MANILA, Philippines – Philippine authorities arrested Thursday 357 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals for allegedly running a fraud syndicate, in what could be the government’s largest single-day operation.
Simultaneous arrests were done in Metro Manila and nearby Rizal because of extensive intelligence operations and law enforcement cooperation between Philippines and China in line with a crackdown on cross-border organized crime, PAOCC executive director Chief Supt. Reginald Villasanta said.
The arrests were made in 20 houses in the cities of Quezon, Marikina and Antipolo, and Cainta town in Rizal by virtue of several search warrants issued by Judge Marino dela Cruz Jr. of the Manila Regional Trial Court.
Villasanta said that with the operation, authorities may have set a record for the large number of arrests in a single day.
"This is undoubtedly one of the largest fraud stings in the Philippines in recent years," Villasanta said.
Investigations showed that the suspects had links to an international fraud syndicate operating here and abroad.
They are allegedly involved in credit card fraud, large-scale human trafficking and international long distance call bypass operations.
Seized from the suspects were assorted telecommunication and information technology equipment.
P20 million a day
In defrauding clients, the suspects allegedly claim to represent police, prosecutor's office, courts, insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions when they call their victims and tell them that their bank accounts were being used for money laundering and funding terrorist activities.
The suspects then tell the victims to transfer money to an account. PAOCC said the syndicate made at least P20 million a day from victims in Taiwan and mainland China.
Chinese police were able to track down their operations by tracing their Internet Protocol (IP) address.
PAOCC, which is headed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., said the raids were done through the help of operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police and the Naval Intelligence and Security Force (NISF) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The suspects were brought to a makeshift detention facility at the Police National Training Institute in Camp Vicente Lim, Canlubang, Laguna.