Police in the central province of Phu Yen Monday arrested 59 Chinese and Taiwanese people and three Vietnamese on suspicion of cheating foreigners.
According to Nguyen Trung Nghia, spokesman of Phu Yen's police division, during the raid on Monday, provincial police caught the suspects using many hi-tech devices to set up connections with two servers in the US and Korea for their scheme.
They contacted victims, mainly overseas Chinese who had violated laws, and then posed as police, prosecutors and other agencies in the victims' host country. They would ask the victims to transfer money to their bank accounts for police investigations or security, police said.
Nghia said all 59 foreigners, 31 of whom came from Taiwan, had legal documents, but they failed to register their residency with the authorities of Tuy Hoa Town, where they lived in rented houses and motels.
Three Vietnamese suspects who served as interpreters for the Chinese, provided meals and helped look for accommodations for them, have been arrested for investigation as well, according to Nghia.
All of their devices and equipment have also been confiscated including 18 laptops and 108 phones, he added.
"At the same time, we have asked the foreign affairs department of Phu Yen People's Committee to inform Chinese General Consul in Ho Chi Minh City in accordance with diplomatic procedures," Nghia said.
Tran Van Ngoc, owner of the rented house, told Thanh Nien that he leased it out to two of the Vietnamese suspects. They claimed that they had Japanese visitors, who were staying for conducting surveys on raising swifts.
The rental contract was set for six months and no outsiders were allowed to go near the house, Ngoc said, adding that the foreigners almost never went outside, except some taking taxis to nearby motels.
Nghia said it was the sixth time Vietnamese police arrested foreigners, mainly Chinese, who were alleged of using the same scheme. Previously more than 100 people have been arrested across the country like Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho, and the southern province of Binh Duong.
An official from the Ministry of Public Security said the crime appeared in Vietnam one year ago and criminals mainly target Chinese people who live in Taiwan, China, Vietnam, and several other Southeast Asian countries.
Some victims lost up to US$1 million, he said.
Meanwhile AFP quoted Taiwanese police as saying in its Tuesday report that Taiwanese fraud rings had moved offshore after the island's police joined forces with Chinese and Thai authorities to bust their operations.
Investigations into the case are still underway, according to Phu Yen police.