arresting seven Vietnamese including a ringleader surnamed Chang.

The precinct said Chang, who married a local Taiwanese many years ago and obtained her Taiwanese ID in 2008, allegedly recruited Vietnamese who were on-the-run as illegal workers and formed a fraudulent ring based in Taichung.

Police said the suspects set up a switchboard room in a metal-sheet house in Taichung, and allegedly made random calls to Vietnam. After would-be victims picked up the phone, the suspects would pretend to be bank employees or police officers, using various means to swindle money from the victims, police said.

Police further noted how they discovered that the suspects installed several surveillance cameras outside the metal-sheet room and communicated with each other via walkie-talkies in an attempt to avoid being investigated.

The precinct said it also suspects that Chang allegedly controlled her accomplices by using drugs such as amphetamine.

The precinct said that as the fraud ring is organized and the suspects are all well-trained, it suspects that there might be a larger criminal organization behind the phone scam.

Police said the National Immigration Agency (NIA) and the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) are jointly investigating cases involving victims in Vietnam.

On Monday night, the Changhua District Prosecutors Office led police and officials of the NIA and raided the metal-sheet house, arresting the seven suspects. Account books, knives, remittance slips and other evidence were found in the house, police said.

Chang and the other suspects were transferred to the prosecutors' office for further investigation, police said.

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