Sixty-six Chinese citizens were arrested by the Jakarta Police on Monday for allegedly being involved in an online fraud syndicate. (B1 Photo/Bayu Marhaenjati)

Sixty-Six Chinese Citizens Arrested for Online Fraud on Embassy Tip-Off

NOVEMBER 26, 2019

Jakarta. The Jakarta Police have arrested 66 Chinese citizens for alleged online fraud following a tip-off from the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta, an officer said on Monday.

The crime was an all-Chinese affairs but the suspects were based in cities in Indonesia.

They were arrested in six separate locations in Jakarta and neighboring Tangerang, Chief Comr. Iwan Kurniawan, the director of Jakarta Police's special crime investigation unit, told reporters at one of the crime scenes in Kemanggisan, West Jakarta.

Iwan said the police had followed a tip-off from the embassy about an alleged online fraud syndicate targeting Chinese citizens in China. 

"We set up a team to investigate the case and initially received information the suspects were holed up in 12 places here. We narrowed them down to six places where we finally found them," Iwan said.

Police also seized computers, cellphones, passports and ID cards during the raids, according to Iwan. 

Similar raids were conducted in two places in Malang, East Java, but Iwan said he had not received reports of what the Malang police had found.

"We are still investigating if the crime scenes are connected," he said.

One of the places where the suspects were found was a two-story house on Jl. Anggrek Neli Murni in Kemanggisan. He said some of the suspects had been holed up there for four months.

The police are focusing their investigation on discovering why the suspects had chosen to base themselves in Jakarta and how they had managed to come here and stay months undetected.

"We will have to wait for the results of the investigation. The suspects are foreign citizens and we need interpreters," he said. 

Chinese Citizens Targeted

Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Comr. Yusri Yunus said the syndicate had targeted Chinese citizens in China, tricking the victims into believing they had legal troubles and offering help for money.

"They made phone calls to people in China telling them they had legal issues, such as [unpaid] taxes. Then, they offered help from police [in China]," Yusri said.

"They told [the victims] if they didn't want trouble they could contact the caller's 'friend' who could help. Then they diverted the call to the friend who was actually here in the same place. Then the conversation moved on to where to transfer the money," he said.

Yusri said before coming to Indonesia, the suspects had already collected data about their potential victims. 

When making cellphone calls, the caller would put his head inside a box lined with soundproof foam, apparently to block unwanted noises that could reveal his whereabouts, he said.