Nine people were arrested in separate raids on Monday for allegedly colluding with foreign human trafficking syndicates and duping Taiwanese jobseekers into becoming “cyberslaves” in Cambodia.
Cyberslavery refers to people being enslaved and forced to work for syndicates involved in cyberscams.
Police in Changhua County said the 41-year-old female suspect, surnamed Chang (張), has been detained on suspicion of working with a Chinese human trafficking ring, and is alleged to have sent 50 Taiwanese over a five-month period to Cambodia, after posting adverts online promising high-paying jobs.
Photo: CNA
Prosecutors said that Chang lead the ring’s Taiwan operations and was paid NT$5 million (US$166,772) in total, as she received commission of NT$100,000 per person.
Police arrested two men, along with Chang, in Monday’s raids. They allegedly worked for her as a driver and guard, and have been released.
Investigators said Chang paid for the victims’ flights and helped them apply for new passports,while the driver took them to a hotel a few days before departure, and the guard watched over them at the hotel and airport to ensure they did not back out.
Changhua District Court Judge Huang Ling-yu (黃齡玉) said one victim managed to escape and returned to Taiwan.
He said he was deceived by Chang’s advertisement offering word processing and desk jobs in Europe that paid NT$100,000 per month, but later learned the job was in Cambodia, Huang said.
During the raids five Taiwanese were found, Huang said, adding that they were staying in a hotel, waiting to travel to their “high-paying jobs.”
Meanwhile, police in Hsinchu City detained six people after questioning yesterday, on suspicion of working with a Chinese human trafficking ring.
The case came to light after a traffic incident that led to a scuffle in the street. Police sought out a man surnamed Ho (何) and his friends, as they were allegedly involved in the fight. They found a 21-year-old woman trapped in Ho’s rented apartment who had bruises on her body.
She said she had answered an online ad offering a high-paying job overseas, and was confined and beaten up when she wanted to leave.
Investigators found that Ho and five accomplices — four men and one woman — had colluded with human trafficking rings in China, placing job offers and then sending people to Cambodia and Thailand, Hsinchu City Chief of Police Kuo Shih-chieh (郭士傑) said.
Ho and his accomplices are facing charges of assault, illegal confinement and abduction, and of breaching the Human Trafficking Prevention Act (人口販運防制法).
All six were denied bail.
Kuo said the 21-year-old woman was supposed to board a flight for a job in Thailand, but would likely have become a cyberslave for a telecom scam ring.
“We are working hard to crack down on these criminals … who are collaborating in the serious crime of human trafficking, resulting in Taiwanese citizens becoming slaves, confined in prison-like conditions currently centered in Chinese-operated casinos and resorts in Sihanoukville, Cambodia,” Kuo said.
“We urge Taiwanese to research the details of job offers, especially those promising high wages overseas. It is most certainly a deception,” Kuo said.
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