Filipinos to face charges for defrauding tourists in Vietnam

TN News

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Ho Chi Minh City Police have proposed that three Filipino scam artists busted late last year be charged with "committing fraud to appropriate others' property."

The city prosecutors' office will consider ratifying the charges.

Investigators said that suspects Oliver Ingao Due, Cavite Nestor Carmesis, both 45, and Tagapan Bartolome Jr Berbasa, 47, colluded with a woman identified only as Ley, to cheat foreign tourists.

Due and Berbasa were wanted by Philippine authorities for murder and entered Vietnam last year.

Last October 26, Carmesis and Berbasa met Japanese tourist Takaesu Naoki, inviting him to their rented house in Phu Nhuan District.

They lured him into playing a card game with Ley, letting him win US$800. Ley then raised the stakes, daring Naoki to bet $5,000 on the last game. Due promised to cover Naoki for the $2,000 he was short, after agreeing to bet his last $3,000.

Following this pattern of issuing him credit, Naoki eventually handed over VND44 million (US$2,073) and his iPhone 4.

The gamblers called Naoki a few days later, asking him to resume their game. Police arrested the trio before they were able to cheat Naoki out of any more money.

Police said the gang has been preying on foreign tourists, including those from Japan and Europe.

In other news, police in Mekong Delta city of Can Tho detained a Nigerian man and Vietnamese woman for allegedly cheating another local woman out of $2,360 as part of an online scam.

Okoye Uchenna, 36, of HCMC's Nha Be District, and Vo Thi Xuan Hong, 51, from the adjacent province of Dong Nai, were arrested by Can Tho police on April 4 and May 8 respectively.

The arrests resulted from an investigation that was launched following a complaint lodged by Nguyen Thi Ngoc N., 45, on March 27. N. said she met a man online claiming to be a British national named Piero Dwain in early March.

Uchenna later confessed to using the false name as part of his plan to cheat N.

Posing as Dwain, Uchenna told N. he wanted to marry her and start a business in Vietnam.  

On March 26, another man identifying himself as a Malaysian police officer called N. and told her his force was holding Dwain after they had found £600,000 ($912,982) in his luggage.

According to a Vietnam News Agency report, N. demanded to talk to the man she knew as Dwain and he confirmed the bogus story.

The Malaysian police impersonator demanded N. deposit a total of $1,600 into a bank account belonging to Hong (the third accomplice) in order to bail Dwain out of jail.

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After N. complied, he demanded she deposit an additional, $3,600. She only transferred VND15 million ($707) more. Afterward, she decided to call the police when she was unable to contact the men.

Police seized four cell phones, three computers, one laptop and other relevant evidence when they arrested Uchenna and Hong.

The investigation is ongoing.

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