24 Taiwanese expelled from Vietnam for fraud

TAIPEI (AFP) - The Vietnamese authorities on Tuesday expelled 24 Taiwanese suspects arrested in a recent Internet fraud scam targeting people on the Chinese mainland, a senior Taiwanese official confirmed.

The 24 people were seized during raids by the Vietnamese police on three spots in the northern city of Hai Phong last week. Eighteen other Chinese suspects were also arrested in the crackdown.

"The group had targeted people on the Chinese mainland using Internet telephony," Simon Lee, a senior officer at Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau, told AFP.

He said that information from the Chinese police authorities showed that at least 1,000 people had fallen victim to the criminal group.

In similar scams around Southeast Asia, investigators have said fraudsters posed as police, prosecutors, judges and anti-money laundering officials to dupe victims of their money.

Such scams involving people from Taiwan and China operating in Southeast Asia have become increasingly common in recent years.

Since 2012, the Philippines has deported hundreds of Taiwanese and Chinese for taking part in such rackets, usually targeting the elderly in Taiwan and China.