World

Indonesia detains 148 Chinese 
over $610m online scam

JAKARTA: Indonesian police yesterday said they had detained 153 people, mostly Chinese nationals, accused of carrying out a sophisticated scam that netted around US$450 million (S$610.6 million) by tricking their compatriots into paying to make legal cases go away.

"This is an international syndicate of online fraud," said Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono. "The information first came from China's police department, so this is a joint investigation."

Police said the suspects, 148 of whom are Chinese nationals and the rest Indonesians, had been detained during weekend raids in the capital Jakarta, the city of Surabaya and the islands of Batam and Bali.

Mr Yuwono added: "The perpetrators are Chinese. The victims are Chinese. It just happens that they operate from Indonesia."

The syndicate operated by first tracking down information on wealthy Chinese officials or businessmen embroiled in legal problems, he said.

The victims were then contacted and told by the suspects that they were from the attorney-general's office or the police and could "negotiate to stop the case" on payment of a certain sum.

"The information we got from China is that they have been in operation since the start of the year, and their profit has reached 6 trillion rupiah (S$604.5 million)," Mr Yuwono said. - REUTERS

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