Thirty-six fraud suspects have been arrested in a joint crackdown in Taiwan and Malaysia over a $13 million (S$16.3 million) phone scam that targeted mainland Chinese credit card holders, Taiwan police said Wednesday.
The suspects, including 10 Taiwanese, 24 Chinese and two Malaysians, posed as police and bank officials to obtain the financial information of thousands of people across China, said the Criminal Investigation Bureau.
They allegedly telephoned their victims to falsely report credit card theft in a bid to extract the information, resulting in a series of fraud cases that first surfaced in 2010.
The alleged ring leader, a Taiwanese, was arrested at an airport in northern Taiwan in late January after he allegedly fled Malaysia to evade arrest, the bureau said.
Taiwanese fraud rings have recently relocated to Southeast Asia after the island’s police joined forces with Chinese authorities to bust their operations.
Taiwan’s fraud cases fell 26 per cent in 2010 from the previous year after it signed a crime-fighting agreement with China in 2009 amid improving ties, according to the latest figures in Taipei.