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Illegal foreign worker brokerage ring busted

Illegal foreign worker brokerage ring busted

The mastermind of an illegal foreign worker brokerage ring and his accomplices have been arrested and 28 Indonesian workers who left their legal employers have been rescued, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Tuesday.

After being tipped off late last year, the NIA began a long-term surveillance operation of the ring, and it mobilized 120 agents at the end of last month to conduct simultaneous raids in Taichung City and Changhua, Nantou, Yunlin and Chiayi counties, all of which are in central Taiwan and regions to the south.

According to a police investigation, the mastermind, a 50-year-old man surnamed Huang, lured away seven Indonesian men and 21 women from their legal employers by promising them monthly wages of more than NT$20,000 (US$609).

They were then taken by two of Huang's taxi driver friends to central and southern Taiwan to plant saplings and flowers, or work at fish ponds, hog and chicken farms or precision machinery plants or as caregivers and were treated little better than slaves.

Young and pretty women in the group were forced to go into prostitution, and several pretexts were used to deduct the workers' pay, often leaving them with only around NT$6,000 per month.

Huang housed the workers in a small corrugated steel shed and rarely gave them days off. If they asked for time off, their wages would be deducted NT$1,000 a day, police said.

If the workers complained about ill treatment, Huang would threaten to call the police and repatriate them.

Police estimated that Huang, who ran illegal brokerage rings for around 10 years, has pocketed nearly NT$10 million in illicit gains from the scheme.

Huang and his accomplices have been turned over to prosecutors on suspicion of violating organized crime and human trafficking laws. (By Chao Li-yen and Lilian Wu)

Updated : 2021-09-24 05:34 GMT+08:00