By Aaron Recuenco
Police have arrested a total of 156 foreigners, who are allegedly involved in multimillion-peso telecom fraud preying on people in mainland China, during at least three separate raids in San Vicente town of Ilocos Sur and Las Piñas City
Chief Supt. Marni Marcos Jr., head of the Philippine National Police-Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG), said a total of 133 Chinese and Taiwanese were arrested in a raid in three of their lairs in San Vicente, Ilocos Sur.
During the first raid at around 6 a.m. yesterday, Sapitula said 62 Chinese and Taiwanese were collared in Sitio Nagtupacan in Barangay Pudoc.
“During the implementation, one of them ran towards an adjacent building. Our operating troops chased him and when they entered the establishment, they found another 43 Chinese,” Marcos told the Manila Bulletin.
Thirty-three of the 43 collared in the second area are male while the rest are female, according to Marcos.
Thirty-one others were arrested during the entire operation in San Vicente town, for a total of 133 collared, according to Marcos.
The operation however did not end there as 17 more Chinese — eight male and nine female — were collared during a raid in Citadella Village in Las Piñas City.
Marcos said the operations stemmed from the assistance sought by the Chinese police about several internet protocols that were traced in the Philippines.
Based on the investigation, the suspects are all hired by a telecom fraud syndicate preying on Chinese in mainland China.
The syndicate would use the Chinese and Taiwanese to pretend as members of the law enforcement and judiciary and would make a call on the victims, informing them that their phone numbers or bank accounts are involved in some fraudulent activities.
They would then demand huge sum of money from the victims. If the victim would yield, they would ask them to deposit the money to certain bank accounts.
Marcos said some of the victims in China are businessmen and owners of companies. In some case, the demand would reach US$1.2 million.
This is not the first time that Chinese and Taiwanese were arrested for telecom fraud. Hundreds of them were arrested over the years for the same offense.
Based on past investigation, the syndicate’s victims could reach 100 a day.
Authorities earlier said the syndicate choose the Philippines as their hub is because of the country’s weak legal system, particularly those in cybercrime.
Seized from the suspects were laptops, cell phones, routers and other instruments being used for their illegal activities.
Appropriate criminal charges are now being readied against the arrested foreigners who were all taken to Camp Crame.