5 Taiwanese grilled over telecoms fraud

TAIPEI • Five Taiwanese nationals allegedly involved in a telecoms fraud ring were arrested and questioned by Taoyuan district prosecutors after they arrived from Malaysia on Monday night, police said.

The five suspects were among seven Taiwanese who were arrested in a joint raid by Taiwanese and Malaysian police on April 28 in the coastal city of Miri, in Malaysia's Sarawak state, after a tip-off about telephone fraud, reported Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA).

All of the five suspects were in their 20s - a 26-year-old woman surnamed Lee, a 22-year-old man surnamed Hu, a 28-year-old man with the family name of Hsu, and a 27-year-old man and a 28-year-old man both surnamed Chou.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau officers who brought the five suspects back to Taiwan had been working with their Malaysian counterparts after Taiwan's representative office in Kuala Lumpur received phone calls from two Taiwanese nationals who claimed they were cheated into working as telecoms fraudsters in Malaysia.

In addition to the seven Taiwanese arrested in the joint raid on the base of the fraud ring, 16 Chinese nationals and one Malaysian were also arrested, reported CNA.

The two other Taiwanese who were not brought back to Taiwan are believed to be the ringleaders. They are to be repatriated next month. Besides telecoms fraud, they are to be charged with obstruction of freedom, said bureau officials.

The latest telecoms fraud ring to be busted is unrelated to an international ring that was broken up on April 30 involving 32 Taiwanese suspects.

In yet another telecoms fraud case involving Taiwanese, 20 Taiwanese suspects returned by Malaysia to the island were temporarily released by local police because of lack of evidence on April 16, reported Agence France-Presse. But five days later, 18 of them were detained and two were banned from travelling.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline '5 Taiwanese grilled over telecoms fraud'. Print Edition | Subscribe