25 foreigners nabbed over telecom fraud

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2018 08:14 AM | Updated as of Oct 24 2018 08:58 AM

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MANILA - Police arrested Tuesday some 25 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals who are allegedly involved in telecom fraud in Dingras, Ilocos Norte. 

The group allegedly pretended to be policemen, prosecutors or judges and fabricated warrants of arrest or court decisions against their victims, whom they ask to wire money in their bank account in exchange for dropping the fake charges, said the police Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG). 

Around 100 residents in China fall victim to the fraud scheme daily. The group has extorted some $50 million from their victims in the last 3 months, the ACG said, citing information from the Chinese police. 

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The suspects are allegedly part of a crime ring that rents condominium units in Metro Manila or residential compounds in provinces for its operations, said ACG spokesperson Chief Insp. Artemio Cinco, Jr. 

The Chinese police helped their Filipino counterparts locate the suspects at a compound in Barangay Medina, Dingras town, the ACG said. 

Found in the area were improvised and soundproof telephone booths, and "scripts" on what to tell their victims. 

The local "tokhang scam" where suspects fabricate drug charges and demand money from victims was patterned after the foreigners' fraud scheme, said Cinco. 

Authorities have yet to decide if the criminal complaint against the foreign suspects will be filed in China or the Philippines.