Ho Chi Minh City police arrested two Taiwanese men Thursday for allegedly leading a gang that swindled money out of Vietnamese people by posing as police officers.
Shih Pao Yu, 41, and Hseih Ming Chi, 53, are being investigated on charges of fraud.
Police also summoned five Vietnamese people for alleged involvement with the gang.
Previously, police received a report from a woman named Le in District 11 saying that she had been cheated out of VND170 million (US$8,062).
On February 24, Le reportedly received a phone call to her fixed telephone at home from a woman who introduced herself as an employee of the phone service provider.
The woman said Le owned around VND10 million in telephone charges.
When Le objected to the statement, the woman said police would work with her on the matter.
Several minutes later, Le’s telephone rang again. This time, a man who introduced himself as an officer from the Hanoi Police Department, told her police were investigating a money laundering gang of which Le was a member.
Le objected to the statement but the man said he knew her very well, and went on by reciting her personal details including details about family members.
Le was worried. When the man asked her to transfer VND170 million into the bank account of investigators so that they could verify if the money was “clean” as she stated, she accepted.
She then waited but did not see the money sent back to her account so she reported the case to HCMC police.
The police investigated and found that VND20 million of the sum was withdrawn, and the rest had been transferred to the three banks accounts of three Vietnamese men named Chau Vy Hien, Dang Minh Sang and Nguyen Quoc Tuan.
The police tracked down the trio and caught them red-handed giving the money they withdrew from the accounts to Shih and Hseih, the two Taiwanese alleged gang leaders, at a coffee shop in District 5.
Police checked the hotel room where the Taiwanese men were staying and the houses of the Vietnamese men and found many ATM cards, credit cards and other papers related to money withdrawal.
Tuan told police all the bank accounts were established by a man named Phuong.
Shih and Hseih confessed to police they had entered Vietnam on travel visas. They then hired Tuan and other Vietnamese men to open credit cards to receive money they swindled and then withdraw it.
The police said the gang may have swindled a lot of other people with similar ploys.
Further investigations are ongoing.
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