Philippine police arrest 357 foreigners for cyberfraud

A group mainly comprising Chinese and Taiwanese nationals have been rounded up in a sting operation for their alleged involvement in a scheme where victims are tricked to transfer money online.

More than 300 foreigners in the Philippines have been arrested for reportedly being part of a cybermoney laundering scheme, where they used the country as a base to target victims in China.

In a report Thursday by the Sun Star, the Philippine Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said about 357 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals were rounded up in simultaneous operations in Metro Manila and nearby Rizal province.

Sun Star noted that the group would pretend to represent police, prosecutors, courts, insurance companies, banks, and tell victims that their bank accounts were being used for money laundering and other terrorist funding activities. The victims would then be pressured to transfer their money to an account provided by the syndicate, it added.

The police noted that the group's modus operandi was a classic example of operations of criminal syndicate in China. However, police senior superintendent Keith Singian said the suspects used the Philippines as a base of operations.

Police said initial investigations revealed that the suspects were linked to an international syndicate that operated in the Philippines and abroad, which was involved in credit card fraud, large-scale human trafficking, and international long distance call bypass operations.

It added that with this operation, the police may have set a record for the largest number of arrests in a single day.

Earlier this month, eight South Koreans were arrested in the Philippines for allegedly hacking into Globe Telecom in order to lower the cost of international mobile phone calls for other countrymen there.

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