Sixteen Vietnamese and three Taiwanese were allegedly running a telecommunication scam, Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said Friday.
The Taiwan News reported Saturday that of the 16 Vietnamese, 14 were runaway immigrant workers while two were fake tourists.
A Wednesday raid on two locations in Taiping and Shalu districts in Taichung City, suspected to be the base of the scam, found computers, mobile phones and victims’ information, among other evidence, the CIB said. The evidence has been seized.
According to the bureau, the ring, which targeted people in Vietnam, had swindled approximately $490,700 from 200 victims over the past three months. The Vietnamese scammers, who masqueraded as government officials, made Internet calls to random people in Vietnam and tricked them into giving up their money, which would be collected by accomplices residing in Vietnam.
This is the first cross-border fraud case involving runaway Vietnamese workers in Taiwan, the CIB said.
Earlier this week, news of 152 Vietnamese tourists suddenly going ‘missing’ in Taiwan made global headlines. Seventeen have been found and a hunt is on for others, who reportedly used a tourism facilitating program to gain entry to Taiwan and work there illegally.
In recent years, Taiwan has emerged as a promising destination for Vietnamese workers looking for jobs overseas. As of 2017, there were around 164,000 Vietnamese working under official contracts in Taiwan, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the country’s overseas workforce, according to official statistics.