Vietnam seizes 13 foreigners on suspicion of fraud

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Vietnamese police have arrested 13 foreigners in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho for allegedly cheating businesses in Taiwan and mainland China with hi-tech supported tricks.

According to investigators, the suspects were part of a ring with 200 members, 99 of whom were nabbed in Ho Chi Minh City last month.

Initial investigations showed that the smaller ring, led by Taiwanese Chen-Wei-Wen, used Internet-based voice communication services to call businesses, posing as Chinese or Taiwanese police and telling the latter that their bank accounts had been used by money launderers.

The targeted businesses would be asked to press number 9 to contact police who were in charge of the case, and would hear fake voices of police talking and sounds of typing, investigators said.

The businesses were then convinced to transfer money from their account to one said to belong to the police as a security measure.

Another trick was to inform businesses they had huge outstanding phone bills and ask them to contact the police in charge also by pressing number 9, according to investigators, adding that the businesses would be asked to transfer money to pay the bills.

Chen-Wei-Wen told the police for each successful case, his ring would receive 60-80 percent of the cheated money.

He said they had rented a house on the outskirts of Can Tho. They had just set up the Internet and were yet to conduct any scam when they were arrested last Friday (August 13).

Police from the Ministry of Public Security and Can Tho City confiscated laptops, phones and 50 scripts for ring members to use when they posed as Vietnamese agencies like the police, banks and prosecutors' offices, from the house, investigators said, adding that the ring tried to stop them with tear gas during their raid.

HCMC police previously said the organization's ringleaders were based in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asian countries, and employed various fraudulent tricks.

According to Interpol, these types of criminals first appeared in Taiwan several years ago. They stole hundreds of thousands to a million dollars in each case.

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