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Taiwan nabs 20 fraud suspects after video call from engineer in US

Fraud ring rented entire hotel in Pingtung to serve as its base

An engineer in the U.S. helped police nab a fraud ring at a Pingtung County hotel. 

An engineer in the U.S. helped police nab a fraud ring at a Pingtung County hotel.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Police detained 20 suspects in Taiwan after a Chinese-American engineer accused them of fraud in a videoconference, reports said Tuesday (July 20).

The engineer contacted police in Taipei by video call in March last year, reporting that he had received repeated phone calls from people posing as delivery service agents and as judicial personnel.

The investigation showed that a fraud ring had rented an entire hotel in Pingtung County to use as a base to target Asian-Americans, CNA reported.

One member would first pose as a customer service agent and say that an illegal package had been sent by someone stealing the fraud victim’s identity. A follow-up call by another member pretending to be a police officer or a prosecutor would tell the victim to pay a deposit in order to solve the problem.

According to police in Taiwan, a total of 10 people fell victim to the scams, losing NT$17 million (US$605,000) in the process.

When police stormed the hotel in Pingtung last September, they found 13 suspects, while a search in Kaohsiung turned up five more ring members entrusted with managing the group’s accounts.

Two men described as the masterminds of the operation were recently arrested in Taichung, while large amounts of cash, drugs, and luxury goods were found. Organized crime was suspected to be involved in the scheme, police officers said at a news conference Tuesday.