For quite some time now I’ve been arguing that the government needs to do more about the local fraud gangs that operate in conjunction with Chinese gangs and use the latest technology to carry out their operations. Now the Asahi Shimbun complains that gangs from Taiwan are operating all over Asia — including a few based in my own Taichung (full apologies to all):

Taiwan has apparently become a stronghold of telephone fraud cases that have spread in some Asian countries.

Late last year, Taiwanese police arrested two men, aged 29 and 35, in connection with telephone fraud cases. At that time, police officers were surprised to see that the suspects had been committing crimes in Asian countries by subtly using high-tech tools from Taiwan.

The two, who were members of a group based in Taichung city in central Taiwan, allegedly defrauded TW$100 million (about 370 million yen) from hundreds of people living mainly in China, South Korea and Thailand.

According to the police, the two men bought several mobile phones overseas in order to make it hard for Taiwanese police to track them. Then, using the mobile phones, other high-tech devices and discount Internet Protocol (IP) telephone lines, they built a system that enabled them to automatically make bulk calls or inundate computers with e-mail messages.

They also recorded fake messages in several languages with the help of collaborators in Taiwan, China, South Korea and Thailand. For instance, one of the messages said, “Your telephone fee has not been paid yet.”

The two kept sending such messages around the clock from Taiwan to other areas. When someone replied, they asked the person to transfer money from an ATM or a post office to an account opened under a fictitious name. One of the accounts was named, “Finance management bureau’s joint account.”

According to the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Taiwan, telephone scams started in Taiwan in the late 1990s and escalated into a serious social problem in 2000.

Also around the same year, some groups in Taiwan started to relocate their bases across the sea to Amoy in mainland China’s Fujian province, and have since cheated people in and around the city in a similar manner in cooperation with local Chinese.

In recent years, such groups have made inroads into South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, CIB officials said.

Here a local social problem has grown to have Asian implications that reflect negatively on The Beautiful Isle. Somebody needs to do something….