A Taiwanese man in custody in Ho Chi Minh City as his computers are checked for investigation into the phone fraud. Photo by Nguyen Bao
Ho Chi Minh City police on Wednesday arrested a core Vietnamese member of a gang led by Taiwanese that allegedly tricked people into giving money by making phone calls impersonating authorities.
Le Van Ngon, 42, has been put under investigation on charges of "property appropriation."
Ngon is one of two major Vietnamese members of the ring, the other being Duong Ngoc who was arrested in February on the same charge. Ngoc was married to a Taiwanese man.
Initial investigations suggested that the syndicate was headquartered overseas, using electronic devices installed there to make phone calls to Vietnam and inform the receivers of call fee debts, or of being involved in a legal case that required their payment for investigation.
The victims would be asked to transfer money to certain bank accounts which the gang’s members would then withdraw money from in Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been cheated out of residents in the city and the central province of Khanh Hoa, according to police.
Police said one of the gang's leaders is a Taiwanese man, identified only as T.
T. recruited Ngoc last June and first assigned her to make the phone calls from Taiwan to Vietnam.
She was later sent to Vietnam to find unofficial makers of international payment cards, which the victims were asked to transfer their money to.
T. covered her accommodation, meals and transport besides paying her VND2.5 million per card made and 3 percent of the money cheated into the cards.
Ngoc said she had been given around US$10,000 between last December until the day she was arrested.
T. went to Vietnam later to have more cards made himself as the number of victims increased.
He recruited Ngon after several visits.
The city last week arrested Taiwanese Wu Tung I and local man named Ho Nhat Khanh for supplying cards to the gang. Wu also took part in making phone calls, according to police.
Police in the city this year have arrested at least 18 people including two Taiwanese from four different gangs that have cheated 34 victims out of more than VND10 billion via fake phone calls.
Hsieh Ming Chi, a 41-year-old Taiwanese leader of a gang busted in late February, said they also recruited Vietnamese to work in Taiwan at salaries of VND8-10 million a month. The employees were first sent to Indonesia for one-month training in the fraud scheme.
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