Vietnam man arrested for abetting foreign phone con

By Ngoc Tho – Dam Huy, Thanh Nien News

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A Ho Chi Minh City police officer reads a decision to arrest Bui Van Hieu for providing ATM cards to foreign con men. Photo: Nguyen Bao A Ho Chi Minh City police officer reads a decision to arrest Bui Van Hieu for providing ATM cards to foreign con men. Photo: Nguyen Bao

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Police in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday arrested a local man for allegedly assisting phone call scam by providing ATM cards to the alleged foreign fraudsters.
Bui Van Hieu, a 27-year-old from the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh, had sold a group of unidentified foreigners ATM cards to in exchange for kickbacks cheated out of the victims.
As one cannot open a bank account in Vietnam without Vietnamese citizenship, Hieu had asked to use the names of four locals in the delta.
The foreigners, whose nationalities have not been revealed yet, allegedly conducted the scam by hiring locals to make phone calls impersonating as police and the like telling the victims they have been implicated in a criminal case and requiring them to pay investigation fee or even a bribe to clear themselves of troubles.
Hieu was found to provide ATM cards to the people who cheated a 43-year-old man in HCMC in April.
The victim was persuaded to submit VND600 million (US$28,340) as the alleged fraudsters managed to copy Hanoi Police’s phone number.
The victim said he had nothing to do with what the caller told him about a money laundering investigation, but he checked the number and bought the story.
He was told that the police wanted to check if his money was clean or not, and would return the money. But he never received anything back.
Although 25 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals have been deported by early this month and many Vietnamese arrested for allegedly operating the telephone con, two more victims have continued to lodge their complaints to the HCMC police this week.
One was a 49-year-old woman who was called from a landline number in the morning of August 19.
A man told her that she was subject to an investigation for her involvement in a criminal operation. He asked her to transfer VND900 million ($42,500) into a bank account to let him take care of the problem.
She said she had borrowed the money and transferred it before she felt suspicious and informed the police.
Another 40-year-old woman also lost VND500 million ($23,600) to a similar trick.

Local victims say they feel landline numbers are reliable but a police investigator said a real cop  never talks to a suspect on the phone but will send a summon letter instead.


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