TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Poland announced a crackdown on a fraud ring comprised of 48 Taiwanese and two Poles, who have been arrested and could face up to 15 years in prison.
The ring was said to have made €1.8 million (NT$65 million) in a year from phone scams targeting Chinese nationals, according to Polish prosecutors.
According to AFP News, the gang made calls to victims in China pretending to be local police officers and threatening to initiate tax investigations if the victims refused to transfer money at their request.
On Thursday, the Polish police searched five villas in the capital city Warsaw, Krakow and Lublin to bust the ring. One Taiwanese and one Polish female are reportedly the ringleaders and are now under questioning.
The news of 48 citizens being arrested in Poland has quickly reached the country, with major Taiwanese media calling it a shame.
Hundreds of Taiwanese have been arrested outside Taiwan for alleged involvement in international telecom fraud operations over the past few years, including Kenya, Egypt, Turkey, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and several other Southeast Asian countries.
According to an analysis by the Central News Agency published in 2017, Taiwan’s embassy staff members have been run off their feet in their resident country trying hard not to have Taiwanese being deported to China for trials given the lack of an official diplomatic tie or a judiciary cooperation agreement, though local sentiment wishing otherwise due to judicial distrust and antipathy to fraud.
People in Taiwan usually complain that the local judicial system imposes light sentences for fraud compared to China and other countries, allowing offenders to make a quick comeback in other countries after only two to three years in prison, though in China the prison term could be 10 years. As a result, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has proposed a plan to implement at least a one-year outbound restriction on the offenders after their release from prison.