MANILA (Reuters) - Dozens of Chinese and Taiwanese nationals have been arrested in the Philippines on suspicion of extortion of money from people in China via a telecoms scam, police said on Saturday.
Philippine police apprehended the suspects involved in voice phishing operations in two separate raids, one in San Vicente town in the northern province of Ilocos Sur and another in Las Pinas in the Philippine capital Manila.
Philippine TV station ABS-CBN reported that as many as 153 people were arrested, but Reuters could not immediately confirm this number.
The suspects were posing as policemen, prosecutors or judges, and telling their victims they were involved in some irregularities.
“The victims are told they are facing charges or being investigated, that their cellphone number is involved,” Senior Inspector Artemio Cinco Jr., spokesman of the Philippine National Police anti-cybercrime group, told ABS-CBN.
The victims were asked to transfer money to the fraudsters’ bank accounts in order to avoid questioning, he said.
ABS-CBN showed footages of the raid in Ilocos Sur where improvised phone booths were found, and the arrests.
Similar operations have been uncovered in recent years in the Philippines and elsewhere, including Cambodia and Indonesia, leading to the arrest of thousands of suspects.
Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; editing by Clelia Oziel