Police in Hai Phong and investigators from the Ministry of Public Security arrested 42 Chinese and Taiwanese on Tuesday for posing as police over the telephone to cheat Chinese nationals out of nearly US$360,000.
The officers raided two villas in Duong Kinh District and a house in Le Chan District and arrested the foreigners in the act, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
Investigation found the gang had installed telecommunication devices at the three locations to call people in China posing as Chinese investigators pursuing criminal cases.
The conmen accused their victims of being suspects and ordered them to transfer money into bank accounts to serve as evidence.
Their system was so cleverly devised that when the victims tried to call the Chinese police or prosecutors to verify the conmen's claims, their calls were automatically routed to the fraudsters’ numbers.
Three Vietnamese nationals were also arrested in Hai Phong, where police seized many telephones and computers.
A villa in Hai Phong where police busted a gang of mostly Chinese and Taiwanese conmen who had set up an elaborate scheme to convince Chinese nationals to send them money on November 4, 2014. Photo: Tien Thang/Tuoi Tre
A source from the municipal police said they had noticed a group of Chinese and Taiwanese had rented villas in a vacant part of the city and set up high-speed Internet connections.
These groups usually moved every three months.
They suspected that the group was engaged in some sort of fraud so they began investigating them more closely and found the members had made many VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls to both land-line and mobile numbers in China.
They contacted Chinese police who confirmed the fraudulent activities before they raided the villas.
Hai Phong police found the gang had defrauded their overseas victims out of 2.2 million Yuan (US$359,780).
They decided that the crime was tightly organized and have begun investigating further.
Many Vietnamese nationals were victimized through similar scams being run by Taiwanese conmen this year.