Philippine phone scam ring leaders nabbed in Taiwan

TAIPEI - Taiwanese police said Thursday they arrested 22 people including two leaders in several cities throughout the island suspected of forming a telephone scam ring based in the Philippines.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau said the arrests took place Wednesday in coordination with police in the Philippines, where another 78 Taiwanese suspects were also detained for alleged involvement in the scams.

The ring allegedly called people in China, pretending to be judicial officials, telling their victims that their bank accounts had been frozen.

They then persuaded the victims to transfer their money into dummy accounts, and finally withdrew the money from those accounts, according to the bureau.

The suspects, mostly young people, were detained in raids on three houses in the southern Philippine city of Davao where police said they also confiscated computers that were allegedly used in committing the widescale fraud.

Taiwanese fraud rings have recently relocated to Southeast Asia after the island’s police joined forces with Chinese authorities to bust their operations on the mainland.

This year nearly 400 suspects, including 241 Taiwanese, were arrested during joint operations with the police in Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, according to the bureau.

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