The National Police arrested a record number of foreign nationals in an Asia-wide sting for a syndicate of defrauders who exploited the Internet to swindle their victims, various reports revealed on Friday.
The National Police detective unit in cooperation with the Jakarta Police have arrested 170 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals in at least 10 different locations across Jakarta, Serpong and Bekasi based on a request filed by the Chinese and Taiwanese police forces.
National Police deputy spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar said the suspects were part of a cyber crime syndicate, with arrests simultaneously conducted in Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand.
“The arrest in Indonesia is the largest,” Boy said.
The Cambodian Police arrested 66 Chinese and one Vietnamese while the Thai Police arrested
one Taiwanese and three Thais, various media groups reported on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Taiwanese Police say 598 suspects, mostly Taiwanese and Chinese, have been arrested in these busts around Asia.
He also said the suspects set up their operational base in Indonesia to dupe victims in China because “they thought the distance between Jakarta and their country of origin made their capture difficult”.
Various foreign media reports said the syndicate capitalized on Internet telephone services to call their overseas victims. A 37-member group arrested in Malaysia operated by phoning their victims, duping them into paying nonexistent traffic fines into an account.
Boy added that the suspects arrested in Indonesia had violated visa rules because the suspects, who have been in Indonesia for roughly a year, came on tourist visas. The suspects, who were detained at the Immigration Directorate General, would then be deported to their origin countries, he added.
“They will be deported and the steps for deportation will be conducted in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and the Chinese and Taiwanese police,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Sutarman said the
scammers also ran an online prostitution network, but it was not their main business. “Most of their crimes were related to extortion,” he said.
He added that the police had confiscated various evidence including 121 telephone units, dozens of laptops and walkie-talkies, passports, 24 identification cards, 28 credit cards, cash in the form of US dollars and rupiah, five cameras and the suspects’ phone records.