Taiwanese syndicate busted in Davao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/19 April) – Police operatives busted a Taiwanese international syndicate during simultaneous raids on three houses here Wednesday.

Sr. Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, city police director, said the Taiwanese were dealing with international financial laundering fraud as well as prohibited drugs as ecstasy were confiscated in one of the houses. Some of the suspects, he said, will be charged with illegal drug possession.

Dela Rosa said 78 Taiwanese nationals, 36 of them women, were found inside the syndicate’s three houses in Ladislawa Village in Buhangin District, Villa Josefina Village in Matina, and Valgoson’s Building in Talomo District.

All suspects are now under the custody of the Davao City Police Office for investigation.

Dela Rosa said that in the raid in Matina wherein 28 Taiwanese were nabbed, the suspects soaked their gadgets and laptops in water to destroy evidences.

The modus of the AMG group, police said, is to target people from Taiwan and mainland China and threaten to haul them to jail if they fail to pay their bills. The hapless victim is then referred to another person using another phone number, who in turn would apply more pressure to the victim. They are somehow able to convince the victims to pay, not to the proper agencies but to the syndicate’s accounts.

Based on the search warrant issued by Judge Isaac Robillo of Regional Trial Court Branch 13, the raiding team swooped on the three houses and arrested Chen Chun Chih and Chen Chung Tsun. The suspects are facing Republic Act 8484 otherwise known as “Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998.”

The Davao police said they received a request for assistance from Interpol on March 6 and initiated surveillance on the three houses right away.

On April 8, authorities tapped a technician from the Philippine Long Distance Telephone company to spy on the Taiwanese. The technician, who was able to get inside one of the houses, reported that there were an array of telecommunications equipment being used heavily by the Taiwanese. There were apparently a beehive of activity in the three houses, with the people inside making use of telephones, cellphones, handheld radios and fax machines. There were also modems, routers and switch hubs for heavy Internet use.

On April 13, authorities asked the PLDT technician to secretly copy data into a USB disk. After translating the contents, police confirmed that the transactions were meant to swindle money from victims.

Vincent Cañete, an official of Villa Josefina Subdivision, said the Taiwanese rented the house since last February.

“I noticed that every 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. food is delivered to them. Around 7 p.m., the renters are so busy talking to people on their laptops,” he said.

The monthly billing of one house, according to PLDT records, reached at least P16,000. (MindaNews)