Police have detained 63 Taiwanese citizens and an Indonesian national allegedly involved in an international fraud syndicate. (Reuters Photo/Tyrone Siu)

Jakarta Police Arrest 63 Foreign Nationals Allegedly Involved in International Fraud Syndicate

BY :BAYU MARHAENJATI

MARCH 10, 2017

[Updated on 06:00 p.m. on Friday to add a statement from Jakarta Police chief]

Jakarta. Police have detained 63 Taiwanese citizens and an Indonesian national allegedly involved in an international fraud syndicate.

The foreign nationals were arrested in various locations in Jakarta on Thursday (09/03).

Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Comr. Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono said the men were arrested in three homes in Pantai Indah Kapuk, or PIK, in North Jakarta, Hotel 88 in Mangga Besar, West Jakarta, and at a Best Western Apartment and a Mazda dealership in Sunter, North Jakarta.

"The syndicate is from Taiwan. They steal data of bank clients in China and Taiwan then contact the victims [in the two countries] pretending to be members of law enforcement institutions in Taiwan," Argo said on Thursday (09/03).

Members of this syndicate play different roles when contacting the victims, including as police officers, prosecutors or bank officials.

"The suspects told the victims that they were being investigated in a criminal case. Then, they would demand money to be wired in return for dropping the case,” Argo added.

The police seized 25 Taiwanese passports, 45 landline phones, six laptops, 45 VPN Callers and two handy talkies from a house in PIK.

"At Hotel 88 in Mangga Besar, we arrested 20 people. We also seized nine passports, three laptops and 15 cellphones. At the Best Western Apartment, we nailed three suspects. A laptop, one iPad, six cellphones and Rp 25 million [$1,900] in cash were seized there," Argo said.

More evidence was found in the other locations.

Argo added Indonesian investigators will work with the Taiwanese Police to expose the syndicate.

"Investigators will also work with the Immigration Office to deport these suspects when the time comes," he added.

The Taiwanese syndicate had decided to use Indonesia as their base due to the country's lenient regulations on internet service provider, or ISP.

The police are also investigating if Indonesian citizens are involved in the fraud ring.

Some of the syndicate's targets were corrupt Taiwanese officials.

Jakarta Police criminal investigation chief, Pol. Supt. Aris Supriono said money from the fraud is never stashed in Indonesia, but wired to Taiwan.

When asked why the criminals had decided to set up a base in Indonesia, he said, "They can enter the country easily with a tourist visa. They have been here for at least two weeks, and up to a month. They've earned more than Rp 2 trillion from their crimes."

Moreover, Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. M. Iriawan also confirmed the arrest at a press conference on Thursday.

"They are a syndicate from Taiwan, they are 63 people in total. We secured the cooperation of the Taiwanese police. Some of their members are behind us. They came to Indonesia, then received information from the Taiwanese police, that members of the syndicate were coming to Indonesia. They impersonated bank officials and law enforcers, such as prosecutors and police officers," Iriawan said in Jakarta.

Watch Indonesia Highlights at 8 p.m. tonight on the Jakarta Globe News Channel and Facebook Live to find out more about the updates on the international fraud syndicate.

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