Three Taiwanese receive heavy sentences in Vietnam for scamming elderly

Phone scamming operation led by Taiwan national tricked Vietnamese victims out of more than NT$12 million

An elderly woman walks on the streets of Vietnam. 

An elderly woman walks on the streets of Vietnam.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Three Taiwan nationals have received prison sentences of between 10 and 15 years for tricking elderly Vietnamese out of their money through scam calls.

On Thursday (Nov. 19), members of a phone scamming operation in Vietnam, led by Taiwanese man Pan Chu-lin (潘竹林) were found guilty of fraudulent appropriation of property by a court in Ho Chi Minh City. Pan was sentenced to 15 years, and his two Taiwanese accomplices — Chiu Po-sung (邱柏松) and Hou Po-ta (侯柏達) — received prison terms of 13 years and 10 years, respectively.

The seven Vietnamese citizens who were involved in the scam received sentences of 5-12 years. Their main function had been to pose as local police and frighten targets into sharing their personal information.

The scammers stood accused of targeting elderly Vietnamese who engage in online banking. Over the last few years, they had swindled a total of NT$12.25 million (US$429,000) out of their victims.

All the defendants pled guilty, with several claiming they were only hired as mules to transfer the money they acquired in person.

Local police said phone scams have become rampant across Vietnam and they are often run by organizations consisting of Taiwanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese nationals. They urged the public to be wary of suspicious phone calls and identity theft tactics, according to CNA.